Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings

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9780140192674: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings

Zen Buddhism conveys its profound truths through epigrams, parable and brief enigmatic and often amusing stories of the masters. In addition to 101 Zen Stories, this volume contains The Gateless Gate, a collection of koans or puzzles and 10 Bulls, an illustrated account of a bull-hunt.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Paul Reps was the author of several books of poems and prose inspired by Zen, including "Zen Telegrams,"
Nyogen Senzaki, an internationally renowned Buddhist scholar, was a homeless monk, studying and wandering the land from monastery to monastery. His wandering eventually brought him to the United States, where he lived for over 50 years.


Peter Coyote's feature film credits include E.T., Jagged Edge, Buffalo Girls, and Outrageous Fortune. On stage, he appeared in the world premiere of True West. He also appears on the BDD Audio productions of Gary Paulsen's The River and Canyons.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

37. Publishing the Sutras

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the Sutras, which at that time were only available in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.

Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.

It happened that at the time the Uji River overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save the others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.

Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected, to help his people.

For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing block which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.

The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.

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