Mind Sky

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“This is a wise and beautiful book of heart teachings by a great Soto Zen teacher, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, who shows the way to open infinite Dharma doors through Zen practice.”—Roshi Joan Halifax, abbot, Upaya Zen Center, author of Standing at the Edge and Being with Dying

“How wonderful that in these pages Jakusho Kwong-roshi shares the wisdom of a lifetime dedicated to Zen practice! This is a Dharma feast for us all to partake of. It seems that the essential Soto Zen practice is analogous to aspects of Mahamudra, pointing to the similarity in the Buddhist approach to understanding the mind. We welcome this clear instruction lighting the way to direct realization of the nature of the mind.”—Ven. Tenzin Palmo, author of Into the Heart of Life and Reflections on a Mountain Lake


Zen Teaching on Living and Dying

Jakusho Kwong Shohaku Okumura Sally Scoville

“In Zen meditation, anything that comes in your mind will eventually leave, because nothing is permanent. A thought is like a cloud moving across the blue sky. Nothing can disturb that all-encompassing vastness. This is the Dharma.” 

In a collection of talks and anecdotes, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, a Dharma successor of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, presents his approach to Buddhist teaching. Containing photos of Kwong-roshi with his teachers, as well as a selection of his vibrant calligraphy, Mind Sky explores the profound beauty of Zen history and practice, nature, and the philosophy of the ancient Zen master Eihei Dōgen.

With an elegant simplicity, Kwong-roshi shows how Zen is experiential rather than intellectual. And with persistent practice, realization is already yours.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 208 pages, 6 x 9 inches
  • $18.95
  • ISBN 9781614297598
  • ebook
  • 208 pages
  • $13.99
  • ISBN 9781614297789
about the author
Mind Sky

Jakusho Kwong was born in Santa Rosa, California, in 1935, and grew up in Palo Alto. As a boy he worked all summers with his mother in commercial flower growers’ fields nearby. During and after his education he was employed in commercial art as a sign painter, and was drawn to calligraphy, particularly zenga, the art of Zen calligraphy.

In 1960 he began to study Zen with Shunryu Suzuki-roshi in San Francisco. He was ordained in 1970 by Suzuki-roshi, who was a direct spiritual descendant of Eihei Dogen. In 1973, two years after Suzuki-roshi died, he founded Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in the mountains near Santa Rosa, California, as an expression of gratitude to his teacher and his commitment to continue the unbroken lineage of Soto Zen. Since his study of the transmission ceremony could not be completed before Suzuki-roshi’s death, he continued for five more years with Kobun Chino Otogawa-roshi. In 1978 he completed Dharma transmission through Hoitsu Suzuki-roshi under the supervision of Hakusan Noiri-roshi, at Rinso-in Temple in Japan, authorizing him as successor in Suzuki-roshi’s lineage.

In 2009, Jakusho Kwong was appointed Kokusaifukyoshi (International Zen Teacher) of North America by the Soto School of Japan, which recognizes Sonoma Mountain Zen Center as an authentic Soto Zen temple. He has taught Zen for nearly fifty years, and founded Zen centers in Poland and Iceland, and he is the abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, where he lives with his wife, Shinko. His first book, No Beginning, No End, was published in 2003.

Mind Sky

Shohaku Okumura is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma successor of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. He is a graduate of Komazawa University and has practiced in Japan at Antaiji, Zuioji, and the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and in Massachusetts at the Pioneer Valley Zendo. He is the former director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. His previously published books of translation include Shobogenzo ZuimonkiDogen ZenZen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, and Opening the Hand of Thought. Okumura is also editor of Dogen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time; and SotoZen. He is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.

Other books by Shohaku Okumura:
Dogen’s Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki
Squabbling Squashes
Deepest Practice, Deepest Wisdom
The Mountains and Waters Sutra
Dōgen’s Extensive Record
The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo
Realizing Genjōkōan
Living by Vow
Opening the Hand of Thought

Mind Sky

I first encountered Zen when I found Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind Beginner’s in an English bookstore in Paris in the late seventies.

On returning to the U.S. I went directly to San Francisco Zen Center to study. My path eventually led to Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, where I met Jakusho Kwong-roshi and began practicing with him. He has been my teacher ever since.

I was a chef for most of my life, and my previous editorial experience is limited: Editor of high school newspaper; copyeditor of architecture books published in England and for local writers; translator/editor of two French cookbooks, not published in the U.S.

Whatever skill I have I owe to two excellent English teachers at school, and to Fowler’s Modern English Usage and the Chicago Manual of Style.

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