This dictionary published by Shambhala is a treasure chest of information relating to Buddhism and Zen. The softcover book is 280 pages, with fifteen hundred entries (alphabet order) and is an excellent addition to the library of anyone who is a Buddhist or has an interest in Zen and Buddhism. Over and over, I have turned to this dictionary, for help in understanding terms relating to Buddhism.
The book is divided into the following sections: guide to using the dictionary, transcription and pronunciation, the dictionary, Ch’an/ Zen lineage chart, and bibliography. The end of book bibliography is loaded with nine and a half pages of other book titles. I estimate that the bibliography contains around 450+ other books relating to Buddhism and Zen. This is a dream list of books to read and read on and on for years.
Today, with so much information on the internet, is it necessary to purchase The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen? Yes, because each entry is expertly written and very detailed as well as located in one spot for quick access. Further, I’m a dinosaur bookworm and will always do most of my reading from books because it feels better.
Below are three excerpt example listings from the book:
“Monastery of eternal piece”, one of the two principal monesteries of the Japanese-Soto School. It was founded in the year 1243 by- Dogen Zenji and is located in the Fukui province in north central Japan which is known for its harsh winters.
In Zen a koan is a phrase from a sutra or teaching on Zen realization, an episode from the life of an ancient master, a mondo or a –hossen-whatever the source, each points to the nature of ultimate reality. Essential to a koan is paradox. That which is “beyond” ( Gk., para) “thinking”( GK., dokein), which transcends the logical or conceptual. Thus, since it cannot be solved by reason, a koan is not a riddle. Solving a koan requires a leap to another level of comprehension.
In Zen an expression for detachment of mind, a state of complete naturalness and freedom from dualistic thinking and feeling.
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