The Flowing Bridge

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“Elaine MacInnes has given the world a great gift.”—Ruben L.F. Habito


Guidance on Beginning Zen Koans

Elaine MacInnes

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Koans—such as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”—have penetrated deeply into popular consciousness. Yet, those who encounter koans in the traditional literature or in the context of exploring Zen practice themselves can often find them utterly baffling.

The Flowing Bridge is the first-ever book to address all of the first koans that Zen students encounter in practice—“What is Mu?” ‘What is the sound of the single hand?” and the so-called “miscellaneous” koans—that have historically been closely guarded by master and disciple as esoteric treasures.

Elaine MacIness, a Catholic nun and a Zen teacher in the lineage of the renowned master Koun Yamada (author of Wisdom’s The Gateless Gate), offers exceptionally valuable guidance to beginners on how to work with koans-and reveals an uncommon depth of insight and an easy technical mastery of Zen’s most misunderstood and most powerful tools. This book is sure to become a classic, standing alongside The Gateless Gate and The Blue Cliff Record as a must-read for anyone seeking Zen’s subtlest teachings and deepest power.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 176 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $16.95
  • ISBN 9780861715459
about the author
The Flowing Bridge

Elaine MacInnes, a member of Our Lady’s Missionaries, studied koans with, and was authorized to teach by, the renowned Zen master Koun Yamada. She has established zendos in the Philippines and in Canada. She has served as the director of the Prison Phoenix Trust in England, and has placed meditation teachers in over 86 prisons, and she is also the founder of Freeing the Human Spirit, a Canadian charity that also teaches meditation to prisoners. In 2001, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. She lives in Toronto.

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