Follow the link for more info on this writing: Upright with Poise and Grace.
Author: Zen Master Dae Gak
His unique approach to a handful of traditional koans is to place them in a real-life, specifically American context. Lectures, essays, poems, calligraphies by this well-known Buddhist teacher. Dae Gak distills from his years of practise and study, philosophical investigations and autobiographical anecdote to guide us in living upright with poise and grace
An Original Voice In American Zen June 3, 2012
This is not your usual Zen book. It takes a fresh contemporary approach, full of feeling and humility. It is organized as a collection of observations and stories, at times autobiographical, all interspersed with poems and calligraphy (by the author). This is the Dharma teaching of the real world — of an encounter with a stubbornly independent blind man (“On Being Blind”), of a poignant interview with a woman born with no hand (“Offering Vulnerability”), of being suddenly confronted by a copperhead snake. The book is grounded in the natural world that flourishes at Dae Gak’s retreat center, Furnace Mountain, near the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest of Kentucky. The trees and creatures he encounters there are teaching the Dharma; we only need to listen.
His unique approach to a handful of traditional koans is to place them in a real-life, specifically American context, giving the reader a modern window into these ancient inscrutable tales. In addition he extends his inquiry (“Taking up anything as koan is just to look with wonder and without conclusion,” p. 135) to the Four Vows (“Vows as Koans”),the three Refuges (in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) and the first five Precepts.
This book is a delight to read, at once modern and traditional, and makes Zen accessible for contemporary western readers