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August 22, 2010


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I also read Phillip Kapleau's "Three Pillars of Zen" back in the day and just finished rereading it. I love that book.

When Mao died the Chinese government instituted free market economic reforms starting in the late 1970s. What you essentially see of China today was decided during the late 70ies. Now that is what I call long term planning. In the same way the leadership of that time decided to bring forth the cultural heritage of China and thus many daoist and buddhist temples were restored to great splendor and open to tourists today. If you try to watch the recent movie karate kid you can see a glimpse of such temples (in this case a buddhist shaolin mountain temple) outside a greater chinese city. Perhaps you could plan a future travel to china. It is very cheap to live there, the ppl are very friendly and I am sure you would have something to remember for life.

Thanks for the reply, minx. What I like about 3 PILLARS are the personal stories of zen students having breakthroughs; also, the talk on MU in that tome is excellent. Travel to China? Haven't the Chi-coms cracked down on Buddhists there, or do I have a simplistic view of the situation in China? Anyway, I take care of homeless cats around here and travel is out of the question. I did read a book of Huang Po's teachings--can't recall the title. offhand.

The three pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleu and The One Mind by Huang Po was the first zen books I read in my late teens. I have fond memories of both of them although I choose Huang Po before Kapleu at any given time. Comparing these two zen teachers is like comparing an apple with an apple tree. You might enjoy the apple but it is the tree that will produce more apples.

Now Alan watts is not an author I recommend for the serious students of the Buddha Mind. If you like a mindset heavily imbued in hippie culture with a new age blend of course Alan could be a reasonable choice, but if you are serious about smashing the chains to any current and future suffering in samsara I certainly recommend a more indepth study of old chinese chan teachers and even a travel to china.

Visit some temples and monasteries as a tourist or stay and get a tiny taste of what the students of the ancient Tang and Sung dynasties did to achieve not only first enlightenment but also cultivated an indepth intuitive understanding and use of the greatest treasure in the universe.

I was just reading THE THREE PILLARS OF ZEN. I'm nearly finished reading it, and it seems that this book is filled with what you refer to as authentic practice. Is this right? It sure inspired me to triple my meditation time and to focus on MU rather than breathing. The masters in this book gave those who wanted to experience enlightenment koans to work on. On the other hand, reading Alan Watts, I get the impression that he's a brilliant philosopher, but do you think he experienced this Buddha mind? What do you think, Minx and the author of this site?

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