Subtitle, Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza.

I thought I'd share my thoughts about this book, which I bought sometime last year, as it covers the basic practice of Treeleafers.

This anthology contains 22 texts, six texts in an appendix, and an introduction, all focusing on the practice of shikantaza. About half the texts are different presentations of how to "do" shikantaza (or not-do), and the other half are things like commentaries to Dogen texts, short dharma teachings related to meditation, etc. The appendix contains six foundational texts, such as the Satipatthana Sutra and other classic texts.

First, this is not really the kind of book you'll want to read from cover to cover, but rather dip into, reading a chapter from time to time. Since most of the texts are about how to "do" shikantaza, there is not a lot of "meat" in the book. However, reading ten different descriptions of how to sit is valuable - at least it was to me - as each one gives a slightly different explanation of shikantaza. Some of the texts are by Dogen, and the book contains a relatively long commentary on the Fukanzazengi (by Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi) which is quite useful. There are also a few koans and zen stories, which are related to meditation practice.

All in all, I find this a very useful book. When my sitting has been erratic, I've gone back and read parts of it, or when I felt I needed to "learn" how to sit again, I've found the instructional chapters useful. Anyone who's bookish and wants to know more about shikantaza will probably want to own this.

(Note: this opinion is mine alone, and in no way reflects the official position of Treeleaf Zendo or of our fearless leader, Jundo. In fact, I'd be curious whether Jundo agrees with my assessment of this book...)