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The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  557 ratings  ·  45 reviews
This complete translation of the original collection of sermons, dialogues, and anecdotes of Huang Po, the illustrious Chinese master of the Tang Dynasty, allows the Western reader to gain an understanding of Zen from the original source, one of the key works in its teachings; it also offers deep and often startling insights into the rich treasures of Eastern thought. Nowh ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 18th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 857)
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4.42  · 
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 ·  557 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: excellent-read
Like a mythical 1000 layer-fold Katana sword, this book not only pierces the veil of illusion, but shreds the shit outta it! Thus leaving a gaping hole in your mind so wide, Reality (One Mind) has no choice but to flow through you. With that being said, please take note that all of my words are relative, because we aren't communicating directly soul to soul. You're reading my relative thoughts conveyed through relative language filtered through your relative mind. Living in this relative, dualis ...more
Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Nothing is born, nothing is destroyed. Away with your dualism, your likes and dislikes. Every single thing is just the One Mind. When you have perceived this, you will have mounted the Chariot of the Buddhas. -- Huang Po
Eddie Watkins
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This guy didn't mess around. He stripped absolutely everything away and got to the cold infinite essence of mind. This is pure Zen. Nothing cozy or blissfully navel-gazing about it.
Jake Maguire
This is a must read. Incredible
Taratulku Drimed drolkhar rinpoche
ZEN TEACHING OF HUANG PO is great remedy for all intellectual Buddhists and for all who wish to know themeselves better. I was reading it around 1986 for the first time and caused some Awakening in me just by reading it carefully .For me the most important sentence in the book is about the SOUND OF TATHAGATHAS . Those who wish to understand true connection of Dzogchen with Chan must read this precious book .
Igor Stojanov
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Typically most books have the aim to transmit knowledge from one mind to another. But not this book. This book is different. This book aims to transmit No-Mind to No-Mind. The writings of Huang Po are aimed at deconstructing dualities in reality through language.

There is only one way to get to the other side where there are no sides and that is to unlearn everything we know about our sides.

The more we feel, the further away we are from IT,
The more we see, the further away we are from IT,
The mo
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another relatively short, but also precise and powerful, piece of classic Zen. If memory serves, the original version of this book was one of the texts John Cage picked up on when he was first discovering Buddhism generally and Zen in particular. It is essentially Q&A between master and students, with some lecture material to preface it, and it's not hard to see how Cage borrowed the didactic format for some of his own lectures and writings. I'm not too sure about this being used as an intro ...more
Craig Werner
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Huang Po is one of the most influential of the Chinese Zen masters and translater John Blofield, one of the scholars responsible for introducing Zen to the West, has done an admirable job with this compilation of sermons and anecdotes. Unlike the Buddhist traditions associated with the Hinayana School, Zen (a part of the broader Mahayana tradition which developed as Buddhism spread from India to China and Japan) says that enlightenment comes in a flash, not as the result of study and discipline. ...more
Thelbert Dewain Belgard
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I consider this book one of the basics for those interested inthe history of Buddhist thought in Tang Dynasty China. Blofeld's translation is for the most part clear and (in my opinion) accurate. I would question though his interpretation of the Chinese term wu hsin -- lit. "no mind"-- as freedom from or absence of conceptual thought. I think the term has more to do with freedom from egotism and the absence of egocentric thought. But so long as I bear that in mind, I find this book a clear stat ...more
R. August
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, but requires a little contemplation as you move along - it is easy to skim over rather profound phrases. Highly recommended and as it is rather short it is easy to get through or carry around. Sort of like the Heart Sutra - short, but hard to peirce through easily.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zen-buddhism
A classic devoted to the recorded teachings of the very important 8th century Ch'an Buddhist lineage master Huang Po. Huang Po strips the Buddhist teachings down to the bare essentials. A must read for serious Zen Buddhists.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Quite simply the best Zen book out there. It cuts right to the heart of the matter and is often breath-takingly, mind-expandingly illuminating. Thoroughly recommended reading for everyone.
Bill Gusky
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Digging in particular Huang Po's "heart mind" distillation, worth considering.
Eric Jonas
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Huango Po's words are a gentle refuge to Buddhist practitioners and anyone seeking peace and clarity. His brief talks speak repetitively of the "One Mind," but this repetitive quality gives his talks a rhythmic quality while also driving home the utter simplicity and straightforwardness of the Dharma. A precious gift.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
While it's pretty cool to read what a zen master's teaching from over a thousand years ago, I'm afraid time and translation has not been kind to the message. At least to me, it was too full of old zen jargon to get much out of. A shame, because I see many others find this to be one of their all time favorite zen texts.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a small bite at a time kind of book. After reading and implementing things from The Four Agreements by Ruiz and The Power of Now by Tolle, I understood much more about the Buddhist Zen writings. Definitely recommend for those who are working on mindfulness, non-duality, non-attachment and the like.
Olivier Caron
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thought of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be in the right road to the Gate.”
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Felt grateful for having the chance to read what a Zen Master of old was saying about the nature of reality.

It is also quite funny to see some disciples get berated by his teachings.
Daniel Prasetyo
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mind blowing!
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Huang Po: "Cease all conceptual thought"
Me: "Why am I still reading this if I'm supposed to cease all conceptual thought?"

*keeps reading*
John Miller
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Began reading it in 1978. Each and every day ever-since, new melodious resonances, the very Mind of Huang Po. :) Thank You. :)
Duncan H!
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Insights from the late taoist movement, Chan buddhism.
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
For a zen master, dude has too obvious anger issues. Good teachings overall but I would not take being slapped for any of it.
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
"I have lots of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that nothing ever happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends dro ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everything is One Mind (Source Substance). Avoid conceptual thoughts and see your inherent, true Buddha nature which is ALL MIND, the nature of everything.

“The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it….if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is
Rick Gardner
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zen
Had originally read this in 1984 when I was in the Army in Germany. It confused, and intrigued me, but I wasn't ready to spend any time on delving into its secrets. It wasn't until almost 20 years later that I came across reference to it, and had to have a copy for myself.

It is a difficult read; no doubt about it. I have read over and over at different stages of my life and sometimes it is clear, and others I am left scratching my head. But you can't expect that something translated from pieced
Susan Lydon
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: consciousness
Dense, hard to comprehend, and at points repetitive. That being said, the organizational style (question and answer format) and prose-like writing of the book make it enjoyable. Would I read it again? Probably not. If you're looking to read something about Zen, but not this, I recommend The Expert, a short story by Nakashima Tom.

Mattheus Guttenberg
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, zen, liberation
A pure and scintillating discussion of Zen enlightenment and the nature of One Mind. Huang Po casually and masterfully destroys distinctions, delusions, and dualisms for those on the Buddha path, and argues for the superiority of the Zen practice of instantaneous enlightenment (which is no-practice) as opposed to the confused and progressives paths of Theravadin and Mahayana sects.
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is an essential text on Zazen; or seeing into one's true nature. It is essentially a book about the necessity for practice and not talking about zazen. The translation and commentary are clear. For someone to understand the purpose of zazen in the manner in which it will be effective, this book is a must read!
Katie Curlee Hamblen
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
God, it took me forever to read this, but it was worth it. Reading 50 pages on zen practice is like reading 1,000 pages of history...or something. I don't know. Intense mind-labor. Probably I wasn't very zen in my approach, just letting the information be, trying too hard to manipulate it into my understanding. But I'm a control freak. That's why I find these concepts difficult. :)
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