The Undying Lamp of Zen is a pure and powerful distillation of Zen doctrine and practice written by Torei Enji (1721–1792), a Zen master and artist. Torei was best known as one of two “genius assistants” to Hakuin Ekaku, a towering figure in Zen Buddhism who revitalized the Rinzai school, which focuses on koan practice. Torei was responsible for much of the advanced work of Hakuin’s later disciples and also helped systemize Hakuin’s Zen teachings. The Undying Lamp of Zen includes a range of principles and practices, from the most elementary to the most advanced. It is an indispensable aid to the practice of Rinzai Zen, while also providing tested traditional techniques for public access to Zen experience.
Premier translator Thomas Cleary provides a thorough introduction and illuminating footnotes throughout, and his masterful translation lets Torei’s distinctive voice shine through; Torei is energetic, no-nonsense, and full of personality. No other English translations of this classic are available and Zen aficionados will want to add this to their collection.