From Library Journal
The two most important collections of Zen koans are the Blue Cliff Record and this collection, known also as the Gateless Gate, prepared by the Chinese Zen master Mumon Ekai (the Japanese form of his name) and published in A.D. 1229. It is composed of 48 koans followed by Mumon's commentary and a verse by him as an additional form of commentary. Low, director and teacher at the Montreal Zen Center, has provided a modern translation of the koans and the commentary and verse of Mumon, and has added his own insightful commentary; modern readers are thus given a wealth of further Zen thought. He has also written an insightful introduction to koans, helping readers understand what koans are and are not, how they should be experienced, and how they function in Zen Buddhism. The appendixes include excerpts from the Diamond Sutra and the Heart of Perfect Wisdom (other important Buddhist texts) to provide background to the koans. Highly recommended for any library needing a modern translation of and commentary on this foundational Zen text.?David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
It goes without saying that this is not the last word on Zen or the first. But it is
an engaging collection of commentaries, complete with cracks through which truth slips as truth slips through koans (paradoxes to be meditated on) themselves. These commentaries are not answers, because koans are not questions; nor are they solutions, because koans are not riddles. They are perceptions, and for careful readers they may be windows. The book consists of a translation of each koan in the Mumonkan, the most widely used collection of koans in Zen practice, followed by the brief comments and verses of the compiler of the collection, the Zen master Mumon (A.D.1183^-1260), and Low's commentaries. Low, who is the director of the Montreal Zen Center, has written the commentaries "with an eye to practice, to helping people find a toe-hold on the sheer face of the koans and so be able to begin the work of finding their way to the summit to which all koans lead." Along with the commentaries, there is a concise introduction to koans, excerpts from two important Buddhist texts that provide some background for the koans, and a brief account of the author's own awakening, an example of what it means to work on the first koan in the collection. Steve Schroeder