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The Way of Korean Zen Paperback – February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Weatherhill; 2nd Revised edition edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306864
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I highly recommend this wonderful book which affords us a 'bird's-eye' view into the teachings of Korean Zen Master Kusan Sunim. The teachings are concise yet comprehensive. A welcome addition to the growing body of writing on Korean Zen."—Richard Shrobe (Zen Master Wu Kwang), Guiding Teacher, Chogye International Zen Center of New York

"A modern Zen classic with deep roots in the oldest traditions of Korean and Chinese Buddhism. Kusan roars like a lion."—Stanley Lombardo

Language Notes

Text: English, Korean (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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One of the best texts I read on the Hua Tou (Hwadu) practice in "Rinzai style" Zen, following master Dahui.
Upasaka Heng He
There are lots of questions and answers, advice and encouragement, and the book ends with a commentary on the 10 ox-herding pictures.
Johnny5
I advise all you wanna-be great heroes to get a copy of this illuminating and inspiring book and enter soon the practice of the Way!
Craig Shoemake

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Johnny5 on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is one of the few Zen books I recommend to people. I practice in the Rinzai tradition and have tossed out most of my books on Zen philosophy. If you really want to understand Zen, you must practice it. It's really that simple. Everything else is just an intellectual exercise. The great thing about this book is the fact that it contains the teachings of a master who gives excellent advice on how to practice. There are very few books that give this kind of detail and talk about such a critical part of the practice as the Hwa-du (Hua-T'ou in chinese). Aside from Chan and Zen Teachings, vol. 1 (which is out of print), this is one of just a couple of books that address practice in such a down-to-earth manner. This is a true gem of a book. If you are interested in truly understanding Zen, and that requires sincere practice, you will greatly benefit from this book.

The primary technique discussed is the questioning mind. It is essential to maintain the questioning mind at all times. Kusan Sunim discusses this in great detail with a very good introduction to meditation. There are lots of questions and answers, advice and encouragement, and the book ends with a commentary on the 10 ox-herding pictures. It's like having a good friend sit down with you and explain a lot of the practical questions that arise during sincere Zen practice. If you want to take your practice deeper, this book is a very worthwhile purchase. I highly recommend it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gary Reiner on June 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Way of Korean Zen comes highly recommended -- it is a joy to read and to digest over time. The wisdom of Zen practice is gently set forward throughout the text. Kusan Sunim (Korean for "monk") is a consummate teacher, leading the reader, or student, through a series of interesting and helpful topics including: instructions for meditation; discourses from a winter retreat; advice and encouragement; and the ten oxherding pictures.

This book sets forth Kusan Sunim's deep emphasis on questioning, the heart of the Koan practice of the Korean Zen Buddhist approach. He was constantly challenging the monks and seekers who came to him with abrupt and forthright questions, such as, "right now, tell me, what is the sky?" The book also details Kusan Sunim's biography, and how he practiced extremely diligently for many years, and as a result of his sincere and concerted effort attained profound breakthroughs .

Aside from Kusan Sunim's many accomplishments as a teacher, he was the first Korean Zen teacher to accept Western students in a Korean monastery. Additionally, he lived simply and strictly as a vegan Zen monk. He was a bright, radiant, challenging, freeing, and magnetic presence.

For those interested in another wonderful book on Korean Zen, I would recommend: No River to Cross: Trusting the Enlightenment That's Always Right Here.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Craig Shoemake on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think you would be hard pressed to find a better, more authentic introduction to Zen Buddhism-or, as it is called in Korea, Seon Bulgyo (where "seon" is pronounced like English "son"). But perhaps the word "introduction" is not really appropriate. If you know nothing about Zen Buddhism this is probably not the best place to start. If you've waded into the ocean of Zen and are looking for a fine "fish" to eat, something tasty and nutritious, something truly representative of these particular "waters" (to carry my analogy near the breaking point), this book is marvelous.

It is not about Japanese Zen, though, but Korean. The Koreans have been practicing Buddhism longer than the Japanese, plus there is more active, "authentic" Buddhism happening in Korea than in Japan. (At least that's been my impression; let me know if you think otherwise.) This situation, however, is changing; as I've mentioned elsewhere, the tradition is dying and is probably ready for life support at this point. (In Japan it is as good as clinically dead; there is probably more authentic Zen in America than in Japan.) That said, the Koreans understand the whys and wherefores of koan (or "hwadu") practice in a way I never got the sense contemporary Japanese do. This book delves in depth regarding koans and contains prime instruction for anyone utilizing this particular meditation subject.

Some words about the source of these teachings. Kusan Sunim was, along with Seong-cheol Sunim ("sunim" means monk in Korean), arguably the greatest living exponent of Zen Buddhism in twentieth century Korea. He started life as a farmer and barber, was even a married man. At the age of 26 a life-threatening disease struck him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOHN Gorski on June 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent source for the beginning of those who are starting on the path, and a comfort to those who are walking the path now.
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