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The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo

Edited by Jokei Molly Delight Whitehead / Translated with commentary by Shohaku Okumura
Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Abandon your treasured delusions and hit the road with one of the most important Zen masters of twentieth-century Japan.

Eschewing the entrapments of vanity, power, and money, "Homeless" Kodo Sawaki Roshi refused to accept a permanent position as a temple abbot, despite repeated offers. Instead, he lived a traveling, "homeless" life, going from temple to temple, student to student, teaching and instructing and never allowing himself to stray from his chosen path. He is responsible for making Soto Zen available to the common people outside of monasteries.

His teachings are short, sharp, and powerful. Always clear, often funny, and sometimes uncomfortably close to home, they jolt us into awakening.

Kosho Uchiyama expands and explains his teacher's wisdom with his commentary. Trained in Western philosophy, he draws parallels between Zen teachings and the Bible, Descartes, and Pascal. Shohaku Okumura has also added his own commentary, grounding his teachers' power and sagacity for the contemporary, Western practitioner.

Experience the timeless, practical wisdom of three generations of Zen masters.

About The Authors

Kosho Uchiyama was born in Tokyo in 1912. He received a master's degree in Western philosophy at Waseda University in 1937 and became a Zen priest three years later under Kodo Sawaki Roshi. Upon Sawaki's death in 1965, he became abbot of Antaiji, a temple and monastery then located on the outskirts of Kyoto. Uchiyama Roshi developed the practice at Antaiji and traveled extensively throughout Japan, lecturing and leading sesshins. He retired from Antaiji in 1975 and lived with his wife at Noke-in, a small temple outside Kyoto, where he continued to write, publish, and meet with the many people who found their way to his door, until his death in 1999. He wrote over twenty books on Zen, including translations of Dogen Zenji in modern Japanese with commentaries, as are various shorter essays. His Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice is available in English from Wisdom Publications. He was an origami master as well as a Zen master and published several books on origami.

Shohaku Okumura is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma successor of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. He is a graduate of Komazawa University and has practiced in Japan at Antaiji, Zuioji, and the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and in Massachusetts at the Pioneer Valley Zendo. He is the former director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. His previously published books of translation include Shobogenzo ZuimonkiDogen ZenZen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, and Opening the Hand of Thought. Okumura is also editor of Dogen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time and SotoZen. He is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (October 14, 2014)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614290483

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Raves and Reviews

"Sawaki Roshi's profound and simple Dharma expression comes from the depth of his empty, open heart, like the light of the sun or the flow of a river, pure and unhindered, touching and awakening that same place in ourselves."

– Mel Weitsman, founder of Berkeley Zen Center

"Provides pure, rich examples of living the Buddha Way by three renowned contemporary Zen practitioners. Filled with glimpses into their daily lives, it is replete with teachings that directly point to letting go of confusion and wholeheartedly living our actual lives."

– Steve Hagen, author of Buddhism Plain & Simple

"Clear and conversational. The variety among the three voices encourages the emergence of a fourth: yours, as you browse and come back again and again."

– Jisho Warner, founder of Stone Creek Zen Center

"A wonderful opportunity to catch a glimpse of a vibrant lineage in action and an invaluable contribution to all schools of meditative living."

– Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath

"Kodo Sawaki was straight-to-the-point, irreverent, and deeply insightful—and one of the most influential Zen teachers for us in the West. Until now it has been very hard to find any of his writings in English. I'm very happy to see this book."

– Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen

"Studying this book is a rare chance to sit with three Zen masters as they bring forth the Dharma with their unique family style—compassionate, blunt, humorous, wholehearted—each one devotedly helping the other and helping us to wake up."

– Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts, Central Abbess, San Francisco Zen Center

"Shohaku Okumura is a true treasure for contemporary American Zen, humbly but clearly expressing this noble legacy."

– Taigen Dan Leighton, author of Zen Questions

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