Taigen Dan Leighton, Soto Zen priest and successor in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, received Dharma Transmission in 2000 from Reb Anderson Roshi and is Dharma Teacher at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago. After residing for years at San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara monastery, Taigen also practiced for two years in Kyoto, Japan. Taigen is author of Zen Questions: Zazen, Dōgen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry; Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression; and Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra. He has edited and co-translated several Zen texts including: Dōgen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of Eihei Koroku; Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi; Dōgen’s Pure Standards for the Zen Community; and The Wholehearted Way; and has contributed to many other books and journals. Taigen teaches online at Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, from where he has a PhD. He has taught at other universities including Saint Mary’s College, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and in Chicago at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary and Loyola University Chicago. Taigen has long been active in social justice programs, including Peace and Environmental Activism.
“Taigen Dan Leighton’s clear, accurate, and eminently useful book will save any serious Zen practitioner, or even a curious novice, years of wasted error, wrong turns, and plain old delusion.”—Peter Coyote
Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry
Whether speaking of student or master, Zen hinges on the question. Zen practice does not necessarily focus on the answers, but on finding a space in which we may sustain uncertainty and remain present and upright in the middle of investigations. Zen Questions begins by exploring “The World of Zazen,”—the foundational practice of the Zen school—presenting it as an attitude of sustained inquiry that offers us an entryway into true repose and joy. From there, Leighton draws deeply on his own experience as a Zen scholar and teacher to invite us into the creativity of Zen awareness and practice. He explores the poetic mind of Dōgen with the poetry of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and even “the American Dharma Bard” Bob Dylan. What’s more, Leighton uncovers surprising resonances between the writings of America’s Founding Fathers—including Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin—and the liberating ideals at the heart of Zen.
- 312 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
- ISBN 9780861716456
- 312 pages
- ISBN 9780861717088
The Zen of R2-D2
Coming November 2019
Did you ever wonder why R2-D2 is
- always calm and cool under pressure,
- the key to the rebellion’s survival, and
- the one who never fails to save the day?
Could it be because he’s secretly a Zen master?
Discover your inner R2—and the truth about who you really are!
This delightful and illuminating romp unfolds in the form of a fictional dialogue between the author—a die-hard Star Wars devotee with a deep connection to Zen—and two cosplayers dressed as C-3PO and R2-D2 who insist on being called by their character names. Along the way, you’ll come to see what everyone’s favorite astromech can teach us about peace, happiness, and life’s true meaning.
Sculpting the Buddha Within
Sculpting the Buddha Within is the first major biography of Shinjo Ito, the founder of the Shinnyo-en tradition of Buddhism and one of the twentieth century’s most innovative spiritual teachers. Ito was schooled in Shingon, the millennium-old esoteric Buddhism of Japan, and used that as the basis for developing a unique lay practice grounded in the principles and concepts of the Mahayana version of the Nirvana Sutra.
Ito’s wish was to help his practitioners see their own potential for goodness so that they, too, would be inspired to work diligently to shape and give form to their inner buddha. Rather than encouraging his followers to believe in a fixed system of practice or beliefs, Ito taught how to live life in accordance with one’s buddha nature—and the gratitude, creativity, and happiness latent within it.
The Illustrated Lotus Sutra
Coming Fall 2019
The Lotus Sutra is regarded as one of the world’s great religious scriptures and most influential texts. It’s a seminal work in the development of Buddhism throughout East Asia and, by extension, in the development of Mahayana Buddhism throughout the world. Taking place in a vast and fantastical cosmic setting, the Lotus Sutra places emphasis on skillfully doing whatever is needed to serve and compassionately care for others, on breaking down distinctions between the fully enlightened buddha and the bodhisattva who vows to postpone salvation until all beings may share it, and especially on each and every being’s innate capacity to become a buddha.
