(P)1996 Audio Literature; ©1994 Thomas Cleary
The challenge of zen is to settle this matter of life and death for yourself in this moment. Any book that gives you mere philosophy, or dogma, should be immediately tossed away. Foyan points out the way directly; an indispensable guide.
This is the kind of dhamma talk that cuts through all the concepts we flap around to distract ourselves from seeing what's real, even if it hurts at first.
Great talk, great teacher. No apologies for slightly stilted language, it doesn't take anything away from this communication.
This is pure Zen philosophy without the ritual nonsense about tea ceremonies, mediation techniques and sitting positions. If you like Alan Watts, then you will love this book.
I go back to this audio book often and always it's fresh and insightful. The narration is great, the content ideally suited for an audio book. This is my favorite book on Zen, my favorite audiobook!
Amazing teacher! This is one of the BEST teachers I have heard.
Sadly, I feel there's a lot of false zen teachers in the west right now misguiding students.. Many of which hold tittles in various lineages, guiding students, running temples & zendo's.
This book has helped me in so may ways... for one, to see that I was not alone in what I have seen. Master Foyan cuts trough all the BS that was present in his time & is clearly the same situation in our modern era.. His "no apologies" style teachings call it as he sees it, hitting the mark right on the nose.. This book will help anyone who is interest in gaining the eyes to see which Teachers are full of BS & which are not, & help you gain the eyes to see true Dharma for yourself.
If this teacher was alive today, I wouldn't be writing this review because I'd be on my way to his monastery.
If you would rather stop being fooled by false teachers & wake up today, instead of sleeping on your cushion for another 10 years... then this is the book for you!
He even brings up some valid criticism of the "present moment" style teachers that interestingly enough seem to be on the rise again today.
May we each find our way*
This is not read by Thomas Cleary, the narrator did not bother to find out how to pronounce the names of the Chan masters quoted properly, making the listening quite awkward. The content, however, as all of Cleary's work, is excellent. Audible should present more from his Zen corpus (not just the 'Art of War' stuff).
Top notch as a guide to Zen if you're looking to find enlightenment. My first experience was in 1979 and was such an experience as one might think of happening only once in a lifetime. Previous to that experience, I was a listless spiritualist, more a scoffer than a believer. I wanted to know, more than to believe. My search for truth brought me to where I am today.
When the experience soon became relegated only to memory, I would yearn to have the experience again. Memory recall is definatively *not* the same as experience. I knew what was going on in my life at that time; I became very spiritual and open to possibilities "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (ZatAoMM) propelled my first unexpected life changing excursion, enlightenment.
Before that moment, I had no clue to what enlightenment is, and still find its an experience not easily described. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are a thousand pictures worth? What about a lifetime of memories? How does one explain a lifetime of experiences in one instant? Incredible, by definition, falls short of it.
As a newcomer to the concept, I fit completely the definition of one looking for Zen, seeking without seeking; and I never originally thought I might actually experience anything, let alone be able to re-experience anything like that moment...again. However, as life went on, I yearned for it.
I knew, I could never read ZatAoMM for the first time again, because what I sought for, I already knew and had. I knew life would never be the same, I was never the same; and I am what I've become because of it. But, knowing and experiencing, or experiencing again are two different things.
For one, no one would ever fake me out about enlightenment. I could spot a phony guru after a few seconds of hearing them speak. Yet I know I am no Zen master. I know the answers to koans; but, knowing the answer and mastering the incredible state of awareness once again are two different things. I knew I could no longer consider myself a seeker like before, I knew too much; and I understood the concept of seeking without seeking. I need no words, and there are no words to describe what I sought. But, I could not let go of trying, nor did I need to let go; and yet, what was I to do?
If you, reading this, know nothing about that which you would seek to know from Zen; I suggest ZatAoMM as your first book; but, read it as a good story, be curious to understand what the author is trying to say. Seek to understand.
If on the other hand, you already know that for which you are seeking, and know that in actively seeking you will never find that which you already know. This book will help you stop trying so you may find it once again! It will help you to understand the barriers you create inhibiting your own rediscovery.
This book is written on so many levels of understanding. I can only say that when you fully understand Master Foyan you will be there with him, until he can no longer push you away. Which he will playfully do. You will see him for the jokester he is, as he will toy with you, and take you there and yank it away until you are laughing with him, and recognize that he is as powerless to teach you, as you are to teach another.
If it was easy to teach, we would all know it. If it was easy to hold onto, we would all be there all the time and how could we get anything done; one must come back to now. And when you can do both you will no longer need to do either. I leave this section with my favorite koan.
Dwell not within the inner void; seek not the outer entanglements. Be content with the oneness of things and duality will vanish by itself.
In other words, less deep, do not look inward to yourself for answers, and do not look for the answers outside of yourself. When you are able to do both, you will content yourself with being that one that does both, and you will be whole.
Master Foyan... because he is truly a master!
They mean Mitchell Ryan who brings Master Foyan who speaks to you; and the master understands his own words like no other does, until you do too. Listen once, or listen a hundred times, koans are koans until they are no more than stories.Thomas Cleary's translation transcends the concept of translation. Master Foyan speaks to you as if his language is your own. No subtlety of language is lost, it's all here for the hearing.
It would be easier to bring a 949 year old Monk back to life, than to make this into a movie.
Stop trying to wake up. Master Foyan can't help you, if all you do is try. Until you wake up, you will not understand this book. Once you awake, what do you need from the master you don't already have? Ans: Practice
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