Zen Sand

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University of Hawaii Press, 2003 - Religion - 764 pages
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Zen Sand is a classic collection of verses aimed at aiding practitioners of koan meditation to negotiate the difficult relationship between insight and language. As such it represents a major contribution to both Western Zen practice and English-language Zen scholarship. In Japan the traditional Rinzai Zen koan curriculum includes the use of jakugo, or capping phrases. Once a monk has successfully replied to a koan, the Zen master orders the search for a classical verse to express the monk's insight into the koan. Special collections of these jakugo were compiled as handbooks to aid in that search. Until now, Zen students in the West, lacking this important resource, have been severely limited in carrying out this practice. Zen Sand combines and translates two standard jakugo handbooks and opens the way for incorporating this important tradition fully into Western Zen practice. For the scholar, Zen Sand provides a detailed description of the jakugo practice and its place in the overall koan curriculum, as well as a brief history of the Zen phrase book. This volume also contributes to the understanding of East Asian culture in a broader sense.
 

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I use this book to find capping phrases for koan study under my Zen teacher. However, reading this book is like thumbing through a dictionary or encyclopedia. Every page contains a jewel that points you toward some insight you did not know to look for. Don't try to make a list of your favorites, every time you pick up the book, something new will catch your attention, something that fits that day, that moment. 

Contents

CappingPhrase Practice in Japanese Rinzai Zen
xv
The Nature of the Rinzai Kōan Practice
xvii
The Steps of Kōan Practice
6
Literary Study in Kōan Practice
20
The Kōan and the Chinese Literary Game
31
The History of Zen Phrase Books
50
Guide to Conventions and Abbreviations
73
Phrases
81
ElevenCharacter Phrases
371
TwelveCharacter Verses
374
ThirteenCharacter Phrases
386
FourteenCharacter Verses
388
FifteenCharacter Phrases
471
SixteenCharacter Phrases
473
SeventeenCharacter Phrases
484
EighteenCharacter Phrases
487

FourCharacter Phrases
81
FiveCharacter Phrases
147
SixCharacter Phrases
179
SevenCharacter Phrases
204
EightCharacter Phrases
257
NineCharacter Phrases
301
TenCharacter Phrases
305
NineteenCharacter Phrases
488
TwentyCharacter Phrases
490
TwentyOneandMoreCharacter Phrases
494
Glossary
507
Bibliography
599
Index
617
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Victor Sgen Hori, who was ordained in Japan as a Zen monk in 1976, is currently associate professor of Japanese religions in the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University.

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