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Zen Classics for the Modern World: Translations of Chinese Zen Poems & Prose with Contemporary Commentary Paperback – November 18, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1437979466 ISBN-10: 1437979467

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Diane Publishing Co. (November 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1437979467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1437979466
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,551,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Jeff Shore brings forty years of training and teaching experience in meditative 
practice and textual studies of Zen Buddhism to bear in his translations and 
interpretations of three valuable classics about pathways to awakening. Shore's 
commentaries on these works, combining profound knowledge of a thousand- 
year old literary tradition with contemporary cultural allusions and fresh insights, 
are consistently fascinating and illuminating, and in true Zen style, frequently 
humorous and disarming. Several short essays, included here by those who have 
trained under him, put in useful perspective just how intriguing and motivating 
Shore's teaching style is." 
-- Steven Heine, Professor and Director of Asian Studies, Florida International 
University, renowned author, translator, and editor of works on Zen Buddhism 

"A collection of old Zen stories far away from our own lives? Not at all! This 
book points directly to the core of our own lives and being. To recognize this, it's 
necessary to read it not just with mind but with heart. Then the words can turn 
into real guidelines on the Way, on the Way to find out what we really are. You may 
have long been searching in theories, in books, to find answers to your questions 
-- but have you really come to the end of your quest? 
No, this book won't offer pat answers or a quick "fix" for personal problems. Answers 
can only be found inside yourself. This requires courage, to let the words settle into 
mind and body, and to let them unfold there. What happens then? Open the book 
and find out!" 
-- Jeannette Stowasser, Munich, Germany 

"Zen Buddhism cannot be learned from a book. Direct personal contact with a 
genuine Zen teacher is at the heart of the tradition. After over 12 years of experience 
with Jeff Shore, I can confirm without doubt that he is such a teacher. If you do not 
have the opportunity to join a retreat and have this personal encounter, the next 
best thing you can do is to digest this book. And in full accord with the Buddha's 
teaching, let me add: don't believe me -- see for yourself." 
-- Stefan van Weers, Zutphen, Netherlands 

"As a Zen practitioner, I am forever grateful to have encountered Jeff Shore along 
the Way. As a member of Jeff's family through marriage for over thirty years, I 
have had ample opportunities to observe him in innumerable situations. His 
commitment -- to his own Path as well as tirelessly being there for others -- has 
been unwavering. In this unique volume of translations and retreat lectures, Jeff 
goes right to the heart of our search for spiritual freedom." 
-- Tina Shore, Nurse Psychotherapist, Rockville, Maryland

From the Back Cover

"Jeff Shore is the first westerner to complete the Rinzai koan training in Japan under a Japanese Zen master. Fluent in both oral and written Japanese language, he speaks with both the authority of his own practice in Zen and of his long training in the Rinzai text tradition. In Zen Classics for the Modern World, he brings to bear the full force of his experience to show the way in Zen practice. In dharma talks that are both illuminating and practical, he explains the stumbling blocks, the frustration, the self-deception and the final fulfillment of Zen practice."
-- Victor Sogen Hori, Rinzai Zen monk, professor of Japanese religions, McGill Univer­sity, Montreal, Author of Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice
"As a Rinzai Zen master and professor of Zen in the Modern World at Hanazono University in Kyoto, no one is more qualified than Jeff Shore to comment on these Zen Classics. Much of the translated materials are presented here for the first time in English. Aimed at the modern reader, the translations are deep, direct, and clear. Jeff does not stop at a scholarly analysis of old texts. No, he brings the texts to life and confronts us with our very own questions: 'Who am I? What am I doing here? How am I to live this life?' Do not look for answers in books, not even this book. Let this book help you cut to the heart of the question at hand, the question of your life here and now."
-- Muho Noelke, Abbot of Antaiji Sōtō Zen Temple, Hyogo, Japan
"The texts translated are classical, the translations are scholarly and yet elegant in the best sense. The commentaries, which provide the true core of this work, are fresh and lively. The poetry translations are bilingual, and the illustrations are treasures."
-- J. P. Seaton, a leading translator of Chinese poetry, author of Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih

