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The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans Paperback – March 15, 2005


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The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans + The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans + The Blue Cliff Record
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (March 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861713877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861713875
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This rich and contemporary commentary on the Book of Equanimity takes us through a world of liberating insights. It challenges the reader to look beyond the predictable and obvious to the depth and subtlety of a mind that is truly free." (Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center)

"Wick's pithy commentaries on the Book of Equanimity cut to the quick of the one hundred cases contained in it. A beacon that penetrates through the haze of complications." (John Daido Loori, author of The Zen of Creativity)

"Shishin Wick brings to this important work the depth, precision, and the true vision of the scientist who always stands ready to question everything, never satisfied with platitudes or old standards. He exemplifies the relentless clarity of the teacher challenging us to start afresh in each moment and unabashedly explore in these koans the essence of Zen-and the essence of our lives-in our own words, in the time, culture, and places where we find ourselves." (from the foreword by Bernie Glassman)

"Gerry Shishin Wick is a Zen teacher of long experience and uncommon depth of practice. Every student of Zen would do well to read this fine book and anything else he writes." (Robert Jinsen Kennedy, author of Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit)

"Wick's brilliant book helps us crack the mystery of the legendary Zen koans that have been driving Dharma students crazy or to enlightenment for centuries. I myself have found it very interesting and useful, both for myself and for Dharma students. It is a real contribution to Buddhist literature in the Western world, further opening the treasure trove of this great wisdom tradition." (Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World and founder of the Dzogchen Center.)

"With the sureness of one who knows how to travel the beyond, Zen Master Shesshin Wick guides us through this wonderful Zen classic. Through his eyes and his wise hand, he helps us discover in ourselves a life that is ever abundant with the mystery that flows without ceasing from our own primordial nonexistence." (Reginald Ray, author of Indestructible Truth)

"The legacy of Taizan Maezumi Roshi's teachings lives on in The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans by his student, Gerry Shishin Wick. The Book of Equanimity is as central to koan practice in the Soto Zen tradition as the better-known Blue Cliff Record is in the Rinzai tradition. The one hundred koans it discusses were first collected and comment upon with short appreciatory verses by Master Wanshi Shokaku in the twelfth century. A hundred years later, Bansho Gyposhu added prefaces. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Shishin Wick gave a series of talks on each of the hundred cases to Zen students in Colorado, and now with this new publication he offers his commentary and translation to a wider audience. Shishin Wick was trained as a physicist and oceanographer, and his scientific background comes through in his rigorous examination of each case. His poetic sensibility is also evident in the book, such as in his commentary on 'Joshu's Dog,' which describes the noble futility of the bodhisattva vow, by using the image of someone attempting to fill up a well with snow. He draws upon examples ranging from the scholarly (comparisons with other koan collections) to the everyday (a friend's paralyzed dachshund) to show the importance of The Book of Equanimity in the Zen tradition and its relevance to the lives of his students and readers." (Buddhadharma)

"The Book of Equanimity is one of the most brilliant and subtle texts in the Zen tradition. Shishin Wick's commentaries on this timeless series of koans illuminate the ancient wisdom of the east for our modern scientific world. There are few today who could shed this kind of light for the Western reader in the 21st century." (Dennis Genpo Merzel, Roshi, President of the White Plum Asanga and Kanzeon International)

About the Author

Gerry Shishin Wick is a dharma heir of Taizan Maezumi. He studied with both Soto and Rinzai Zen masters (as did Maezumi) and for 20 years his understanding of the koans in the Book of Equanimity was examined by Maezumi. A former professor of physics, oceanography, and, later, Buddhism, Wick is a teacher whose unique qualifications make him a particularly appealing author.

Bernard (Bernie) Tetsugen Glassman is a dharma heir to Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi. He is the founder of the Peacemaker Circle, the famous Greyston Mandala and the Greyston Bakery (featured on 60 Minutes). He is author of Infinite Circle and, with Jeff Bridges, The Dude and the Zen Master.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
As a Zen teacher, I recommend the book wholeheartedly.
Janet Abels
The author do a very good job going in debt in the koans, and make the point easy to comprehend, in many cases adding even more clarity with own words.
Norway
This is the first book I've read where the images and symbolism are carefully explained, without diluting the message to pop level.
Chris Cole

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Janet Abels on January 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Gerry Shishin Wick's commentary on the Book of Equanimity is wonderful and an indispensable text for any Zen practitioner wishing to unlock the wisdom contained in this anciet work. The references in this book of koans are often cryptic and Shishin Wick helps the reader to unravel them with solid background information placed in a historical context. Together with his deep insight into the koan itself and his elegant writing, it makes the book an absolute MUST for any serious Zen practitioner involved in koan work. As a Zen teacher, I recommend the book wholeheartedly.

Janet Jiryu Abels, Still Mind Zendo, New York City
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Chris Cole on January 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read quite a few introductions to Zen, and I've found that most of them require considerable understanding of the culture in which the koans and commentaries were written, which is usually Chinese culture, and ancient Chinese culture to boot. This is the first book I've read where the images and symbolism are carefully explained, without diluting the message to pop level. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sophisticated explanation of the Zen canon that does not require a deep knowledge of Chinese culture.
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There is only positive words for this book. The author do a very good job going in debt in the koans, and make the point easy to comprehend, in many cases adding even more clarity with own words. The explanations are rich and cover different ways of interpreting the material and make it easy to notice what is skillfull and what is unskillfull action and the karmic effect of the action. Im grateful for this book.
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This interpretation of a classic collection of Zen koans is well worth reading for the serious Zen student. Wick goes out of his way to make the cultural references clear and to indicate some of the meatiness of these koans in a way accessible to the contemporary Western Zen practitioner.
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This is a wonderfully thoughtful and ambitious book that interprets the classic koan collection "Book of Serenity". As a Zen student myself, just getting into the daunting original translation, I am so glad to have this book. It's like having a flashlight in a pitch dark haunted Zen temple. Where before there was only fear and loathing now there is a beam of light. Thank you Shishin! You are a great modern master. Your eyebrows brush eyebrows with old mendicants. Ask old teacher Wang of Nanquan - Each person just eats one stalk of vegetable.
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