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Unborn Waddell

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The life and teachings of Zen Master Bankei
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  THE   UNBORN   The Life and Teachings of  Zen Master Banket 1622-1693   Revised Edition   Translated and with an Introduction by  Norman Waddell    North Point Press   A division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux    New York     Contents   Preface   vn   Introduction    Notes to the Introduction   3 26   The Dharma Talks of Zen Master Bankei The Ryumon-ji Sermons The H6shin-ji Sermons Notes to the Dharma Talks   39   39   87   121   The Dialogues of Zen Master Bankei  Notes to the Dialogues   Unnecessary Words    Notes to Unnecessary Words   Bibliography of Works Cited   133 159   163 187   193     Preface  Zen entered Japan at the time of the Southern Sung dynasty in China. Dogen (1200-1251) began to promulgate his version of Zen, which, although it came to be called Soto (the Japanese pro-nunciation of the Chinese Ts'ao-tung), is in fact Dogen's own Japanese Zen, which grew and developed around his main work, the Shobogenzo. The Rinzai sect, also introduced in the thirteenth century, brought to Japan the system and traditions of the Southern Sung Lin-chi school. Beyond that, it did not develop any char-acteristic Zen thought of its own worthy of mention. Later, when we come to the Tokugawa period (1603-1867), we see in the koan Zen of Hakuin (1685-1768) a new development in the methods or techniques of Zen practice and also, in a sense, a systematization of Zen thought. Slightly before Hakuin's time, however, Bankei ap- peared. His Unborn Zen espoused a fresh departure for the first time since the Zen patriarch Bodhidharma. Unborn Zen is truly one of the most srcinal developments in the entire history of Zen thought. Bankei, indeed, must be considered one of the greatest masters that Japan has ever produced. (Daisetz Suzuki, Studies in the History of Zen Thought: Bankei Zen)   THE JAPANESE RINZAI PRIEST BANKEI YOTAKU (1622-1693) did not leave behind any written exposition of his Zen teaching, and he gave strict orders that no one else was to reduce it to writing. But records were made nonethe-   vii    PREFACE less, his followers being unable to bear the thought that their master's words and deeds should go unrecorded and, as one of them put it, just left for the sparrows to play around with. So although much more was lost than they were able to com-mit to paper, we must be grateful for the record they have  preserved for us: it is our sole means of learning about his Un- born Zen.   This account of Bankei's life and teaching begins with an introduction tracing the course of his religious career. It is  based on material compiled by his disciples and on references Bankei himself makes to his life in the course of his sermons. It has considerable interest as religious biography and should also provide readers with the background from which his unique Zen pedagogy emerged.   The remainder, and bulk, of the book is made up of trans-lations from Bankei's records. Bankei is best known for the colloquial sermons ( talks would perhaps be a better word to describe them) that he preached tirelessly to the eager stu-dents who came to him in great numbers from all over Japan. He delivered them in engagingly plain, everyday Japanese, the ordinary language of the common man. They are popular in the word's best sense. No one had brought Zen to the layman in such an informal and yet thoroughgoing manner. These vernacular sermons are given here virtually in their entirety. They are followed by an extensive selection from the records of the conversations Bankei had with the students and priests who came to him for Zen interviews, the teacher-pupil con-frontations familiar to Western readers of Zen literature. Together, the translations of the sermons and dialogues demonstrate the basic religious standpoint of Bankei's teach-ing of the Unborn and provide a comprehensive picture of his style of Zen, which, in its genius, utter simplicity, and all-  
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