Three Chan Classics
- About the Book
This volume includes The Recorded Sayings of Linji, Wumen’s Gate, and The Faith-Mind Maxim.
The Recorded Sayings of Linji is one of the seminal books of Zen. The great Zen teacher Linji lived and worked in ninth century China, but his teachings continued to guide and influence people for centuries afterward, and he was considered the grand ancestor of major streams of Zen in China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. The direct, incisive teachings preserved in his recorded sayings have shown a perennial power to challenge and stimulate would-be seekers of the truth. He strips away the supernatural aura of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and refers the symbolism of the Buddhist scriptures to human processes, to actual and potential psychological transformations involving individuals and social groups. He analyzes the relationship of language to reality and conditioning to perception and motivation in ways that both prefigure and surpass “modern” discussions on these points. Whether or not they are already familiar with Zen Buddhism, modern readers can read Linji's sayings as a direct demonstration of its viewpoint and call.
Wu Men's Gate is a classic collection of forty-eight Zen “public cases” accompanied by comments and verses, presented as teaching materials within the Zen tradition. Zen students would focus their attention on these cases and meditate via their intricate patterns of meaning. By interrupting and reshaping patterns of thought, these classic Zen cases were intended as tools to refine minds and open them to wider perspectives on reality.
The Faith-Mind Maxim is a short, 36 stanza poem written by Seng-can. It encompasses the thought of Early Buddhism and later developments such as the Voidness School, the representation-only School, and the Flower Garland School. It expressly extols the essence of the Mahayana and, above all, the One Vehicle ideal. It clarifies unique Zen attitudes, such as not depending on words by being beyond all discriminations and conventions, directly pointing to the mind (i.e. the One Mind), seeing one's own nature by returning to the root, and becoming a Buddha.
The Faith-Mind Maximmay be regarded as the first revolutionary work in the Zen tradition or in Chinese Buddhism.
- About the Author(s)
J. C. Cleary, Translator
Yoshida Osamu, Translator