Book Reviews

A great book. My favorite Buddhist book. Pure Wisdom

Instant Zen:Waking Up in the Present.
I am a Buddhist, have studied formally in all three main branches of Buddhism and was a monk during the most intense part of my study. I own hundreds of Buddhist texts, and if I could only own one book, this would be it. This is absolutely the clearest expression of Enlightenment (living fully, consciously in the moment) that I've encountered. Foyan is wonderously illuminating, avoids reliance on koans and historical cases (has a few references to them), and instead, simply expresses Realization on his own, directly, brilliantly, in every sentence of this book. A previous reviewer wrote (in his excellent review) "Logical contradictions are purposely employed to get you to see something beyond logic", while there are a few statements like that, that is a slight misunderstanding of why most of the apparently "contadictions" are there (with due respects to the reviewer, no insult is intended). Instead these "contradictions" are direct expressions of the Truth of Reality, and that requires 1) that you see directly and don't confuse the labels for the reality itself and 2) that everything be seen simultaneously from both sides (the relative or functional view and the absolute). So a statement such as "you must have nonseeing right in seeing" or
"all that is necessary is that there is no hearer or heard when you hear" is presenting both sides, not negating one with the other. However, there are statements such as "the ancients told you.. all sounds are Buddha's voice... You have misunderstood, supposing that all sounds are actually the voice of Buddha" that appears to be a contradiction, but again this is pointing out (POINTING not explaining) the difference between the understanding and the perception of that truth. I've said much too much, the Zen Master would be beating me over the head with the stick by now. You will enjoy this book, and you will hear the voice of Wisdom speaking across 9 centuries of time, if you get this book, you'll need no others, and eventually you can give this one away. My Highest recommendation.

Paperback: 137 pages
Publisher: North Atlantic Books

Another great book. My favorite Buddhist book (another). Pure Wisdom

INSIGHT.GIF (5627 bytes)The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind
by Huang Po, John Blofeld (translator)
Paperback, 179 pages
Published by Grove Press; (August 1959)
Publication date: October 1994

ISBN: 0802150926

Astounding clarity of expressing  the "unsayable", Huang Po's  masterful, clear, accessible expression of Enlightenment is essential. This is absolutely the clearest expression of Enlightenment I've encountered.


Also recommended:

VIPASANNA.GIF (5374 bytes)Mindfulness in Plain English by Venerable Henepola Gunaratana

List: $12.95
Paperback, 191 page
Published by Wisdom Publications
Publication date: February 1993
ISBN: 0861710649
This is an excellent introduction to meditation. My first recommendation.