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Customer Reviews

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You are responsible for making your own way.
Martin
I know you can appreciate a good wine, so it was nice to read: "You've just had three glasses of vintage Chateau Margaux - how can you say your lips are dry?"
Tim Pallis
Most of us interested in Zen were first interested in "awakening", which in Rinzai Zen is called "breaking through" our Great Doubt.
Jack Vartabedian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martin on December 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Even . . . noble acts can be corrupted by ego-self." With these words, and, indeed, with his entire new book of marrow-ful translations, commentaries and retreat talks, Jeff Shore - the first westerner to complete the Rinzai koan training in Japan under a Japanese Zen Master, professor of Zen in the Modern World at Hanazono University in Kyoto, and a leader of intensive Zen retreats around the world - offers pragmatic exhortations to ensure that even the best of intentions are not co-opted by our deeply ingrained self-centeredness. Even those sections that present the Zen way brought to fruition harken us back to our own condition: How are we proceeding? Are we truly at ease? Do we sit long in meditation as thoroughgoing investigation - or as a mark of pride? Do we help others selflessly - or merely to gratify our own sense of worth? Why is there the deep-seated need for such self-aggrandizement in the first place? What is lacking? Jeff Shore's book calls us to honest awareness of how we are. The open secret of Zen is presented in its pages: at each step of the path not to attempt to veil discontent through endless alternations of seeking and self-satisfaction, but to singlemindedly press on, seeing through how we are, through the living contradiction that we are - thoroughgoingly, wholeheartedly, "self-separation come to its own end."

Through translation of and commentary on three classic Chinese texts, as well as through additional retreat talks, Shore's book incisively explicates Zen practice and awakening.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack Vartabedian on January 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
Zen Classics for the Modern World offers a presentation of Zen basics that is much needed here in the west. The author's writing is clear and direct, making subtle points of practice accessible to a wide range of readers. The text as a whole will speak to experienced practitioners, but there is also something essential presented to those with virtually no religious training: the connection between "awakening" and our natural, uncontrived doubt. If beginners find themselves struggling with the text as a whole, it may be helpful to focus the initial readings around the introductory lecture (pages 47-54) to the series of talks dealing with Great Doubt, and then proceed back to the commentaries on the first two "Zen Oxherding Pictures" (pages 4-12). I think a careful reading of these few pages can provide a helpful glimpse of not just Zen practice, but of the religious vocation in general.

Most of us interested in Zen were first interested in "awakening", which in Rinzai Zen is called "breaking through" our Great Doubt. Unfortunately it is easy to misunderstand what this doubt is. As a result many of us (before meeting the right teacher) spend years attempting to manufacture a sensation of "doubt" in the hopes that something better---the break through--will happen as a result. The other extreme of this misunderstanding amounts to ignoring altogether the prospect of awakening, pretending to "just sit" with things as they are. As the title--"Great Doubt: Getting Stuck and Breaking Through the Real Koan"---of the second series of talks suggests, the author does encourage practitioners to experience a decisive break through. But the practice he encourages as a means to this involves settling into only what is already there for us. In the beginning, this is our natural doubt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HY on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Drawing on my own experience as his Dharma friend, Jeff Shore is a Zen teacher who strikes directly at the core of the matter. His approach to Zen buddhism is uncompromising, sharp and sometimes even seems radical. As a Chinese native speaker with some knowledge in classical writings, I consider "Zen classics for the modern world" a precious work. The translation is concise, precise and inspiring, whereas the commentaries are razor-sharp. The book is a living statement that the essence of buddhist teaching is transmitted beyond cultural fabrics. In fact, the translation even helps me to understand the original texts better, since it is done from an insider perspective.

Also, this book is not something to be flipped through quickly. I would highly recommend the readers to read it thoroughly and slowly, and let every word sink in. Let the words reverberate in your mind. No, you probably will not find any answers in this book. But perhaps it will at least help you start with asking serious questions.

All in all, this book will be an inspiring, or for some, "unsettling" read for anyone who is serious about a spiritual path.

-H. YU
Biologist and beginner in Zen Practice
Zurich
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Pallis on October 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jeff Shore's new book is marvelous - maybe the best book on practice ever written. Zen Classics for the Modern World directs the person away from self and back to the real suchness of zazen. I agree with him all the way. He has found a form of teaching that really works.

First of all, I am very fond of his definition of 'sudden enlightenment' (p.89). We all learned the translation sudden enlightenment from D.T. Suzuki and misunderstood Zen for years. For decades I have had the fantasy of attaining sudden enlightenment one day. Then I realized it was hopeless, but I was still not without hope. Then I realized that there was no attainment - nothing to attain, and no self to attain anything. What to attain suddenly? - And by whom? All mistakes because of the idea of attaining sudden enlightenment.

Jeff states that 'sudden' really means 'immediate' - without mediation. I am so happy to hear this, because it ends the bad trip of wanting to achieve sudden enlightenment one day. That would be fine for the illusory 'self,' but it is not Zen. Awakening without mediation is our real and present situation. It moves and is non-dual reality. It is reality or truth, and I am this all the time - endlessly. I have never read or heard this stated so clearly.

My most exquisite experience is when I stand in front of a great tree and gaze into its inner being. I forget my self and become awakened by the truth of the tree. That is sanzen for me. It is my one-on-one confrontation with truth. It is two in one, but without that concept. What a marvelous tree I am!

But that is merely a particular experience which points to a more general truth.
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