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

  1. #1

    (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" ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...en-in-the-West

    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 ...
    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=R...0heads&f=false

    I have added it to our "Recommended Book List" ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-10-2012 at 12:49 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Yeap, great book, terrific chapter on the heart sutra and the sutra of the kesa . That guy is the real deal and a very modest and humble individual.
    In the same vein as his genjokoan.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  3. #3
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    So many books, so little time. Thanks for the recommendation Jundo. I will have to pick it up and add it to the "To Be Read" pile.

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anas Nin

  4. #4
    Have just finished this & totally agree. Very informative & has really increased my appreciation of the chants.

    _/\_

    Ade

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo, I will add it to my book list.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Wow, sounds great, thanks!
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Another one to my list!

    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  8. #8
    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

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by lorax View Post
    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
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  10. #10
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    On the way, from Wisdom Publications.

    Gassho

    Richard

  11. #11
    Thanks for the recommendation
    Gassho,
    Onken

  12. #12
    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

    http://yokookumurafilm.weebly.com/three-souls.html


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

  13. #13
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    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

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    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

    http://yokookumurafilm.weebly.com/three-souls.html


    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
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  15. #15
    Hello Jundo,

    thanks so much for the link. Looks like something wonderful to look forward to.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

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