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The Ceasing of Notions: An Early Zen Text from the Dunhuang Caves with Selected Comments Paperback – January 1, 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This powerful little book is a jewel of Zen Buddhism. Roshi Soko Morinaga goes right to the point of practice and realization." (Joan Halifax, founding abbot, Upaya Zen Center)

"Provides food for thought for both experienced Zen students and new comers alike. The translation is eminently readable and Morinaga's commentary is useful and enjoyable to read. I recommend this to all who wish to learn more about the early teachings of Chan and I commend Wisdom Publications on a delightful volume that I am sure will be read more than once by myself." (TheZenSite.com)

"A very accessible helpful commentary from one of the most revered Japanese Zen masters of his generation." (Martin Collcutt, author Five Mountains: The Rinzai Zen Monastic Institution in Medieval Japan)

About the Author

Soko Morinaga, was head of Hanazono University and abbot of Daishu-in in Kyoto, one of the twenty-four sub-temples of Daitoku-ji. After finding himself adrift following World War Two, he took up Zen training at Daishuin under Goto Zuigan, formerly abbot of Myoshin-ji and at that time abbot of Daitoku-ji. Morinaga later became the Dharma successor to Oda Sesso Roshi, becoming head monk of Daitoku-ji. He taught regularly at Rinzai temples in California and in England during the latter part of his life. He is author of Pointers to Insight: Life of a Zen Monk, The Ceasing of Notions: Zen Text from the Tun-Huang Caves, and Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity. Morinaga Roshi passed away in 1995.

Martin Collcutt is a professor of East Asian studies and history at Princeton University, where he teaches Japanese intellectual and cultural history. He also has a particular interest in the introduction and development of the monastic practice in Japanese Rinzai Zen. In the 1960s he studied and practiced Zen in Japan and met Morinaga Roshi at Daishuin in Kyoto. Subsequently he served as Roshi's interpreter on some of his visits to the United States and England. His academic background in Japanese Zen and his personal and longstanding involvement with Morinaga Roshi and his teaching makes Professor Collcutt's informative introduction a valuable contribution to the understanding of this classic text.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1614290415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1614290414
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This marvelous work cuts through all the "red tape" of Zen/Chan psychological perspectives and leads the reader to the core of Zen practice. I do feel that it is geared for the mature Zen practitioner and might cause confusion or even dismay in the novice zennist. that being said, I recommend it highly.
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Did you ever try to extract the nut meat from a hard hickory nut?

If so, you have a clue to the challenge of the text and commentary of "The Ceasing of Notions; An Early Zen Text from the Dunhuang Caves"; first published in 1988 by the Zen Trust and The Buddhist Society, London; printed in 2012 by Wisdom Publications, Boston, with a new Introduction by Martin Colcutt of Princeton University. The translation of the early Chinese Zen text derives from a German translation by Ursula Jarand, which then was translated into English by Venerable Myokyo-ni and Michelle Bromley. Selected Comments on the text are by Soko Morinaga Roshi.

Martin Colcutt's Introduction deals with the world of early Chinese Buddhism; the emergence in China of Zen as a form of Buddhist practice; textual origins and development; the interpretation and place of the text in subsequent times and places; and the meaning of Chinese words central to the text. Repeated recourse to The Introduction is helpful as one studies the text.

The text consists of a series of questions asked by Emmon, a young Buddhist, and of answers given by Master Nyuri, his Zen spiritual guide. Emmon has many doubts, and many fixed views. Master Nyuri again and again cuts to the heart of what human delusion is, as he prods and lures Emmon to understand the Way.

Closely interwoven with sections of the Zen text are the Selected Comments by Soko Morinaga Roshi. The Comments generally clarify the meaning of specific Chinese characters, words and phrases in the text. To a certain degree, the Comments try to explicate the nature of Emmon's assumptions and difficulties (as a student of Zen Buddhism) and the nature of Master Nyuri's own enlightenment and progress in the Way.
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An excellent book. Some of it was confusing, however, if you read it a few times you'll get it. If you live near a Buddhist center talk to a member of the Sangha to explain. It rates five stars.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent ! Other than Scripture there are only a few books that I read repeatedly, this will be one. The other most recent is The Sacrament of the Present Moment, which I'm starting for the sixth time.
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Short and clear introduction to zen
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Hi. This is a lovely little book, ideal for the Zen enthusiast to travel with on the bus or train, I enjoyed it very much.
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