Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Blue Cliff Record By Yuanwu Keqin, Thomas Cleary (Translator), & J.C. Cleary (Translator)

Direct Download OR Buy

The Blue Cliff Record is a collection of Chán Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 and then expanded into its present form by the Chán master Yuanwu Keqin. 

The book includes Yuanwu's annotations and commentary on Xuedou Zhongxian's collection 100 Verses on Old Cases a compilation of 100 koans. 

Xuedou selected 82 of these from the Jingde Chuandeng Lu (Jingde era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp), with the remainder selected from the Yunmen Guanglu (Extensive Record of Yunmen Wenyan (864 – 949). 

Yuanwu's successor, Dahui Zonggao wrote many letters to lay students teaching the practice of concentrating on koans during meditation. But Dahui did not explain and analyze koans. 

Oral tradition holds that Dahui noticed students engaged in too much intellectual discourse on koans, and then burned the wooden blocks used to print the Bìyán Lù. Another key legend regards Dogen Zenji who brought the Soto Zen sect to Japan: After an extended visit to China for the purpose of studying Zen, on the night before his planned return to Japan, Dogen saw the Bìyán Lù for the first time, and stayed up all night making a handwritten copy of the book. 

Given the size of the book, this story is most likely apocryphal. It is considered one of the great treasures of Zen literature and an essential study manual for students of Zen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive