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Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry

Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry (New)

by Leighton, Taigen Dan

Publisher: Wisdom Publications

Binding: Paperback

Book ID: 9780861716456, 0861716450


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Zen is about questioning. Zen continuously questions. This does not necessarily involve finding answers, but finding a space in which to sustain questioning, being willing to remain present and upright in the middle of questions. And being able to do this enables live more flexibly, spaciously, and kindly with our not-knowing Of course at times insights and responses appear, sometimes more frequently as we settle into the open spaciousness of meditation. But if the answers are worthy they allow more questions, or help foster readiness for the new questions offered by the world, by life, and by ourselves.

Much of Zen lore consists of questioning of the venerable old masters by their students. Indeed, questioning creates genuine authority. This book begins by exploring, "The World of Zazen," deal with the essential physical practice of zazen, the foundational practice of the Zen school, and presents it as an attitude of sustained inquiry that offers us an entryway into true repose and joy. In the next two sections, the author draws deeply on his own experience as a Zen scholar and teacher, and the insights born of decades spent studying and translating the works of the peerless ancient Japanese Zen master Eihei to bring Dogen's poetic teachings richly to life.

Leighton honors and invites us into the creativity of Zen awareness and practice, and the fact that most Zen teaching is not discursive, but rather poetic and imaginative, deeply exploring the poetic mind of Dogen, as well as the poetry Rumi, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder and "the American Dharma Bard" Bob Dylan. What's more, Leighton uncovers surprising resonances between the writings of America's Founding Father's--including Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin--with the liberating ideals at the heart of Zen.

Also considered are the deep conflict between consumerism and Zen, and Buddhist teachings about temporality and environmental awareness that may be informative to contemporary problems of climate damage and energy systems, and the importance of the ancient Buddhist teaching of Right Livelihood to our current societal challenges.

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