Great Doubt - Praise

The greater the doubt, the greater the awakening.



128 pages, 5 x 8 inches


ISBN 9781614292302

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eBook Bundle (PDF, epub, mobi)


ISBN 9781614292456

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“Short and powerful...Translating and commenting on two works by the Chinese master Boshan (1575–1630), Shore explores how to work with doubt in a modern context, insisting that everything must be questioned until it is confirmed ‘in your bones.’”—Buddhadharma


Great Doubt was a wake-up call for me.”—The Tattooed Buddha

“By methodically bursting the illusory bubbles about Zen that so easily assail those who practice the Zen path, Master Boshan offers practitioners an opening into that simplest of truths-Zen is nothing other than your life. A gem of a book, vividly brought to life in Jeff Shore's down to earth translation and enhanced by his insightful commentary.”—Roshi Janet Jiryu Abels, author of Making Zen Your Own

“This book is an enormously valuable contribution to Zen practice. Shore vividly unpacks an essential and characteristic feature of Zen, great doubt, as wonder and curiosity. Through his translation of Boshan and commentary, he not only offers pithing warnings about where we get stuck, but clear advice about how to go beyond the places in which we are free.”—Dosho Port, author of Keep Me In Your Heart A While

“This important volume conveys a part of traditional Zen that often gets lost in the West: great doubt. Boshan clarifies how Zen practice, when lacking this existential impasse, can end up focusing on pleasant or helpful mental states and fail to engage with the fundamental problem of life and death. Jeff Shore’s excellent translation and commentary benefit from his decades of committed Zen practice in a Rinzai monastery in Kyoto.”—Christopher Ives, author of Imperial-Way Zen

Great Doubt is a valuable handbook that deserves close study by Chan/Zen teachers and practitioners. With great simplicity, wisdom, and warmth, Jeff Shore has offered us a wonderful opportunity to bring the teachings of Boshan to life. The rest is up to you, the reader. Savor this book—it is truly a gem—and resolve the “great doubt” in your life.”— Guo Gu, author of Passing through the Gateless Barrier

“Teacher Jeff Shore provides not only a lucidly clear English translation, he also provides a commentary driving Boshan’s words home. He is talking to you.”—Victor Sôgen Hori, author of Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Zen Koan Practic

“In this handy volume, Jeff Shore once again revitalizes our understanding of the old Zen adage to the effect that, “The greater the doubt, the greater the awakening.” Through his excellent translations and insightful commentary of classic writings by the late Ming dynasty Caodong school monk, Boshan, Shore demonstrates his vast experience and expertise about Zen texts and training that makes him a leading modern scholar and eminent practitioner.”— Steven Heine, Zen scholar, author, and translator

“As a Rinzai Zen master and professor of Zen in the Modern World at Hanazono University in Kyoto, no one is more qualified than Jeff Shore to comment on the real meaning and significance of great doubt. Aimed at the modern reader, the translations are deep, direct, and clear. Jeff does not stop at a scholarly analysis of old texts. No, he brings the texts to life and confronts us with our very own questions. Do not look for answers in books, not even this book. Let this book help you cut to the heart of the question at hand, the question of your life here and now.”— Muho Noelke, Abbot of Antaiji Sōtō Zen Temple, Hyogo, Japan

“How can we get in touch with our deepest longings and truly resolve our most fundamental (life-and-death) questions, the real questions underneath all of our struggles and turmoil? Chinese master Boshan's (1575–1630) Exhortations offers insightful and extraordinarily precise guidance on the way. In this meticulously researched translation, Boshan and Jeff Shore team up to help us focus, work through and resolve, once and for all, what really matters. This transforms our lives. First published in Zen circles, I am excited that this potent and important work is now made available to a wider audience.”— Sozui, Zen nun

“In this clear, lively translation, Boshan addresses the reader directly with vivid metaphors and stern (sometimes humorous) admonishments…Shore provides a helpful overview of great doubt and a brief commentary that puts Boshan’s advice in perspective for modern practitioners. These concise texts, not previously available in their entirety in English, offer classic wisdom to those exploring Zen paths.”—Publishers Weekly

“This collection of upbeat, insightful, and inspiring lectures on Boshan’s text is a rich resource for all Buddhist practitioners.”—Richard M. Jaffe, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Duke University, Author of Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism

“Jeff Shore’s translation and commentary on this wise old text, Great Doubt, is a great gift to Zen students. Great doubt and great faith are foundations of Zen practice, and must be experienced first hand. But there are many ways that Zen students can become puffed up or lost on the path. Jeff Shore’s translation of 16th Century Zen Master Boshan's exhortations, and his own original commentaries, provide essential check points along the path.”—Grace Schireson, author of Zen Women

“In Great Doubt, Jeff Shore, one of the few Westerners to complete the traditional Japanese course of monastic koan training, presents a lucid translation of a classic Chinese text on the true nature of doubt, with clear—and inspiring—commentaries based on his own experience as a student and teacher. It will be a valuable addition to any Zen meditator's bookshelf.”—Thomas Yuho Kirchner, translator of Entangling Vines