Zen Classics for the Modern World: Translations of Chinese Zen Poems & Prose with Contemporary Commentary (Diane Press, Philadelphia, 2011)
Dedicated to the memories of Keidō Fukushima and Jeff’s twin sister, Jean, Zen Classics for the Modern World contains three Chinese Zen texts from different traditions and eras: the delightful, poetic masterpiece, Enjoying the Way, from the 8th century Northern Zen tradition; the profound poems — and stunning illustrations — of Ten Oxherding Pictures, from the 12th century Rinzai tradition; and the hard-hitting Exhortations for Those Who Don’t Arouse the Doubt, from the early 17th century Sōtō tradition. Much of the material never translated before, the work also offers authoritative, contemporary commentary, developed in conjunction with retreats held in Europe and the United States, revealing the depth and diversity of Zen Buddhism as a living tradition. Here is the true face of Zen practice as it strips away facile generalizations and false assumptions, leading the reader to a genuine encounter with the heart of the matter.
The book is now out of print. When it is republished, we’ll mention it here.
“Jeff Shore is the first westerner to complete the Rinzai koan training in Japan under a Japanese Zen master. Fluent in both oral and written Japanese language, he speaks with both the authority of his own practice in Zen and of his long training in the Rinzai text tradition. In Zen Classics for the Modern World, he brings to bear the full force of his experience to show the way in Zen practice. In dharma talks that are both illuminating and practical, he explains the stumbling blocks, the frustration, the self-deception and the final fulfillment of Zen practice.”
— Victor Sogen Hori, Rinzai Zen monk, professor of Japanese religions, McGill University, Montreal, Author of Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice
“As a Rinzai Zen master and professor of Zen in the Modern World at Hanazono University in Kyoto, no one is more qualified than Jeff Shore to comment on these Zen Classics. Much of the translated materials are presented here for the first time in English. Aimed at the modern reader, the translations are deep, direct, and clear. Jeff does not stop at a scholarly analysis of old texts. No, he brings the texts to life and confronts us with our very own questions: ‘Who am I? What am I doing here? How am I to live this life?’ Do not look for answers in books, not even this book. Let this book help you cut to the heart of the question at hand, the question of your life here and now.”
— Muho Noelke, Abbot of Antaiji Sōtō Zen Temple, Hyogo, Japan
“The texts translated are classical, the translations are scholarly and yet elegant in the best sense. The commentaries, which provide the true core of this work, are fresh and lively. The poetry translations are bilingual, and the illustrations are treasures.”
— J. P. Seaton, a leading translator of Chinese poetry, author of Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih