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Zen Sand

The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice

Victor Sogen Hori

Publication Year: 2003

Zen Sand is a classic collection of verses aimed at aiding practitioners of kôan meditation to negotiate the difficult relationship between insight and language. As such it represents a major contribution to both Western Zen practice and English-language Zen scholarship. In Japan the traditional Rinzai Zen kôan curriculum includes the use of jakugo, or "capping phrases." Once a monk has successfully replied to a kôan, the Zen master orders the search for a classical verse to express the monk’s insight into the kôan. Special collections of these jakugo were compiled as handbooks to aid in that search. Until now, Zen students in the West, lacking this important resource, have been severely limited in carrying out this practice. Zen Sand combines and translates two standard jakugo handbooks and opens the way for incorporating this important tradition fully into Western Zen practice. For the scholar, Zen Sand provides a detailed description of the jakugo practice and its place in the overall kôan curriculum, as well as a brief history of the Zen phrase book. This volume also contributes to the understanding of East Asian culture in a broader sense.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

The size of the present volume rather obscures the purpose of the original Zen phrase books on which it is based. They were hand-written notebooks small enough for monks to carry around in the vest of their kimono...

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Introduction: Capping-Phrase Practice in Japanese Rinzai Zen

Rinzai kõan practice, as it is presently conducted in the Rinzai monasteries of Japan, involves an element of literary study. Zen monks all have books. They need them to support their kõan practice, and the further they progress, the more their practice involves the study of texts and the writing of words. The Zen school, however, describes itself as “not founded on words and letters, a separate tradition outside scripture.” Much of traditional Zen literature...

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1. The Nature of the Rinzai Kōan Practice

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pp. 5-15

D. T. Suzuki’s early works (notably his Essays in Zen Buddhism Second Series, 1953) and Miura and Sasaki’s Zen Dust (1966) were for a very long time the only major resources available in non-Asian languages for research into the Zen kõan. In recent years, however, a rich bounty of material has appeared. At the level of basic texts, in addition to a steady stream of translations of the traditional “recorded sayings” of the Zen masters from which...

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2. The Steps of Kōan Practice

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pp. 16-29

In this chapter, we will consider the stages involved in k

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3. Literary Study in Kōan Practice

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pp. 30-40

K

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4. The Kōan and the Chinese Literary Game

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pp. 41-62

Among Buddhist meditation practices, meditation on the Zen kõan is surely one of the more unusual forms. Why did Buddhist meditation practice in Ch’an/Zen take the form of kõan training? And where did the kõan come from? Are there more primitive forms out of which the kõan evolved? This chapter conducts a short investigation into these questions to establish, ³rst, that kõan training has many features in common with other Chinese...

5. The History of Zen Phrase Books

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pp. 62-90

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6. Guide to Conventions and Abbreviations

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pp. 91-98

Zen Sand (ZS) combines the entire contents of Shibayama Zenkei’s Zenrin kushð (Shiba) and Tsuchiya Etsudõ’s Shinsan zengoshð (ZGS), the two capping-phrase books most frequently used by Rinzai Zen monks. In general, ZS follows the same order of phrases as ZGS, namely, the Japanese kana order (a-i-u-e-o) based on the first syllable of the Japanese...

Phrases

Four-Character Phrases

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pp. 101-178

Five-Character Phrases

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pp. 179-224

Six-Character Phrases

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pp. 225-257

Seven-Character Phrases

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pp. 258-327

Eight-Character Phrases

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pp. 313-364

Nine-Character Phrases

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pp. 365-368

Ten-Character Phrases

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pp. 369-454

Eleven-Character Phrases

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pp. 455-457

Twelve-Character Verses

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pp. 458-481

Thirteen-Character Phrases

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pp. 482-483

Fourteen-Character Verses

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pp. 484-596

Fifteen-Character Phrases

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pp. 597-598

Sixteen-Character Phrases

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pp. 599-609

Seventeen-Character Phrases

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pp. 610-612

Eighteen-Character Phrases

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pp. 613-615

Nineteen-Character Phrases

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pp. 616-617

Twenty-Character Phrases

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pp. 618-621

Twenty-One-and-More Character Phrases

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pp. 622-636

Glossary

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pp. 637-730

Bibliography

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pp. 731-748

Index

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pp. 749-764


E-ISBN-13: 9780824865672
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824822842

Publication Year: 2003

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Subject Headings

  • Koan.
  • Spiritual life -- Rinzai (Sect).
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