By J. C. Cleary
This e-book makes a speciality of the lessons of 13th-century chinese language Zen grasp Shiqui Xinyue. The koans, tales, and poems of the Zen grasp followed through explanatory notes from the editor contain the majority of the textual content, that's preceded by way of an inadequately short old evaluation of chinese language Buddhism. these looking extra entire details can be suggested towards Arthur F. Wright's Buddhism in chinese language background (Stanford Univ. Pr., 1971). additionally, the editor doesn't identify the explicit resource record for his translation, easily calling it a "collection of Zen teachings." even though, the 141 anecdotal teachings are in transparent, concise English and the explanatory notes aid with the paradoxical statements and allusions.
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Extra resources for A Tune Beyond the Clouds: Zen Teachings from Old China
One day when you are going through the clouds crossing a stream, as you lose your footing on level ground, the eye will open by itself. Only then can you probe the tiger’s lair on South Mountain, and pass through the dragon gate. First get a firm hold on [the dragon’s] throat, and do not let it turn to the side: only then can you pluck out the claws and teeth and play with the horns. Otherwise, as soon as you meet the [dragon’sJ mouth, you’ll lose your life totally. In that case, though [grappling with the dragon of reality] is called a good cause, it brings about a bad result.
Rather, it is a means for those with direct experience of truth to communicate truth to those who have not yet known it in its totality. It is meant to provide a conceptual map for those still in the meshes of conditioned consciousness to enable them to see the way out of their dilemma. Those who study Zen will be able to interpret Zen metaphors and comprehend Zen practices more accurately by locating them within the Yogacara analysis of consciousness and its transformation into wisdom. The Yogacara teachers and the Zen adepts have left us with a detailed map of the journey from the human mind to the Buddha-Mind: it is still up to us to make the trip.
Those who studied Zen and the scriptures couid not be trusted to say the safe thing, and the government wanted the common people insulated from unpredictable teachings. As we have noted, the stringent early Ming regulations on Buddhist temples and clergy were probably never enforced consistently on a wide scale. The Buddhist laiety in general did not want Buddhism curbed, and there were enough influential patrons in a position to shelter Buddhist clergy and temples from the force of the law. Even more important in keeping the Buddhist Teaching free, its adept teachers had the insight to adapt their activities to all sorts of circumstances.