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GATELESS BARRIER PA Paperback – January 1, 1991
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“Aitken Roshi poses these koans in a manner accessible to Westerners through his depiction of his personal struggles with them (as a student) and his approach to them as a teacher. His commentary allows the transformative power of this traditional koan collection to come alive for modern students.” ―Joko Beck, author of Everyday Zen
“[Aiken] has cultivated the moon of Zen for over half a century. I trust the rich and juicy harvest . The Gateless Barrier will be the door to open the Treasure House which has neither inside nor outside.” ―Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, Abbot, Zen Center of Los Angeles
From the Back Cover
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Here is one koan/story:
The priest Hsiang-yen said,"It is as though you were up in a tree hanging from a branch with your teeth.Your hands and feet can't touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the tree and asks, 'What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?' If you do not answer you evade your responsibility.If you do answer you lose your life. What do you do?"
What do you do in such a situation?
Top international reviews
Koun Yamada's commentary on the same koans in his book, The Gateless Gate, is deeper, with a clearer eye, but Aitken's careful readings are also excellent.