Through Forests of Every Color
- Shambhala Publications06/21/2022Pages: 208Size: 5.5 x 8.5ISBN: 9781611809862Details
An intimate spiritual and literary journey exploring how Zen koans make us permeable to the joys and the anguish of this life—and to the primordial mystery we glimpse behind the veil of the everyday.
Koans are the record of paradoxical and provocative exchanges between Zen masters and their students that developed in medieval China. These exchanges, though often elaborated through commentary, have also been boiled down to one-line questions or statements to be held in meditation and daily life. Famous examples include, "What is the sound of one hand?" and "Not knowing is most intimate." In Through Forests of Every Color, renowned Zen teacher Joan Sutherland reimagines the koan tradition with allegiance to the root spirit of the koans and to their profound potential for vivifying, subverting, and sanctifying our lives.
Interlinked essays on “koans as art,” “keeping company with koans,” and “walking the koan way” intersperse with beautifully translated renditions of dozens of traditional Zen koans. Sutherland also shares innovative koans culled from Western literature, as well as teachings on how to create idiosyncratic koans or "turning phrases" from the circumstances of one's own life. “First honored is your yearning, the preparation made on faith that there is something that will receive you if you make yourself ready,” writes Sutherland of the koan seeker. “Bathed—attended to, washed free of complications—and then aspiring to the deepest kind of beauty—receptive, brave, dedicated, openhearted. Already you’ve begun to look like the thing you’re looking for.”Author BioJOAN SUTHERLAND ROSHI is a teacher in the koan tradition, cofounder of the Pacific Zen School, and founder of The Open Source, a network of communities. A translator from classical Chinese, she is the author of Vimalakirti and the Awakened Heart. She now lives on the coast of northern California, focusing on Cloud Dragon: The Joan Sutherland Dharma Works, a nonprofit organization that disseminates her teachings.Praise
"Joan Sutherland has always seemed to be one of the ancient Chinese sages, reborn. They studied the mind and heart and found a way even in difficult times. She tells us the koans, healing stories, poems, and jokes that are so helpful to us now. It’s nice to be in the hands of a good writer too. If we’ll just step into the mystery, she’ll guide us on moonlit paths. She shows us a gate inside the obstacle, a path where there is no path. She is a true guide to the practices for our time." —John Tarrant, author of Bring Me The Rhinoceros
"Joan Sutherland’s Koan Salon in Santa Fe was something new, an innovation in a very old tradition that loved and respected both the ancestors and the participants. The field in that room was alive and expansive. Something enlightening was going on. I’m excited that this book will introduce many more people to her work." —Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones
"A clearer path or a better guide would be hard to find. Of course, you still won’t be getting out of this forest alive." —Red Pine, author of Three Zen SutrasSelected Reader Reviews