A Tune Beyond the Clouds: Zen Teachings from Old China by J. C. Cleary

By J. C. Cleary

This booklet specializes in the lessons of 13th-century chinese language Zen grasp Shiqui Xinyue. The koans, tales, and poems of the Zen grasp observed through explanatory notes from the editor include the majority of the textual content, that is preceded via an inadequately short historic assessment of chinese language Buddhism. these looking extra accomplished info can be urged towards Arthur F. Wright's Buddhism in chinese language background (Stanford Univ. Pr., 1971). additionally, the editor doesn't identify the explicit resource record for his translation, easily calling it a "collection of Zen teachings." even if, the 141 anecdotal teachings are in transparent, concise English and the explanatory notes support with the paradoxical statements and allusions.

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Extra resources for A Tune Beyond the Clouds: Zen Teachings from Old China

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Even the local deities of the folk religion would often be coopted into the imperial pantheon, once their worship had become widespread enough. There were a few episodes of religious persecution in Chinese history, but these were spasmodic purges aimed at institutions, more than at the believers themselves, and were generally short-lived and quickly undone. In the main, the limitations on religious freedom in Old China derived from the demands of the tightly knit social structure itself. The principal issue was to what extent people could be allowed to opt out of their social obligations in order to follow religious pursuits.

Buddhist philo­ sophy is not an attem pt to arrive at truth by a process of analytical categories and reasoning. Rather, it is a means for those with direct experience of truth to communicate truth to those who have not yet known it in its totality. It is meant to provide a conceptual map for those still in the meshes of conditioned consciousness to enable them to see the way out of their dilemma. Those who study Zen will be able to interpret Zen metaphors and comprehend Zen practices more accurately by locating them within the Yogacara analysis of consciousness and its transformation into wisdom.

They were not bound by limited, limiting views: vis-a-vis secular society and culture, they were on the outside looking in. They knew how to work around as well as within social conventions. They were the consummate experts in circumventing the barriers that blocked people off from the Buddhist message. These were not only, not even mainly, the barriers of law and custom, government interference and uninformed public opinion. The greater challenge, and the more subtle achievement, was for the Buddhist teachers to pierce the barriers presented by the commonsense certainties of the unenlightened that 22 A Tune Beyond the Clouds their conditioned-in views and deluded perceptions constituted an accurate picture of reality.

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