Zen Master Seung Sahn is one of the greatest teachers of Zen to have come to the West to date. Many of his Western students are now Zen Masters teaching throughout the world. Kwan Um Zen is a Korean Chogye division of Buddhism, focusing on Kwan Yin (Avalokitesvara) the bodhisattva of compassion, as well as traditional Zen/kong-an practices.
This book is unique in that it is a collection of letters through the years which students and non students have written him with questions and doubts. In it you find humorous and cutting wisdom on virtually any subject you can name. And he keeps coming back to the big question-what is your job? Primary point-what is mind? Sometimes he gets poetic, sometimes very funny, never a dull moment when reading this book! This book is for ANY Zen practioner. Anyone interested in Buddhism in general for that matter. if you want to come a few steps closer to understanding your true self, this book is for you.
Here is a small example of what is in store for you in this book: "One day, Soen-sa (Seung Sahn) asked his students,"What is one plus two?" One student shouted "KATZ!!!(sound of zen stick)"Is this the truth?" "No" "Then what is the truth?" "One plus two equals three." Soen-sa said, "I thought you were a blind dog, but now I see you are a keen eyed lion."-It is tiny antecdotes like these, to long letters between students, and various dharma talks he has given that make this book a winner. Just order it- you will soon see!
This book is pure joy to read.
"Dropping Ashes on the Buddha" is a collection of Zen Buddhist koans - riddles and stories that defy logic and shock the reader into a new state of consciousness. They are bewildering, funny, shocking, even sacreligous. Most koans are very ancient stories that have been pasted down through the ages, but "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha" combines these old tales with present day stories, and beautifully tie old traditions with modern life in America. Anyone who is interested in Buddhism and especially Zen Buddhism MUST read this book.
Although most of this book speaks directly to the heart and avoids all attempts the reader might have to mentally figure it out, there is a strange logic to it all, and if you give yourself freedom to explore the "logic" you can learn much about how we live our lives on the deepest levels. The Circle of Awareness is especially beautiful and dead-accurate. Seung Sahn is unique in that he is very possibly enlightened in the sense that Buddha was.