Introduction to Zen Koans: Learning the Language of Dragons by Ford, James Ishmael

Introduction to Zen Koans: Learning the Language of Dragons

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An indispensable guide to koans, teaching the reader about the importance of lineage, the practice of "just sitting," and koan practice as paths to awakening.

"This marvelous book opens the treasure house of Zen and yet, happily, does not dispel its mystery. James Ford, an excellent storyteller and longtime Zen practitioner, presents a detailed and beautiful description of the craft of zazen, including "just sitting" and various forms of breath meditation--but focuses primarily on koan introspection.

The power of koans, these 'public cases' from China, has never ceased to enrich my own experience of Zen. They are a medium of exploration of the history, culture, and view of Zen, but most importantly are a medium of awakening.

James Ford is fundamentally a koan person, and for this, the book is particularly rich, opening the practice of koans in a splendid way. I am grateful for his long experience as a teacher and practitioner of this rare and powerful practice. Since the word koan has found its way into popular English usage, I am grateful too for the more nuanced and fertile view of koans that Ford presents. His definition of the word is telling: "a koan points to something of deep importance, and invites us to stand in that place."

He has also has created a wonderful translation of the Heart Sutra, Zen's central scripture--and carefully opens up the heart of the Heart Sutra through scholarship and practice. Rich in textual sources and woven throughout with the perspectives of contemporary teachers, Introduction to Zen Koans sheds new light on ancient teachings. Through it, the reader will discover the importance of lineage, the traceless traces of the Zen ancestors, and the places of "just sitting" and koan practice as paths to awakening, as the great doorways into Zen."
--from the foreword by Joan Halifax

Author: James Ishmael Ford
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Published: 06/05/2018
Pages: 264
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.50lbs
Size: 7.00h x 5.00w x 0.90d
ISBN13: 9781614292951
ISBN10: 1614292957
BISAC Categories:
- Religion | Buddhism | Zen (see also Philosophy | Zen)
- Philosophy | Zen
- Religion | Buddhism | Rituals & Practice

About the Author
James Ishmael Ford, Roshi has been a Zen practitioner for nearly fifty years. He is both ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and as a koan teacher in the Harada Yasutani tradition. He served on the membership committee of the American Zen Teachers Association for ten years, and a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Soto Zen Buddhist Assocition. James is the senior member of the guiding teachers council of the Boundless Way Zen network, and resident priest and teacher at the Blue Cliff Zen Sangha in Long Beach, and Costa Mesa, California.

He is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. He is minister-emeritus of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, in Rhode Island. And is currently affiliated as a community minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, in California.

He is the author or editor of five books, mostly addressing aspects of Zen history and practice, as well as articles for Buddhadharma, Lion's Roar, Tricycle, and the Unitarian Universalist World. He blogs as Monkey Mind, which is hosted by the religion portal Patheos. He lives with his spouse Jan Seymour-Ford in Long Beach, California.