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Opening a Mountain : Koans of the Zen Masters - Steven Heine

Opening a Mountain

Koans of the Zen Masters

Paperback

Published: 1st April 2004
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With the growing popularity of Zen Buddhism in the West, virtually everyone knows, or thinks they know, what a koan is: a brief and baffling question or statement that cannot be solved by the logical mind and which, after sustained concentration, can lead to sudden enlightenment. But the truth about koans is both simpler--and more complicated--than this.
In Opening a Mountain, Steven Heine shows that koans, and the questions we associate with them--such as "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"--are embedded in larger narratives and belong to an ancient Buddhist tradition of "encounter dialogues." These dialogues feature dramatic and often inscrutable contests between masters and disciples, or between masters and an array of natural and supernatural forces: rouge priests, "wild foxes," hermits, wizards, shapeshifters, magical animals, and dangerous women. To establish a new monastery, "to open a mountain," the Zen master had to tame these wild forces in regions most remote from civilization. In these extraordinary encounters, fingers and arms are cut off, pitchers are kicked over, masters appear in and interpret each other's dreams, and seemingly absurd statements are shown to reveal the deepest insights. Heine restores these koans to their original traditions, allowing readers to see both the complex elements of Chinese culture and religion that they reflect and the role they played in Zen's transformation of local superstitions into its own teachings.
Offering a fresh approach to one of the most crucial elements of Zen Buddhism, Opening a Mountain is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the full story behind koans and the mysterious worlds they come from.

"This is an innovative reading and presentation of Zen literature. It breaks new ground in the study of Zen and in the interpretation of k=oan literature, setting a standard for these in terms of scholarly rigor and broad accessibility that is truly impressive. Opening a Mountain will encourage us to read k=oans in much more articulate literary, sociological, and historical setting than we have previously managed. This is an excellent book." --Philosophy East & West "This is an innovative reading and presentation of Zen literature. It breaks new ground in the study of Zen and in the interpretation of koan literature, setting a standard for these in terms of scholarly rigor and broad accessibility that is truly impressive. Opening a Mountain will encourage us to read koans in a much more articulate literary, sociological, and historical setting than we have previously managed. This is an excellent book."--H-Net "Erudite and well-researched.... Religious scholar and historian Heine is well-qualified to guide an exploration of the contexts from which various koans have emerged. The book is fascinating."--NAPRA Review "A respectful and respectable contribution to the growing body of contemporary Buddhist studies at a time when Buddhism is establishing a vital presence in the American religious landscape."--Publishers Weekly "Heine is an accomplished, deft writer.... For those intrigued with koans, the enigmatic teachings of Zen Buddhism, this text offers translations of and critical commentary on sixty of these always lively, often maddening, anecdotes."--The Asian Reporter "An important step towards reading the Zen records more within the context of the broader cultural environment that generated them." --Japanese Religions "...Heine occupies a unique position as an original thinker and synthesizer"--Jimmy Yu,Florida State University "...this and other passages present Heine almost as a Zen masters."--Jimmy Yu, Florida State University

