This is a complete explanation of Zen practice written by one of the most eminent masters of pre-modern Japan. The author, Torei Enji (1721–1792), was best known as one of two “genius assistants” to Hakuin Ekaku, who was himself a towering figure in Zen Buddhism who revitalized the Rinzai school. Torei was responsible for much of the advanced work of Hakuin’s later disciples and also helped systemize Hakuin’s teachings. The Undying Lamp of Zen includes a range of principles and practices, from the most elementary to the most advanced. It is an indispensable aid to the practice of Rinzai Zen, and provides an accessible entrée to the Zen experience in general. Torei is a compelling guide; his tone is energetic, no-nonsense, and full of personality.
Premier translator Thomas Cleary provides a thorough introduction and illuminating footnotes throughout, and his masterful translation allows Torei’s distinctive voice to shine through.
First Edition first Printing
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This essay describes the importance of true Zen practice and contrasts it with false teachings and perspectives that actually hamper the progress of students. It was written by a teacher who lamented the decline of Zen in his time (the 18th century), and who was attempting to spur on the efforts of his contemporaries to practice diligently and in accordance with what had actually been intended by his lineage. Torei urges students to continue on ever deeper in their practice, even after "seeing nature", never stopping their progress toward the ultimate realization of the Buddhas. Without being elitist, Torei makes it clear that there are false paths and false teachers, and that following these can have disastrous consequences. Torei thought he was dying when he produced this work, and that may have influenced the tenor of it. However, he was careful to have his teacher, the renowned Hakuin, read it before he allowed it to be seen by a more general audience. Hakuin commented that it...
Although less well-known than his teacher Hakuin, Torei was an outstanding Zen master who helped to carry forward the Hakuin tradition in Japan; he was also a fascinating artist in both painting and calligraphy
This work energized my practice back when I was still practising Zen (I've since departed to another sect of Buddhism). - It's clear, concise, and contains guidelines.
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