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Straight to the Heart of Zen: Eleven Classic…

Straight to the Heart of Zen: Eleven Classic Koans and Their Innner…

by Philip Kapleau

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 157062593X, Paperback)

One of the greatest aids to spiritual advancement was invented in China over a thousand years ago. We know it by its Japanese name, the koan, which Zen master Philip Kapleau describes as a direct and profound presentation of the truth. Koans, by design, are difficult to understand but can afford giant leaps toward enlightenment. As such, they are best taken one at a time and in limited quantity, which is how Kapleau presents them in Straight to the Heart of Zen. Each of the 11 chapters concerns a single koan. We learn about the background of the characters in the koan, and why they speak and respond the way they do. We also learn other relevant details that are sorely lacking in the original, pithy accounts but that were assumed to be common knowledge by the original authors. Although koans are traditionally used by monks, Kapleau selects his for lay practitioners. In addition to offering historical background, Kapleau draws on his own spiritual insight to help the reader penetrate the koan, which makes Straight to the Heart of Zen a clear choice for advanced students. --Brian Bruya

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:36 -0400)

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