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Living by Vow: A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Texts Paperback – June 26, 2012
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"Living by Vow is a unique and wonderful combination of skillful, fresh translations and Dharma discourses by a Zen priest who is a scholar, a long-term practitioner, and a Zen master. Shohaku Okamura reveals his own life vow as he helps us dive deeply into the many chants that are recited daily in Buddhist temples around the world, rendering them accessible and beautifully relevant to our lives. This is a book to read and re-read, to consult and cite." (Jan Chozen Bays, author of How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness)
"Living By Vow unpacks much of the Zen liturgy with striking clarity, depth, and detail. Shohaku's writing manifests the deep, settled mind of the Soto school. A refreshing read! This is an essential resource for students and teachers alike." (Dosho Port, author of Keep Me in Your Heart a While)
"An important and much-needed book. Shohaku Okumura's elucidations of these fundamental teachings--so familiar to many, yet so often poorly understood--make plain how profound they truly are." (Steve Hagen, author of Buddhism Plain and Simple)
"In this lovely and informative book, Shohaku Okamura illuminates the meaning of the texts we chant in so many Zen practice centers. The combination of his abundance of knowledge and his personal openness allow these ancient words to come alive. I am grateful for Okamura Roshi's gift of scholarship and heart, and look forward to enjoying his wise companionship in my own chanting practice." (Melissa Myozen Blacker, coeditor of The Book of Mu)
"Drawing on teachings from a variety of Zen teachers as well as his wide knowledge of the Buddhist canon, Shohaku Okamura offers us new ways to approach these sometimes too familiar passages. His writing is always infused by his great love of practice and his love for the living practice of Zen." (David Rynick, author of This Truth Never Fails: A Zen Memoir in Four Seasons)
"A great book. Steeped in the best of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, Shohaku Okamura has lived and taught in America for decades. This experience--honed by the sincerity of Shohaku's character, scholarship, and commitment--results in a rare text that fully integrates the richness of Dogen's culturally profound Buddhism with the needs of the contemporary student. Shohaku's discussion of Soto Zen's key liturgical texts will be required reading for all students of that tradition--and will be of great benefit to anyone who wants to appreciate the nature and scope of religious life. I am inspired and delighted by this book and will be using it for a long time to come." (Zoketsu Norman Fischer, author of Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong)
"This book features detailed commentary on a series of fundamental texts including historical, philosophical, and practice perspectives, and will be very useful to all beginning Zen students, and also illuminating for many long-time practitioners." (Taigen Dan Leighton, author of Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry)
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Top Customer Reviews
The essence of the book is to guide and explain in the most straight forward way that I have ever read on Zen practice.
Not one of the chapters explains more than an everyday "ordinariness" in Zen but the explanation brings the reader into a world of deep and, on occaisions for me, profound understanding of what this practically means in a Zen way.
This book will require more than one reading; not because it is difficult to read (on the contrary, it is very easy to read) but because of the important insights that it contains into the human condition and how Zen practice may assist us to find a better way of living.
I owe Shohaku Okamura a debt of gratitude for this important work, thank you.
Detailed Commentary on :
1 Bodhisattva vows
2 verse of repentance
3 3 refuges
4 robe chant
5 meal chant
6 heart sutra
7 merging of difference & unity
8 sutra opening verse
This book would be worth it for the heart sutra commentary alone. I'm voting it best Zen book of the year. Thanks Shohaku.
The scholarly, yet eminently practical approach Okumura creates a resource that is both refreshing and illuminating. The texts examined are important ones and equal emphasis is given to the many dimensions of these liturgical forms, including the historical and the philosophical. This leads to a much deeper grounding in the texts and liturgy. This also deepens the possibility for intentional and deliberate practice. This book is an essential pathway to participating -- even in a small, personal way -- in the greater liturgical life of the global Zen community as it is expressed in temple liturgy.
I am only half way through it and all the things I thought before have already been completely undone. I have listened to many mystifying Dharma talks from Western masters and Tibetan lamas, and I have laboriously read all 4 volumes of Gudo Nishima's edition of Dogen's Shobogenzo, with all the erudite academic annotations, but this simple volume, Living by Vow, in plain language from the inside perspective of a Japaneze Zen monk who grew up in this tradition in his native Japan, and whose translations of the daily Zen liturgy into modern English are so eloquent, has taken me to a new level of appreciation and understanding, or not understanding and being free with that. For anyone seeking a way through the mystifying permutations of Zen franchises proliferating our world of spiritual consumerism, this is a capital book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Offers deep insights into the meaning and historical derivation of a number of Buddhist texts used in Zen, including a lengthy discourse on the "Heart Sutra". Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. DeMarco
While this book is written specifically for practitioners of Soto Zen Buddhism, I would recommend it to any serious Buddhist practitioner or anyone simply interested in truly... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sherry M
All of Okumura's writing has been a positive force in my practice.Published 6 months ago by Bill and Carol Nielsen
Shohaku Okumura's "Living by Vow" is an exceptional book in the Buddhist literature. As a zen practitioner, his in depth analysis and discussion of the Heart Sutra, in... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Adele Wayman
Are the chants written in English or Japanese? I would buy it if the answer is yes. If no then I would have to reevaluate. Read morePublished 16 months ago by John R