Skip to main content
Cover for The Garden of Flowers and Weeds

The Garden of Flowers and Weeds

A New Translation and Commentary on the Blue Cliff Record

Matthew Juksan Sullivan


List Price: 60.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"An intriguing, challenging crash course in Zen Buddhism." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A generation-defining rendering of one of the great Zen Buddhist scriptures." -- Spirituality and Practice

For centuries, The Blue Cliff Record has stood as one of the preeminent scriptures of the Zen Buddhist tradition in China, Japan, and Korea. However, until now there has been no published commentary by a contemporary Zen Master to assist readers in understanding its counterintuitive and sometimes baffling teachings.

The Garden of Flowers and Weeds draws on contemporary scholarship and the author's extensive experience with Zen in order to offer new insights for sophisticated students who are hoping to uncover the secrets of the koan tradition. At the same time, The Garden is jargon-free and uses personal stories to appeal to readers who are new to Buddhism. The theme of the book is simple: Accepting the unenlightened self with all its flaws is the most profound form of enlightenment.

Even with this clarity, finding a path into these old Zen stories is a challenge. They are designed to be roadblocks to intellectual understanding. Using personal memoire, the oral teachings of Zen, and meditation instruction, The Garden assists the reader in approaching the dialogues as spiritual exercises. The Blue Cliff Record contains an explosive power, but you can only access it by integrating its wisdom into your everyday experiences. As Zen Master Nanquan said, "Ordinary mind is the Way."

Monkfish Book Publishing, 9781948626491, 580pp.

Publication Date: November 16, 2021