Friday, July 12, 2019
The Blue Cliff Record
The Blue Cliff Record (Chinese: (碧巖錄) Bìyán Lù; Japanese: Hekiganroku (碧巌録?); Korean: Byeokamrok, 벽암록(碧巖錄);Vietnamese: Bích nham lục (碧巖錄)) is a collection of Chán Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 (宋宣和七年) and then expanded into its present form by the Chán master Yuanwu Keqin (圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135).
The book includes Yuanwu's annotations and commentary on Xuedou Zhongxian's (雪竇重顯 980 – 1052) collection 100 Verses on Old Cases (頌古百則) — a compilation of 100 koans. Xuedou selected 82 of these from the Jingde Chuandeng Lu (景德傳燈錄) (Jingde era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp), with the remainder selected from the Yunmen Guanglu (雲門廣録), Extensive Record of Yunmen Wenyan (864 – 949).
Another key legend regards Dogen Zenji (道元禅師; 1200 – 1253), 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 almost certainly apocryphal.
The Gateless Gate
The Gateless Gate (無門關, Mandarin. Wúménguān, Japanese. 無門関, Mumonkan) is a collection of 48 Chan (Zen) koans compiled in the early 13th century by the Chinese Zen master Wumen Hui-k'ai (無門慧開)(1183–1260) (Japanese: Mumon Ekai). Wumen's preface indicates that the volume was published in 1228. Each koan is accompanied by a commentary and verse by Wumen. A classic edition includes a 49th case composed by Anwan (pen name for Cheng Ch'ing-Chih) in 1246. Wu-liang Tsung-shou also supplemented the volume with a verse of four stanzas composed in 1230 about the three checkpoints of Zen master Huanglong. These three checkpoints of Huanglong should not be confused with Doushuai's Three Checkpoints found in Case 47.
Along with the Blue Cliff Record and the oral tradition of Hakuin Ekaku, The Gateless Gate is a central work much used in Rinzai School practice. Five of the koans in the work concern the sayings and doings of Zhaozhou; four concern Ummon.
There are 3 widely used English translations:
Yamada, Koun, The Gateless Gate, Center Publications, Wisdom Publications. 2004
Aitken, Robert, The Gateless Barrier, The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumokan), North Point Press, San Francisco. 1991
Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan by Zenkei Shibayama is somewhat hard to find in print.
Other Koan Collections
Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues Shoyo Roku, Hung-chih Cheng-chüeh, Cleary, Thomas, trans., Shambhala, 1998
Cleary, Thomas, Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei, Shambhala, Boston & London. 2000
Cleary, Rational Zen; The Mind of Dogen Zenji, Shambhala, Boston & London. 1993
Cleary, No Barrier: Unlocking the Zen Koan, Aquarian/Thorsons, London. 1993
Heine, Steven, Dogen and the Koan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shobogenzo Texts, SUNY, Albany. 1994
Hori, Victor Sogen, Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, 2003
Miura, Isshu & Sasaki, Ruth Fuller, The Zen Koan: Its History and Use in Rinzai Zen, Harcourt Brace & Co., San Diego. 1965
Nishijima, Gudo, Master Dogen’s Shinji Shobogenzo: 301 Koan Stories, Michael Luetchford & Jeremy Pearson (eds), Windbell Publications, Woking. 2003
Nishijima, Gudo & Cross, Chodo, Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo, Book 1, Windbell Publications, Woking. 1994
O'Halloran, Maura, Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint
Sasaki, Ruth Fuller, A Man of Zen: The Recorded Sayings of Layman P'ang
by Jon Joseph Roshi Jon has allowed me to repost his commentary on the koan "Little Jade." I will attest that the monsoon has fin...
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