The Tiger's Cave : Translations of Japanese Zen texts by Trevor Leggett
London : Rider & Co., 1964. First U.K. Edition. First printing. Hardcover. 191 pages ; photographic illustrations ; 22 cm. 25 shilling dust jacket with minimal wear. Rubber stamp on flyleaf. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding firm.
The Tiger's Cave
The Japanese texts translated here give a fascinating picture of actual Zen life—the life of the traditional temple training, with many stories and a number of historical incidents connected with Zen masters. What, for instance, happens when a young Zen monk makes a terrible mistake at a public ceremony? What sort of a reception today does a well-known abbot and scholar get when he visits his own teacher?—and so on.
The main text is the important commentary by a contemporary Soto Zen abbot on the Heart Sutra—the shortest and most difficult Sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. But in the humble hands of the Venerable Obora, this bare statement of self-contradictory concepts becomes alive and related to modern life.
Then comes a translation of the Yasen Kanna, a short autobiographical piece by Hakuin, the Japanese poet, monk and teacher who revitalized Zen in the eighteenth century. It tells simply of how, to resolve a spiritual crisis, he made a pilgrimage to one of the strange mountain 'Immortals' or sennin. The hermit showed him how to harmonize the vital currents in his body by special practices. The cure is as necessary and as simple to apply now as it was then.
The Sermon of No Words and On Stillness in Action by Rosen Takashina, the present primate of Soto Zen and a few other short pieces are equally welcome for showing what Zen means and is in Japan today.
Of special interest is the account of recent studies on the physiology of Zen monks while in meditation given in the appendix.
TREVOR LEGGETT has lived in Japan at varying times for many years and he reads and speaks Japanese fluently. He has studied and practiced Zen meditation under qualified teachers. He is an expert in the art of Judo and has written two books on the subject. One of his various works is a translation from the Japanese called A FIRST ZEN READER Which he published in Japan.
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