Elegant Failure

Elegant Failure

A Guide to Zen Koans
By Richard Shrobe
 - eBook

This eBook is available from the following online stores

  • Amazon eBook

  • Apple eBook

  • Nook eBook

Shambhala Publications
ISBN: 9781930485518
Zen koans are stories of exchanges between Zen masters and their disciples at the moment of enlightenment or near-enlightenment. These stories have long fascinated Western readers because of their wisdom, humor, and enigmatic quality. Drawing on over thirty years of practice and teaching, Richard Shrobe (himself a recognized Zen Master) has selected twenty-two cases from The Blue Cliff Record, Book of Serenity, and Wu-men-kuan that he has found to be deeply meaningful and helpful for meditation practice. In Elegant Failure, he provides a wealth of background information and personal anecdotes for each koan that help to illuminate its meaning without detracting from its paradoxical nature. As Shrobe reminds us, “The main core of Zen teaching is the bare bones of what is there. In a certain sense, embellishing a story takes away from the central teaching: Don’t embellish anything, just be with it as it is.”
News & Reviews

"It's refreshing to read intelligent reflections on the Zen tradition that come from a true grounding in life and practice rather than mere intellectual interest." —Zen Master Dae Kwang, Abbot, International Kwan Um School of Zen, and senior editor of Primary Point, Journal of the Kwan Um School of Zen

"Full of Zen stories both from historical times and from his own current experience, Richard Shrobe (Zen Master Wu Kwang) weaves a poetic tapestry of the old with the new. In Elegant Failure we have the opportunity to experience the relevance of kong-ans that could otherwise be perceived as esoteric. It is as though the ancient worthies are still alive today, living in New York City, speaking their timeless truth through the voice of one of the great living Zen masters in America today. Excellent!" —Zen Master Jane Dobisz, Guiding Teacher, Cambridge Zen Center, and author of The Wisdom of Silence

"A generous and insightful guide and commentary on Zen kong-ans. Because of his many years of practice, Richard has the ability to point directly to the marrow of these ancient teachings." —Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes), School Zen Master, International Kwan Um School of Zen

"Richard Shrobe's Elegant Failure extends the tradition of kong-an commentary into the current situation, exposing these old Zen enigmas one by one as the stories of our lives. His writing is informed, personal, and deeply rooted in practice. A brilliant success." —Stanley Lombardo, Professor of Classics, University of Kansas, and editor of Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea and Japan

"With wisdom, deep learning, and unshakeable integrity, Zen Master Richard Shrobe presents the old masters in all their strangeness and familiarity. Fully human, fully alive, without explicit exhortation, he and they urge us to wake up right now to our original nature." —Judy Roitman, Guiding Teacher, Kansas Zen Center, and editor of Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea and Japan

Reader Reviews