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The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans Paperback – June 15, 2004
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"Yamada Roshi's straightforward commentary on the Wu-men kuan (Mumonkan) is again available in this new edition, and I'm delighted. As his Dharma heir, his teachings are my own, as they are for his many other successors in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Now our students and a new generation of Zen students everywhere can benefit directly from his guidance. I'm very grateful." (Robert Aitken, author of Taking the Path of Zen, and Zen Master Raven)
"Yamada Koun was of that fine old breed of Japanese Zen Masters- piercing, disciplined, and always on point. 'The Gateless Gate' distills his teaching and spirit marvelously. It is an essential text for anyone interested in the Zen koan, and in the process of Zen awakening. " (Norman Fischer, former abbot, San Francisco Zen Center, teacher and founder Everyday Zen Foundation. Author of Taking Our Places: the Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up.)
"This is an essential reference book for everyone working on koans, and an inspiring window on Zen practice for those who are not." (David Loy, author of The Great Awakening: A Buddhist Social Theory)
"Koun Yamada Roshi played a seminal role in spreading Zen Buddhism from Japan to the West. His insightful and profound commentaries on the Gateless Gate arise from his deep understanding of the Buddha-Dharma. They will help Zen students of all abilities to appreciate the significance of koans, not as paradoxical riddles, but as touchstones of reality." (Gerry Shishin Wick Roshi)
"Koans are the intimate family history of Zen. The awakened mind of the Zen ancestors is conveyed, but also their effort, sweat, pain, and joy. Koun Yamada's excellent translation and commentary helped opened the door to this world for many of us, and this new edition is sure to do so for many more.." (Kyogen Carlson, Dharma Rain)
"The penetrating voice of a unique lay Zen master! The depth of Yamada Koun Roshi's insight doesn't allow him to keep any religious, cultural or racial border in his heart. Consequently many westerners as well as catholic fathers and sisters joined his sangha. Reading his words, we realize that the Dharma has nothing to do with east or west, Buddhism or Christiany. Buddha nature is universal." (Eido Shimano Roshi, Abbot of Dai Bosatsu Zendo, Kongo-Ji)
About the Author
A former Jesuit priest, Ruben L.F. Habito is professor of world religions and spirituality at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and resident teacher at Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas, Texas. A dharma heir of Yamada Koun, he is also the author of Healing Breath and other works in Japanese and English.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the style of the classic masters, Koun Yamada presents a treasure trove of insight from his lifetime of practice and enlightenment.
His commentaries on the Mumonkan one open the way to the profound wisdom embodied in this peerless collection of koans, revealing one of the reasons that Koun Yamada was so influential in bringing Zen Buddhism to the West.
Also included is an introduction to the History of Zen Practice, lineage charts, Japanese-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Japanese conversion charts for personal names, and names of writings, place names, and more.
This translation of the Gateless Gate is alone worth the price of the book-- add to that Yamada's profound commentary and the supplamental material and you will see the reason why this is a must own book for anyone interested in Zen.
The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans is one of the principal collections of Zen koans (Chinese: "public records"), masterfully translated by Koun Yamada Roshi. More recent translations exist, but this book is the basis of much of current Zen teaching.
Compiled by Mumon almost 900 years ago, the koans in Gateless Gate (or Gateless Barrier) are short stories or riddles that are used as a means to accelerate the process of realization. While these riddles can't be solved by any rational process, they must be penetrated to realize their message. (Ask yourself: "Should I walk to work or take my lunch?" If an answer exists, it can't be produced by any logical system I'm aware of. Developing this answer is analogous to the process of realizing/solving a koan.)
I've owned a copy of Gateless Gate for over 30 years, though I originally purchased the book out of curiosity. It made absolutely no sense to me whatever, but I kept it because I found some of the stories amusing. I bought the latest edition because my teacher uses it occasionally as the basis for Dharma talks, though I have yet to formally embark on koan study. It is delightful to have this important Zen study aid - and other Zen titles - available for kindle.
[As with all my reviews of Zen-related products, I provide a disclaimer: Zen isn't something you read about or talk about. Find a qualified teacher. Develop strong practice habits. Realize yourself and be well.]
Contrary to other reviews, this is not a general-purpose text for people interested in spirituality.Read more ›
If you're interested in Zen, but don't know where to start, look no further! This book is truly priceless.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading the 48 stories that do not make sense spoken by highly intelligent people. There is a point to all of them and it is helpful that there is commentary by multiple... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Gary Crickmore
Thae koan does an amazing thing that it seems most people are in need of. It spontaneously flips the way we think on it's head, and leave us with just this. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Patrick Taig
I really enjoy this. Although it is set up differently than I expected. Sometimes it's confusing the way the layout is, but other than that it is fantastic. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Damon-Lewis
Excellent approach of this complex aspect of Zen. An amazing journey of discoveryPublished 10 months ago by Guy Lucas
Even if you're not into Buddhism you may get something profound from these Koans (A koan is like a poem that tries to teach a lesson which hopes to provide wisdom and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by JDH
A great text on Zen koans. Very nice layout. Great commentaries too.Published 13 months ago by P. Heimlich