Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Zen Teaching of Rinzai

The Zen Teaching of Rinzai (The Record of Rinzai) by Irmgard Schloegl

Rinzai was the founder of one of the Main Schools of Zen Buddhism. This record of his life, written by his disciple, is one of the main texts of Zen. It contains the teachings, episodes from his training, and from his teaching career. This is the first complete translation of this important Zen text into the English Language.

“The Record of Rinzai’s teachings, the Lin-Chi Lu (Japanese Rinzai Roku), shows a character of immense vitality and originality, lecturing his students in informal and often somewhat “racy” language. It is as if Rinzai were using the whole strength of his personality to force the student into immediate awakening. Again and again he berates them for not having enough faith in themselves, for letting their minds ‘gallop around’ in search of something which they have never lost, and which is ‘right before you at this very moment.’ Awakening for Rinzai seems primarily a matter of ‘nerve’— the courage to ‘let go’ without further delay in the unwavering faith that one’s neutral, spontaneous functioning is the Buddha mind. His approach to conceptual Buddhism, to the students’ obsession with stages to be reached and goals to be attained, is ruthlessly iconoclastic.”

-Alan Watts-

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