This illustrated edition features more than 110 full-page and two-page illustrations by a world-renowned and award-winning artist, and brings the fantastical and image-filled world of the Lotus Sutra vividly to life. Demi’s illustrations are both classical and contemporary in feel, perfectly complementing Reeves’s masterful and modern translation.
“Intimacy is based on the willingness to open ourselves to many others, to family, friends, and even strangers, forming genuine and deep bonds based on common humanity. Koshin Paley Ellison’s teachings share the way forward into a path of connection, compassion, and intimacy.”
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Each of us has an enormous capacity for love—a deep well of attention and care that we can offer to ourselves and others. With guidance that is both simple and wholly transformative, Koshin Paley Ellison, Zen teacher and psychotherapist, shows us how to uncover it: pay attention, be of service, and be with others.
With this inspiring and down-to-earth book, drawn from the Zen precepts and illustrated with anecdotes from Koshin’s own life and practice, you’ll learn how to
- explore and investigate with your own core values,
- identify the mental habits that could be unconsciously hurting yourself and others, and
- overcome isolation.
Each chapter closes with a contemplation to help integrate the teachings into your life.
This book is about getting back in touch with your values, so you can live energetically, authentically, and lovingly. This is an invitation to close the gaps we create between ourselves and others—to wake up to ourselves and the world around us.
It’s time to live wholeheartedly.
Daughters of Emptiness
Women played major roles in the history of Buddhist China, but given the paucity of the remaining records, their voices have all but faded. In Daughters of Emptiness, Beata Grant renders a great service by recovering and translating the enchanting verse—by turns assertive, observant, devout—of forty-eight nuns from sixteen centuries of imperial China. This selection of poems, along with the brief biographical accounts that accompany them, affords readers a glimpse into the extraordinary diversity and sometimes startling richness of these women’s lives.
A sample poem for this stunning collection:
The sequence of seasons naturally pushes forward,
Suddenly I am startled by the ending of the year.
Lifting my eyes I catch sight of the winter crows,
Calling mournfully as if wanting to complain.
The sunlight is cold rather than gentle,
Spreading over the four corners like a cloud.
A cold wind blows fitfully in from the north,
Its sad whistling filling courtyards and houses.
Head raised, I gaze in the direction of Spring,
But Spring pays no attention to me at all.
Time a galloping colt glimpsed through a crack,
The tap [of Death] at the door has its predestined time.
How should I not know, one who has left the world,
And for whom floating clouds are already familiar?
In the garden there grows a rosary-plum tree:
Whose sworn friendship makes it possible to endure.
—Chan Master Jingnuo
Chen-Chiu: The Original Acupuncture
Chen-Chiu: The Original Acupuncture is based on an historic Chinese acupuncture text that remains vital to this day: the Ling-Shu-Jing. Dr. Claus Schnorrenberger, who has produced a well-known translation of Ling-Shu-Jing, here applies his personal medical experience—as a lecturer, and moreover, as an orthodox Western physician and Chinese acupuncturist/herbalist—to the principles of the text.
The result is a new view of the prevailing Western perceptions of Chinese medicines. The author calls into question such concepts as Chi, the meridians, and even acupuncture itself, in order to correct erroneous translations still in use by many to this day. Chen-Chiu provides an epistemological reflection on what Chinese medicine and acupuncture really mean, and adds new contrast and insight into Western and Eastern views of healing. This, the author rightly contends, is essential for the successful integration of Chinese medicines in the West.
Schnorrenberger’s book is well-balanced and much-needed, appropriate not only as a reference for students and practitioners of Chinese medicine, but also as a learning aid for patients, health-care workers and administrators, Western physicians, and more.
The Ceasing of Notions
Among the writings from the Dunhuang Caves, discovered in the mid-twentieth Century, are the Zen equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls—ancient texts unknown for centuries. The Ceasing of Notions is one such text. It takes a unique form: a dialogue between two imaginary figures, a master and his disciple, in which the disciple tenaciously pursues the master’s pity utterances with follow-up questions that propel the dialogue toward ever more profound insights. And these questions prove to be the reader’s very own. Soko Morinaga brings alive this compact and brilliant text with his own vivid commentary.
