(ANOTHER) "The most important book about Zen in the West"

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39456

    (ANOTHER) "The most important book about Zen in the West"

    Following Taigu's recent recommendation of Taigen Leighton's "Zen Questions" as "the most important book about Zen in the West" ...

    Yes, guys, a book. Just a simple book. I am thrilled. Cannot explain. I could have written so many pages, I could have never dreamt of so many other pages...Taigen, Taigen Dan Leighton is a great sitter, an inspired translator but this is really for all of us, not Dogen for dummies, not Dogen for University professors, not a


    I would like to introduce another book ... Shohaku Okumura's "Living by Vow: A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Texts" as also ANOTHER "The most important book about Zen in the West" ... especially for those wishing to go a bit deeper into the significance and origins of some of the traditional chants and practices one will encounter around Treeleaf and most other Soto Zen Sangha. Okumura Sensei goes deeply into the ancient meanings ... while at the same time keeping it real and grounded for our modern times. I would recommend it perhaps a little more for those with a bit of sitting under their belt, rather than our new new beginners.

    From the jacket ...

    This immensely useful book explores Zen’s rich tradition of chanted liturgy and the powerful ways that such chants support meditation, expressing and helping us truly uphold our heartfelt vows to live a life of freedom and compassion. Exploring eight of Zen’s most essential and universal liturgical texts, Living by Vow is a handbook to walking the Zen path, and Shohaku Okumura guides us like an old friend, speaking clearly and directly of the personal meaning and implications of these chants, generously using his experiences to illustrate their practical significance. A scholar of Buddhist literature, he masterfully uncovers the subtle, intricate web of culture and history that permeate these great texts. Esoteric or challenging terms take on vivid, personal meaning, and old familiar phrases gain new poetic resonance. ...

    ... and a review ...

    The words of introduction ‘Okumura guides us like an old friend, with a sure and gentle hand’ are a most accurate description for it. It soons become clear that our author is not only a renowned scholar of Buddhist literature but he is a dedicated practitioner as well. The title takes us right into the first chapter on the Four Bodhisattva Vows. With each chapter Okumura first looks at the title in their original language as a way of pointing to the underlying meaning. From this he develops a rich and insightful understanding which for me certainly brings the chant alive ... he does this with not only the Four Vows but also with ... the Verse of Repentance ... He goes on with the Three Refuges, The Robe Chant, The Meal Chants, the Heart Sutra, Merging of Difference and Unity and finally Opening the Sutra.

    And here is a sample chapter, on the "Verse of the Kesa" for all our Rakusu sewers ...
    This immensely useful book explores Zen's rich tradition of chanted liturgy and the powerful ways that such chants support meditation, expressing and helping us truly uphold our heartfelt vows to live a life of freedom and compassion. Exploring eight of Zen's most essential and universal liturgical texts, Living by Vow is a handbook to walking the Zen path, and Shohaku Okumura guides us like an old friend, speaking clearly and directly of the personal meaning and implications of these chants, generously using his experiences to illustrate their practical significance. A scholar of Buddhist literature, he masterfully uncovers the subtle, intricate web of culture and history that permeate these great texts. Esoteric or challenging terms take on vivid, personal meaning, and old familiar phrases gain new poetic resonance.


    I have added it to our "Recommended Book List" ...
    Hi, The following is a recommended book list for our Sangha. It covers a variety of works on Zen, life, “Just Sitting” Shikantaza Zazen, Master Dogen and Buddhism in general. Thank you to all who provided input, and the list is still open to new suggestions and additions. Please email or PM me (Jundo) with any


    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-11-2018, 02:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • adrianbkelly
    Member
    • Jun 2012
    • 214

    #2
    Have just finished this & totally agree. Very informative & has really increased my appreciation of the chants.

    _/\_

    Ade

    Comment

    • Mp

      #3
      Thank you Jundo, I will add it to my book list.

      Gassho
      Michael

      Comment

      • Nindo

        #4
        Wow, sounds great, thanks!

        Comment

        • Kyonin
          Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
          • Oct 2010
          • 6742

          #5
          Another one to my list!

          Thank you, Jundo.

          Gassho,

          Kyonin
          Hondō Kyōnin
          奔道 協忍

          Comment

          • lorax
            Member
            • Jun 2008
            • 381

            #6
            Hi
            Shohaku Okumura's Living by Vow and genjokoan are both available on Kindle. Great for visually impaired folks that need larger fonts or just like having the convenience of having their library with them where ever they go… Also Amazon's Kindle offers a very reasonable price!

            Jim
            Shozan

            Comment

            • Mp

              #7
              Originally posted by lorax
              Hi
              Shohaku Okumura's Living by Vow and genjokoan are both available on Kindle. Great for visually impaired folks that need larger fonts or just like having the convenience of having their library with them where ever they go… Also Amazon's Kindle offers a very reasonable price!

              Jim
              Thanks for that Jim. I actually found it from Indigo books for 16.00 dollars, so ordered it. Wow, I am going to end up having a book going in every room.

              Gassho
              Michael

              Comment

              • Onken
                Member
                • Jun 2011
                • 104

                #8
                Thanks for the recommendation
                Gassho,
                Onken

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39456

                  #9
                  I just heard about a new documentary being made on the home life of Shohaku Okumura and his family (I believe, though not sure, that the director is his daughter). Keep an eye out, and trailer below. Adam from SweepingZen writes ...

                  Three Souls Trailer – A Film by Yoko Okumura


                  The apple seemingly falls far from the tree when you compare Shohaku Okumura, a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and his 19 year old son Masaki, a 21st century boy who loves sci-fi shows, Gundam anime series, video games and is not yet sure what to do with his life. In a small midwest town of Bloomington, Indiana they run a small temple with the mother; Yuko, supporting its administration. Though each lead separate paths, the film displays the similarities within all of their pursuits for the meaning of life, in their own unique ways.

                  THREE SOULS is currently seeking funding opportunities, investors and donations to continue production of the film. Please contact opus333@gmail.com for more information.

                  A film by YOKO OKUMURA




                  Last edited by Jundo; 10-26-2012, 03:29 PM.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Shujin
                    Treeleaf Unsui
                    • Feb 2010
                    • 977

                    #10
                    Thanks for the link, Jundo; I wasn't aware of the film! Yoko & Masaki were unfailingly gracious during the retreat Ron & I attended in May. Masaki makes a formidable dish of mac & cheese.

                    Gassho,
                    Shujin
                    Kyōdō Shujin 教道 守仁

                    Comment

                    • Mp

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jundo
                      I just heard about a new documentary being made on the home life of Shohaku Okumura and his family (I believe, though not sure, that the director is his daughter). Keep an eye out, and trailer below. Adam from SweepingZen writes ...

                      Three Souls Trailer – A Film by Yoko Okumura


                      The apple seemingly falls far from the tree when you compare Shohaku Okumura, a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and his 19 year old son Masaki, a 21st century boy who loves sci-fi shows, Gundam anime series, video games and is not yet sure what to do with his life. In a small midwest town of Bloomington, Indiana they run a small temple with the mother; Yuko, supporting its administration. Though each lead separate paths, the film displays the similarities within all of their pursuits for the meaning of life, in their own unique ways.

                      THREE SOULS is currently seeking funding opportunities, investors and donations to continue production of the film. Please contact opus333@gmail.com for more information.

                      A film by YOKO OKUMURA




                      Thank you for the link Jundo, I enjoyed it. Also, my copy of Living By Vow came in yesterday, so I will have a look at it today.

                      Gassho
                      Michael

                      Comment

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