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As a religion concerned with universal liberation, Zen grew out of a Buddhist worldview very different from the currently prevalent scientific materialism. Indeed, says Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, dynamic agent of awareness and healing. In this book, Leighton explicates that worldview through the writings of the Zen master Eihei D?gen (1200-1253), considered the founder of the Japanese S?t? Zen tradition, which currently enjoys increasing popularity in the West. The Lotus Sutra, arguably the most important Buddhist scripture in East Asia, contains a famous story about bodhisattvas (enlightening beings) who emerge from under the earth to preserve and expound the Lotus teaching in the distant future. The story reveals that the Buddha only appears to pass away, but actually has been practicing, and will continue to do so, over an inconceivably long life span. Leighton traces commentaries on the Lotus Sutra from a range of key East Asian Buddhist thinkers, including Daosheng, Zhiyi, Zhanran, Saigyo, My?e, Nichiren, Hakuin, and Ry?kan. But his main focus is Eihei D?gen, the 13th century Japanese S?t? Zen founder who imported Zen from China, and whose profuse, provocative, and poetic writings are important to the modern expansion of Buddhism to the West. D?gen's use of this sutra expresses the critical role of Mahayana vision and imagination as the context of Zen teaching, and his interpretations of this story furthermore reveal his dynamic worldview of the earth, space, and time themselves as vital agents of spiritual awakening. Leighton argues that D?gen uses the images and metaphors in this story to express his own religious worldview, in which earth, space, and time are lively agents in the bodhisattva project. Broader awareness of D?gen's worldview and its implications, says Leighton, can illuminate the possibilities for contemporary approaches to primary Mahayana concepts and practices.
As a religion concerned with universal liberation, Zen grew out of a Buddhist worldview very different from the currently prevalent scientific materialism. Indeed, says Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, dynamic agent of awareness and healing. In this book, Leighton explicates that worldview through the writings of the Zen master Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), considered the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, which currently enjoys increasing popularity in the West.The Lotus Sutra, arguably the most important Buddhist scripture in East Asia, contains a famous story about bodhisattvas (enlightening beings) who emerge from under the earth to preserve and expound the Lotus teaching in the distant future. The story reveals that the Buddha only appears to pass away, but actually has been practicing, and will continue to do so, over an inconceivably long life span.Leighton traces commentaries on the Lotus Sutra from a range of key East Asian Buddhist thinkers, including Daosheng, Zhiyi, Zhanran, Saigyo, Myoe, Nichiren, Hakuin, and Ryokan. But his main focus is Eihei Dogen, the 13th century Japanese Soto Zen founder who imported Zen from China, and whose profuse, provocative, and poetic writings are important to the modern expansion of Buddhism to the West.Dogen's use of this sutra expresses the critical role of Mahayana vision and imagination as the context of Zen teaching, and his interpretations of this story furthermore reveal his dynamic worldview of the earth, space, and time themselves as vital agents of spiritual awakening.Leighton argues that Dogen uses the images and metaphors in this story to express his own religious worldview, in which earth, space, and time are lively agents in the bodhisattva project. Broader awareness of Dogen's worldview and its implications, says Leighton, can illuminate the possibilities for contemporary approaches to primary Mahayana concepts and practices.
As a religion concerned with universal liberation, Zen grew out of a Buddhist worldview very different from the currently prevalent scientific materialism. Indeed, says Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, dynamic agent of awareness and healing. In this book, Leighton explicates that worldview through the writings of the Zen master Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), considered the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, which currently enjoys increasing popularity in the West. The Lotus Sutra, arguably the most important Buddhist scripture in East Asia, contains a famous story about bodhisattvas (enlightening beings) who emerge from under the earth to preserve and expound the Lotus teaching in the distant future. The story reveals that the Buddha only appears to pass away, but actually has been practicing, and will continue to do so, over an inconceivably long life span. Leighton traces commentaries on the Lotus Sutra from a range of key East Asian Buddhist thinkers, including Daosheng, Zhiyi, Zhanran, Saigyo, Myoe, Nichiren, Hakuin, and Ryokan. But his main focus is Eihei Dogen, the 13th century Japanese Soto Zen founder who imported Zen from China, and whose profuse, provocative, and poetic writings are important to the modern expansion of Buddhism to the West. Dogen's use of this sutra expresses the critical role of Mahayana vision and imagination as the context of Zen teaching, and his interpretations of this story furthermore reveal his dynamic worldview of the earth, space, and time themselves as vital agents of spiritual awakening. Leighton argues that Dogen uses the images and metaphors in this story to express his own religious worldview, in which earth, space, and time are lively agents in the bodhisattva project. Broader awareness of Dogen's worldview and its implications, says Leighton, can illuminate the possibilities for contemporary approaches to primary Mahayana concepts and practices.
The Lotus Sutra is regarded as one of the world's great religious scriptures and most influential texts. It's a seminal work in the development of Buddhism throughout East Asia and, by extension, in the development of Mahayana Buddhism throughout the world. Taking place in a vast and fantastical cosmic setting, the Lotus Sutra places emphasis on skillfully doing whatever is needed to serve and compassionately care for others, on breaking down distinctions between the fully enlightened buddha and the bodhisattva who vows to postpone salvation until all beings may share it, and especially on each and every being's innate capacity to become a buddha. Gene Reeves's new translation appeals to readers with little or no familiarity with technical Buddhist vocabulary, as well as long-time practitioners and students. In addition, this remarkable volume includes the full "threefold" text of this classic.
Whether speaking of student or master, Zen hinges on the question. Zen practice does not necessarily focus on the answers, but on finding a space in which we may sustain uncertainty and remain present and upright in the middle of investigations. Zen Questions begins by exploring "The World of Zazen,"--the foundational practice of the Zen school--presenting it as an attitude of sustained inquiry that offers us an entryway into true repose and joy. From there, Leighton draws deeply on his own experience as a Zen scholar and teacher to invite us into the creativity of Zen awareness and practice. He explores the poetic mind of Dogen with the poetry of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and even "the American Dharma Bard" Bob Dylan. What's more, Leighton uncovers surprising resonances between the writings of America's Founding Fathers--including Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin--and the liberating ideals at the heart of Zen.
Meditation is made easy in this celebration of a basic meditative art that reaches deep into Chinese and Japanese Buddhism for guidance on how to turn the act of simply sitting into a deeply spiritual act. Original.

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