This volume also includes a generous selection from Morinaga’s acclaimed autobiography, Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of my Own Stupidity.
Buddhism of the Heart
Jeff Wilson started his walk on the Buddha’s path as a Zen practitioner—taking up a tradition of vigorous self-effort, intensive meditation, and meticulous attention to rectitude in every action. But in Jeff’s case, rather than freeing him from his suffering, he found those Zen practices made him nothing short of insufferable. And so he turned to Shin Buddhism—a path that is easily the most popular in Zen’s native land of Japan but is largely unknown in the West.
Shin emphasizes an “entrusting heart,” a heart that is able to receive with gratitude every moment of our mistake-filled and busy lives. Moreover, through walking the Shin path, Jeff comes see that each of us (himself especially included) are truly “foolish beings,” people so filled with endlessly arising “blind passions” and ingrained habits that we so easily cause harm even with our best intentions. And even so, Shin holds out the tantalizing possibility that, by truly entrusting our foolish selves to the compassionate universe, we can learn to see how this foolish life, just as it is, is nonetheless also a life of grace.
Buddhism of the Heart is a wide-ranging book of essays and open-hearted stories, reflections that run the gamut from intensely personal to broadly philosophical, introducing the reader to a remarkable religious tradition of compassionate acceptance.
The Book of Mu
The word “mu” is one ancient Zen teacher’s response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has “buddha nature”. Discovering for ourselves the meaning of the master’s response is the urgent work of each of us who yearns to be free and at peace. “Practicing Mu” is synonymous with practicing Zen, “sitting with Mu” is an apt description for all Zen meditation, and it is said that all the thousands and thousands of koans in the Zen tradition are just further elaborations of Mu.
This watershed volume brings together over forty teachers, ancient and modern masters from across centuries and schools, to illuminate and clarify the essential matter: the question of how to be most truly ourselves.
Includes writings from: Dogen • Hakuin • Dahui • Thich Thien-An Zenkei Shibayama • Seung Sahn • Taizan Maezumi • Sheng Yen Philip Kapleau • Robert Aitken • Jan Chozen Bays • Shodo Harada Grace Schireson • John Daido Loori • John Tarrant Barry Magid • Joan Sutherland … and many more!
The Book of Equanimity
The Book of Equanimity contains the first-ever complete English language commentary on one of the most beloved classic collections of Zen teaching stories (koans), making them vividly relevant to spiritual seekers and Zen students in the twenty-first century. Continually emphasizing koans as effective tools to discover and experience the deepest truths of our being, Wick brings the art of the koan to life for those who want to practice wisdom in their daily lives.
The koan collection Wick explores here is highly esteemed as both literature and training material in the Zen tradition, in which koan-study is one of two paths a practitioner might take. This collection is used for training in many Zen centers in the Americas and in Europe but has never before been available with commentary from a contemporary Zen master. Wick’s Book of Equanimity includes new translations of the preface, main case and verse for each koan, and modern commentaries on the koans by Wick himself.
Awesome Nightfall: The Life, Times, and Poetry of Saigyō captures the power of Saigyō’s poetry and this previously overlooked poet’s keen insight into the social and political world of medieval Japan. It also offers a fascinating look into the world of Japanese Buddhism prior to the wholesale influence of Zen.
The Art of Just Sitting
Shikantaza—or “just sitting”—is one of the simplest, most subtle forms of meditation, and one of the most easily misunderstood. This peerless volume brings together a wealth of writings, from the Buddha himself to Bodhidharma and Dogen and many of modern Zen Buddhism’s most influential masters, all pointing directly to the heart of this powerful practice. Edited by one of America’s pre-eminent Zen teachers, this book is a rich resource for wisdom seekers and scholars alike.
