on September 25, 2000
I began reading this book as a vehicle toward understanding the history of Zen. As the pages slowly passed, so did my perception of what it means to be a student of the way.
Zen study is a study of the present moment, nothing more. While reading The New Zen Reader, I was constantly faced with the reality that there is truely no way. Through the ever changing ways of being presented by the relationships these teachers, hermits, polititions, poets, warriors and monks shared with the divine, it is clear that there is truely no formula or method to the madness of Zen.
The beauty of this book is that it provides a silent retreat in the shade of the Zen tree of ancestors. Filled with love and pain, it represents all the flavors of our ever changing world in the timeless dance we humans share with the process of search and discovery.
Metaphor abounds in the words of these diverse teachers, and surprise lurks with ever turning of the page, as noone can know what will arise from the relationship these individuals nurtured with truth.
I encourage the reader to take this one slow. One word at a time. Think back to the time of each writing and enjoy the complexity of human experience and relationship. Here is an opportunity to see some of the unfolding of the great mystery, at the hands of a few committed to full expression in the moment. And remember, sometimes not knowing is most intimate.
on June 12, 1999
Stories about zen masters and anecdotals are all very well. However, a view of their original work is needed to provide a well-rounded view of Zen. After searching for a simple book which did not dwell on the esoteric nor the speculative, I find this book very refreshing. Read the works expecting nothing, and their very meaning will jump out and hit you with the power of their simplicity and frankness. At a time when Zen has assumed such a complicated personna, and people are inundated with terminology which drives them away from such a great practice, this book comes across as a place where one can lay down under the shade of a big friendly tree,take the shoes off and wonder at the simple wisdom of the masters.