The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans

Gerry Shishin Wick

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0861713877

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Book of Equanimity contains the first-ever complete English language commentary on one of the most beloved classic collections of Zen teaching stories (koans), making them vividly relevant to spiritual seekers and Zen students in the twenty-first century. Continually emphasizing koans as effective tools to discover and experience the deepest truths of our being, Wick brings the art of the koan to life for those who want to practice wisdom in their daily lives.

The koan collection Wick explores here is highly esteemed as both literature and training material in the Zen tradition, in which koan-study is one of two paths a practitioner might take. This collection is used for training in many Zen centers in the Americas and in Europe but has never before been available with commentary from a contemporary Zen master. Wick's Book of Equanimity includes new translations of the preface, main case and verse for each koan, and modern commentaries on the koans by Wick himself.

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if we sow good actions, we reap those rewards. But how can we know what will be “good” and what will be “bad”? It’s said that doing zazen wholeheartedly purifies years of bad karma. Yet so does suffering. When we feel pain and experience suffering and we stay with it rather than attaching to our stories about it or pushing it away, that purifies karma as well. Our faith, our prayers, our offerings, can also purify bad karma, as can repentance and atonement. Commenting on this koan, Master Mumon

clue. The tiniest mote obstructs the eye. “Concealed in one’s heart, it of itself gives rise to thoughts.” Those thoughts make one think that there still seems somehow to be something that can be called self and something that can be called other. Ummon explains the second type of sicknesses using the dharmakaya, which literally means “Dharma body,” and is another word for our true self. Once you have an insight into the nature of the dharmakaya, your true self, you form a fixed belief that the

the Zen Ancestors from Shakyamuni Buddha to Master Dogen. Next we appreciate the Five Ranks of Master Tozan with about fifty koans and testing points. The final collection is a series of one hundred koans based on detailed examination of the sixteen bodhisattva precepts which are transmitted during ceremonies for both laypeople and monks when they commit to the Way of the Buddha. I cannot overestimate the importance of doing koan study with a qualified teacher. Some Zen students pride themselves

Rhinoceros-Horn Fan PREFACE TO THE ASSEMBLY Lands and seas are boundless, yet they are not apart from right here. Things and previous kalpas, numerous as the dust, all exist right now. As when one is asked to show it face to face, being caught unprepared, one cannot present it. Tell me: Where is the fault? MAIN CASE Attention! One day Enkan summoned his attendant and told him, “Go out and fetch the rhinoceros-horn fan.” The attendant replied, “The fan is broken.” Enkan said, “If the fan is

them. He would try and devise mathematical equations that explained these patterns. Another scientist named August Kekule discovered the structure of benzene, one of the most important structures in organic chemistry, through a dream. The structure is in the form of a ring, a circle of six carbon atoms. This organic structure had puzzled scientists for a long time. Kekule wrote, “I turned my chair to the fire [after having worked on the problem for some time] and dozed. Again the atoms were

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