A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency
Never before have so many teachers from all Buddhist traditions—Zen, Vajrayana, Theravada, Vipassana; from the West and the East—come together to offer a unified response to a matter of utmost urgency. This watershed volume is at the same time a clarion call to action and a bright beacon of hope.
With contributions from: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Seventeenth Karmapa, Sakya Trizin, Dudjom Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Ato Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Robert Aitken, Joanna Macy, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Joseph Goldstein, Taigen Dan Leighton, Susan Murphy, Matthieu Ricard, Hozan Alan Senauke, Lin Jensen, and Thich Nhat Hanh.
The Buddha’s Dream of Liberation
Explore the three great teachings of the Buddha with this plain-English primer:
• The First Turning of the Wheel: Insight into the nature of suffering—and the way out of it—from the four noble truths and the eightfold path
• The Second Turning of the Wheel: Teachings on emptiness from the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra
• The Third Turning of the Wheel: Guidance for practitioners and teachings on awakened Buddha nature
In clear language, James William Coleman guides us through the ancient sutras that preserve the Buddha’s message, illuminating their meaning for today’s world and tying the Buddha’s wisdom together for us. The book concludes with chapters from two great teachers, Reb Anderson from the Zen tradition and Lama Palden from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, on how to use meditation to bring the Buddha’s wisdom into our daily lives.
A New Buddhist Path
David R. Loy addresses head-on the most pressing issues of Buddhist philosophy in our time.
What is the meaning of enlightenment—is it an escape from the world, or is it a form of psychological healing?
How can one reconcile modern scientific theory with ancient religious teachings?
What is our role in the universe?
Loy shows us that neither Buddhism nor secular society by itself is sufficient to answer these questions. Instead, he investigates the unexpected intersections of the two. Through this exchange, he uncovers a new Buddhist way, one that is faithful to the important traditions of Buddhism but compatible with modernity. This way, we can see the world as it is truly is, realize our indivisibility from it, and learn that the world’s problems are our problems. This is a new path for a new world.
From October 16, 1973, to August 17, 1974, Tim Testu walked all the way from San Francisco to Seattle, bowing his head to the ground every three steps. And that’s not even the best part of his story.
Tim Testu was one of the very first Americans to take ordination in Chinese Zen Buddhism. His path—from getting kicked out of school to joyriding in stolen boats in the Navy to squatting in an anarchist commune to wholehearted spiritual engagement in a strict Buddhist monastery—is equal parts rollicking adventure and profound spiritual memoir.
Touching Ground is simultaneously larger than life and entirely relatable; even as Tim finds his spiritual home with his teacher, the legendary Chan master Hsuan Hua, he nonetheless continues to struggle to overcome his addictions and his very human shortcomings.
Tim never did anything halfway, including both drinking and striving for liberation. He died of leukemia in 1998 after packing ten lifetimes into fifty-two years.
This landmark work is simultaneously a manifesto, a blueprint, a call to action, and a deep comfort for troubling times. David R. Loy masterfully lays out the principles and perspectives of Ecodharma—the Buddhist response to our ecological predicament, a new term for a new development of the Buddhist tradition.
This book emphasizes the three aspects of Ecodharma:
- practicing in the natural world,
- exploring the ecological implications of Buddhist teachings,
- and embodying that understanding in the eco-activism that is needed today.
Offering a compelling framework and practical spiritual resources, Loy outlines the Ecosattva Path, a path of liberation and salvation for all beings and the world itself.
Prepare to be inspired, motivated, and encouraged.
Zen on the Trail
Evoking the writings of Gary Snyder, Bill Bryson, and Cheryl Strayed, Zen on the Trail explores the broad question of how to be outside in a meditative way. By directing our attention to how we hike as opposed to where we’re headed, Ives invites us to shift from ego-driven doing to spirit-filled being, and to explore the vast interconnection of ourselves and the natural world. Through this approach, we can wake up in the woods on nature’s own terms.
In erudite and elegant prose, Ives takes us on a journey we will not soon forget.
This book features a new prose poem by Gary Snyder.