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Silent Illumination


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Our natural awakening-or buddha-nature-is inherent within all of us and waiting to be realized

About the Author

GUO GU is a Chan teacher and founder of the Tallahassee Chan Center. Professor of Buddhist studies at the Florida State University and author of The Essence of Chan, Passing through the Gateless Barrier, and many articles, he is one of the most distinguished Chan teachers of our time. Guo Gu is one of Master Sheng Yen's senior disciples and assisted the master in leading activities at the Chan Meditation Center, Dharma Drum Retreat Center, and Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan, and other locations in Europe and Asia.


“Buddhist readers will learn much from Guo Gu’s intellectually robust yet pragmatic introduction to silent illumination Chan.”—Publishers Weekly

“Guo Gu’s work with Shambhala Publications is a terrific service to the gradual growth of knowledge about Chan Buddhism. . . . Silent Illumination provides a poetic and fascinating articulation of a spiritual path that should otherwise be impossible to communicate in words or concepts.”—Buddhistdoor Global

“A subtle, nuanced, informed, and invaluable book. . . . Let us welcome Silent Illumination as a long-awaited and culturally enlightened course-correction for American Zen.”—Reading Religion

“In Silent Illumination, Guo Gu offers a strikingly fresh perspective on the significance of this phrase, grounded in the Chinese Chan perspective, compellingly reintroducing silent illumination and the teaching of Zen Master Hongzhi to the English-speaking world. For Guo Gu, silent illumination is not a specific practice but a synonym for buddha nature. Silent Illumination, then, includes the whole path of practice and realization. If you think you know what silent illumination is, think again! And read this book!”—Dōshō Port, author of The Record of Empty Hall

“A crystal clear and powerful book. Guo Gu’s teachings and the Chan lineage on which he rests come through with eloquence and generosity. I recommend this book to those new to practice and those deeply experienced as well.”—Narayan Helen Liebenson, author of The Magnanimous Heart: Compassion and Love, Loss and Grief, Joy and Liberation

“Guo Gu has given us a marvelous book, saturated with the sweetness of practice, of silence, and a generous appreciation of the gift of being alive. Here we have a clear, elegant, and refined picture of a major Chan lineage, with excellent translations included. There is a glow about everything Guo Gu writes. And this is a good time for such a book to appear—so that we can remember the living paths of the old masters in our time, when their wisdom is especially needed.”—John Tarrant, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life

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