The Book of Mu (Paperback)

Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan

By James Ishmael Ford (Editor), Melissa Myozen Blacker (Editor), John Tarrant (Foreword by)

Wisdom Publications, 9780861716432, 329pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2011

List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The word "mu" is one ancient Zen teacher's response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has "buddha nature." Discovering for ourselves the meaning of the master's response is the urgent work of each of us who yearns to be free and at peace. "Practicing Mu" is synonymous with practicing Zen, "sitting with Mu" is an apt description for all Zen meditation, and it is said that all the thousands and thousands of koans in the Zen tradition are just further elaborations of Mu.

This watershed volume brings together over forty teachers, ancient and modern masters from across centuries and schools, to illuminate and clarify the essential matter: the question of how to be most truly ourselves.

Includes writings from: Dogen, Hakuin, Dahui, Thich Thien-An Zenkei Shibayama, Seung Sahn, Taizan Maezumi, Sheng Yen Philip Kapleau, Robert Aitken, Jan Chozen Bays, Shodo Harada Grace Schireson, John Daido Loori, John Tarrant Barry Magid, Joan Sutherland, and many more.

About the Author

James Ishmael Ford is a senior guiding teacher of Boundless Way Zen. James has been a student of Zen Buddhism for over forty years. He is also a senior Unitarian Universalist minister serving at the First Unitarian Church of Providence and a member of both the American Zen Teachers Association and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He lives outside Providence. Melissa Myozen Blacker, Roshi, is a Zen teacher and the abbot of Boundless Way Zen, a school of Zen Buddhism with practice centers throughout New England. She is one of the resident teachers at Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester. From 1993 to 2012, Melissa was on the staff of the Center for Mindfulness (CFM), founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her positions at the CFM included Director of professional training programs and senior teacher and Associate Director of the Stress Reduction Clinic. In addition to Zen teaching and writing, Melissa also offers private meditation consulting and spiritual direction. She is co-editor of The Book of MU, published by Wisdom Publications in April of 2011. Her chapter from The Book of MU was included in Best Buddhist Writing, 2012, edited by Melvin MacLeod and published by Shambhala Publications.

Praise For The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan

A delightful book based on a delightful ideaand a must-read for anyone interested in Zen.” Mu Soeng, author of The Heart of the Universe

The most important of all koans finally gets the attention it deserves. For those considering koan study, or just curious about this unique spiritual practice, this is a very valuable book.” David R. Loy, author of Money Sex War Karma and The World Is Made of Stories

This book sets you wandering in uncharted territories of surprise and sudden freedom. If you dare risk the uncertainty of travel into the unknown, this is the book for you.” Lin Jensen, author of Deep Down Things

A tremendous book, subtle and beautiful, whose power creeps up on you in the midst of reading it. This book takes the reader beyond the wordsa universe between two covers.” Deborah Schoeberlein, author of Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness

A thorough and wide-ranging look at the mother of all koans and a first-rate introduction to koans in general.” Scott Edelstein, author of Sex and the Spiritual Teacher

The Book of Mu is a book that people will want to read and return to again and again.” Jeremy D. Safran, editor of Psychoanalysis and Buddhism

Sure to inspire many Zen students and practitioners.” Steven Heine in Buddhadharma

Useful, insightful, and lovely!”Rafe Martin, author of The Banyan Deer

Highly recommended.”Noah Levine, author of Heart of the Revolution