Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice

Paperback | February 15, 2007

EditorSteven Heine, Dale S. Wright

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When books about Zen Buddhism began appearing in Western languages just over a half-century ago, there was no interest whatsoever in the role of ritual in Zen. Indeed, what attracted Western readers' interest was the Zen rejection of ritual. The famous 'Beat Zen' writers were delighted bythe Zen emphasis on spontaneity as opposed to planned, repetitious action, and wrote inspirationally about the demythologized, anti-ritualized spirit of Zen. Quotes from the great Zen masters supported this understanding of Zen, and led to the fervor that fueled the opening of Zen centersthroughout the West. Once Western practitioners in these centers began to practice Zen seriously, however, they discovered that zazen - Zen meditation - is a ritualized practice supported by centuries-old ritual practices of East Asia. Although initially in tension with the popular anti-ritual image of ancient Zenmasters, interest in Zen ritual has increased along with awareness of its fundamental role in the spirit of Zen. Eventually, Zen practitioners would form the idea of no-mind, or the open and awakened state of mind in which ingrained habits of thinking give way to more receptive, direct forms ofexperience. This notion provides a perspective from which ritual could gain enormous respect as a vehicle to spiritual awakening, and thus this volume seeks to emphasize the significance of ritual in Zen practice. Containing 9 articles by prominent scholars about a variety of topics, including Zen rituals kinhin and zazen, this volume covers rituals from the early Chan period to modern Japan. Each chapter covers key developments that occurred in the Linji/Rinzai and Caodon/ Soto schools of China and Japan,describing how Zen rituals mold the lives and characters of its practitioners, shaping them in accordance with the ideal of Zen awakening. This volume is a significant step towards placing these practices in a larger historical and analytical perspective.

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When books about Zen Buddhism began appearing in Western languages just over a half-century ago, there was no interest whatsoever in the role of ritual in Zen. Indeed, what attracted Western readers' interest was the Zen rejection of ritual. The famous 'Beat Zen' writers were delighted bythe Zen emphasis on spontaneity as opposed to ...

Steven Heine is Professor of Religious Studies, History, and Director of the Institute for Asian Studies at Florida International University. Dale Wright is David B. and Mary H. Gamble Professor of Religious Studies and Asian Studies at Occidental College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:February 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195304683

ISBN - 13:9780195304688

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Table of Contents

Dale S. Wright: Introduction: Rethinking Ritual Practice in Zen Buddhism1. T. Griffith Foulk: Ritual in Japanese Zen Buddhism2. Mario Poceski: Chan Rituals of the Abbots' Ascending the Dharma Hall to Preach3. Albert Welter: Buddhist Rituals for Protecting the Country in Medieval Japan: Myoan Eisai's "Regulations of the Zen School"4. Steven Heine: Is Dogen's Eiheiji Temple "Mt. T'ien-t'ung East"? Geo-Ritual Perspectives on the Transition from Chinese Ch'an to Japanese Zen5. Taigen Dan Leighton: Zazen as an Enactment Ritual6. Paula K. R. Arai: Women and Dogen: Rituals Actualizing Empowerment and Healing7. Michel Mohr: Invocation of the Sage: The Ritual to Glorify the Emperor8. David E. Riggs: Meditation in Motion: Textual Exegesis in the Creation of Ritual9. William M. Bodiford: Dharma Transmission in Theory and PracticePinyin-Wade-Giles Conversion Table