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December 29 , 2010

Essential Readings in Zen


The purpose of Zen is to awaken to the bodhisattva within us. This perception, also called kensho, “seeing self-nature,” opens the way to a true Zen life lived in unrestricted liberation. To attain such freedom, one must strive in all of one’s activities to live in accordance with the Bodhisattva Vows.

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Zen Commentaries on the Lotus Sutra

The Lotus Sutra is arguably the most influential of all of the Mahayana sutras, and an understanding of it and its themes is essential to the study of East Asian Buddhist doctrine and practice. In the theoretical teaching, the Buddha declares that the three vehicles, [the teachings for voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and bodhisattvas] stressed…

It would be easy to spend an entire lifetime studying and contemplating the various source documents of the Zen tradition. The selections herein, including works of Nargajuna, Bodhidharma, Hsin Hsin Ming, Dogen, and Hua Hai capture the full flavor and essence of Zen and can easily stand as both the beginning and terminus of one’s studies.

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