Sourcesp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Introduction: What Are Koans?p. 1
Sticks and Stones, but It's No-Names That Hurtp. 1
On the Conventional Understanding of Koansp. 4
Marvelous and Ritual Elements in Koansp. 5
The Case of Chu-chih Cutting Off a Fingerp. 9
The Mythological Background of Koan Literaturep. 13
Zen Masters and Their Mountainsp. 20
Koan Themes and Sourcesp. 25
Themesp. 26
Sourcesp. 28
On Reading Koansp. 30
Surveying Mountain Landscapesp. 37
Northern and Ox Head Schoolsp. 39
Yuan-kuei Subdues the Mountain Godp. 39
Tao-shu and the Tricksterp. 41
Master Chiang-mo, Subjugator of Demonsp. 42
Does Niu-t'ou Need the Flowers?p. 44
Southern Schoolp. 46
Pai-chang Meditates On Ta-hsiung Peakp. 46
Kuei-shan Kicks Over the Water Pitcherp. 48
Te-shan Carrying His Bundlep. 51
Nan-ch'uan Sweeping On a Mountainp. 55
Hsuan-sha's "One Luminous Pearl"p. 57
Tung-shan's Mountainp. 58
Tung-shan's "Two Clay Oxen Enter the Sea"p. 58
Yun-yen's "Non-Sentient Beings Can Hear It"p. 60
Yun-chu Wandering the Mountainsp. 62
Mount Wu-t'aip. 64
"Iron Grindstone" Liu Goes to Mount Wu-t'aip. 64
Manjusri's "Three by Three"p. 66
Pi-mo's "You Shall Die from My Pitchfork"p. 70
Contesting with Irregular Rivalsp. 73
Hermits, Wizards, and Other Mastersp. 75
P'u-hua Kicks Over the Dining Tablep. 75
The Tripitaka Monk Claims to Read Others' Mindsp. 77
A Hermit's "The Mountain Torrent Runs Deep, So the Ladle Is Long"p. 80
Chao-chou Checks Out Two Hermitsp. 82
Hsueh-feng's "What Is This?"p. 84
Jui-yen Calls Out to Himself, "Master"p. 87
Ti-tsang Planting the Fieldsp. 89
Dangerous Women: Zen "Grannies" and Nunsp. 91
Chao-chou Checks Out an Old Womanp. 91
Te-shan and the Woman Selling Rice Cakesp. 94
Mo-shan Opens Her Mouthp. 96
Chao-chou Recites the Sutrasp. 98
Encountering Supernatural Forcesp. 101
Trance, Visions, and Dreamsp. 103
A Woman Comes Out of Absorptionp. 103
Huang-po's "Gobblers of Dregs"p. 106
Sermon from the Third Seatp. 109
Kuei-shan Turns His Face to the Wallp. 111
Spirits, Gods, and Bodhisattvasp. 114
P'u-chi Subdues the Hearth Godp. 114
Nan-ch'uan Is Greeted by the Earth-Deityp. 116
The Tea Ceremony at Chao-ch'ingp. 118
Hu-kuo's Three Embarrassmentsp. 121
Yun-chu and the Spiritsp. 123
The World Honored One Ascends the High Seatp. 125
Magical Animalsp. 127
A Snake Appears in the Relic Boxp. 127
Pai-chang and the Wild Foxp. 129
Ta-kuang Does a Dancep. 133
Hsueh-feng and the Turtle-Nosed Snakep. 136
Wielding Symbols of Authority and Transmissionp. 141
Symbols of Authorityp. 143
Chih-men's "I Have This Power"p. 143
Yun-men's Staff Changes into a Dragonp. 145
Kan-feng's Single Routep. 147
The Hermit of Lotus Flower Peak Holds Up His Staffp. 150
Ch'ing-yuan Raises His Fly-Whiskp. 153
Transmission Symbolsp. 156
Hui-neng's Immovable Robep. 156
Tung-shan Makes Offerings Before the Imagep. 159
Prime Minister P'ei-hsiu Replies, "Yes"p. 161
Yang-shan's "Just About Enough"p. 164
Confessional Experiences: Giving Life and Controlling Deathp. 169
Repentance and Self-Mutilationp. 171
Chih-yen Converts a Hunterp. 171
Chu-chih's One Finger Zenp. 173
Nalakuvara Broke His Bones and Tore His Fleshp. 176
Bodhidharma Pacifies the Mindp. 177
Hui-k'o Absolves Sinp. 180
Dogen Disciplines Monk Gemmyop. 182
Death, Relics, and Ghostsp. 184
A Woman's True Soul?p. 184
P'u-hua Passes Awayp. 187
Jiu-feng Does Not Concurp. 189
A Hermit Seeks to be Savedp. 192
Tao-wu Makes a Condolence Callp. 193
Zen Figures Citedp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195174342
ISBN-10: 0195174348
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 200
Published: 1st April 2004
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.66 x 14.78  x 1.63
Weight (kg): 0.32