I would like to announce our next book selection for the Treeleaf "Beyond Words & Letters" Book Club (to follow our current reading, the wonderful 'Zen Seeds') ...
The Book of Equanimity, Illuminating Classic Zen Koans, commentary by Gerry Shishin Wick.
http://www.amazon.com/Book-Equanimity-I ... 0861713877
http://www.wisdompubs.org/pages/display ... n=&image=1
The Book of Equanimity (???, in Japanese the Sh?y?roku, sometimes called the Book of Serenity in English), is a collection of Koans gathered by the great exponent of Silent Illumination Chan Hongzhi Zhengjue (Wanshi Sh?gaku, 1091–1157), and is much prized in the Soto flavor of Zen. Shishin Wick is the current head of the White Plum Lineage, which usually mixes Kan'na (Koan Instrospection) Zen and Shikantaza ways, but in this case, he approaches each Koan with a gentle-not so gentle 'piercing in and out through the sacred core' Soto style. Shishin brings each Koan into living Practice and practical life, very much grounded in this day-to-day world, worlded in the Timeless Ground. Lovely.
There are other translations available, by Thomas Cleary and others. However, even if you have one of those already, I ask you to find the edition by Rev. Wick, as the life-filled commentaries by him will be at the heart of our reflections.
Public opinion often holds that Koans are not much cherished and Practiced in the Soto Way. That is not the case (little pun there). The way of handling and opening the Koans is a bit different in the Soto Way and the Ka'na Zazen of the Rinzai way (same, but different ... different, but just the same), something we will have a chance to experience in moving through-and-through these cherished "classic" Koans.The Book of Equanimity is as central to koan practice in the Soto Zen tradition as the better-known 'Blue Cliff Record' is in the Rinzai tradition. ... At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Shishin Wick gave a series of talks on each of the hundred cases to Zen students in Colorado, and now with this new publication he offers his commentary and translation to a wider audience. Shishin Wick was trained as a physicist and oceanographer, and his scientific background comes through in his rigorous examination of each case. His poetic sensibility is also evident in the book, such as in his commentary on 'Joshu's Dog,' which describes the noble futility of the bodhisattva vow, by using the image of someone attempting to fill up a well with snow. He draws upon examples ranging from the scholarly (comparisons with other koan collections) to the everyday (a friend's paralyzed dachshund) to show the importance of The Book of Equanimity in the Zen tradition and its relevance to the lives of his students and readers.