From Publishers Weekly
Loori (Riding the Ox Home: Stages on the Path of Enlightenment) is the abbot of the Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskills, a former photographer and a writer for mainstream Buddhist publications such as Tricycle and Shambhala Sun. As such he is perfectly suited to produce this in-depth Zen training text specifically tailored to the needs of Americans. This volume part map, part manual and part philosophical essay is especially useful for those within a Buddhist community, though a special chapter, "Lotus in the Fire," extends insights toward solo practitioners. Sensitive to Western needs for progress measurement, Loori delineates 10 stages of practice, moving from novice to teacher. The eight "gates" of the title are sitting meditation (zazen); face-to-face meetings between teacher and student; academic study; rituals; morality and ethics as reflected in the Buddhist precepts of behavior; art; the body; and work all extensions and functions of Zen practice. Sufficiently deep, yet clear and easy to read, this has the potential to become a fundamental handbook broadening practice in this country beyond basic zazen and sutra study. It has illustrations, a practical appendix, glossary and a solid reading list geared to the various stages of practice. Ultimately and rightly, Loori paraphrases Gary Snyder, concluding, "Zen is not Japanese and it's not Chinese. It is American. It didn't come from Asia; it has always been here. It is a way of using your mind and living your life and doing it with other people."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Originally published by Dharma Publications in 1992 as the Zen Mountain Monastery's training manual, this republication introduces a broader audience to the order's eight areas of concentration Zazen, Zen study, academic study, liturgy, right action, art practice, body practice, and work practice. At Zen Mountain, both lay and monk students focus on these spheres through ten stages corresponding to Master K'uo-an's classic Ox-Herding Pictures. Loori, author of the popular Heart of Being and Riding the Ox Home: Stages on the Path of Enlightenment, offers readers still seeking a spiritual way a foretaste of practice devoted to rigorously preserving the core values of Zen while adapting to the realities of its Western expression. Those already following Zen will benefit from many new insights, as well as a translation of Dogen's Mountains and Rivers Sutra, the monastery's daily ritual, a checklist for Zazen, and recommended readings. Recommended for public and academic libraries. James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina at Asheville Lib.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.