Cover image for Don't-know mind : the spirit of Korean Zen
Don't-know mind : the spirit of Korean Zen
Wu, Kwang.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Shambhala Publications, 2004.
Physical Description:
160 pages ; 22 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ9262.9.K7 W8 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"Don't-know mind" is our enlightened mind before ideas, opinions, or concepts arise to create suffering. Practicing with don't-know mind has long been a central concern of Korean Zen. Here, an American Zen master in the Korean lineage brings the teaching to life by using stories about the Chinese and Korean Zen masters as jumping-off points for his own teaching. Don't-Know Mind is a clear, direct, and heartfelt presentation of Zen teaching applicable to anyone, both for formal practice and for all the rest of life.

Author Notes

Richard Shrobe (Zen Master Wu Kwang) is the guiding teacher of the Chogye International Zen Center in New York City. For more than twenty-five years he has been teaching in the Kwan Um School of Zen, the largest Zen organization in America. He is a musician, a social worker, and a certified Gestalt psychotherapist in private practice. He is also the author of Open Mouth Already a Mistake.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Shrobe, a therapist who heads a Korean Zen Buddhist center in New York, guides students lightly through the history of that branch of Zen. He cites major teachers and their teachings, including poems, other writings and kong-ans (koans, or logic-defying riddles), then comments on and interprets them. This sketch of lineage provides a grounding glimpse of a spiritual tradition that works by challenging practitioners about their attachment to whatever grounds them or makes them know with certainty. Zen is that most slippery body of teachings about human knowing, and Shrobe does a fine job of unpacking stories and words for meaning without getting lost in the conceptualization that Zen debunks. Because explanation through concepts can be misleading in Zen, he "explains" key Korean Zen teachings through examples and stories from past master practitioners rather than using abstract ideas. ("Not explaining, not understanding is the transcendence of ideas, concepts, words and speech.") As is often the case with Zen teachers, this book is a transcribed series of talks. Shrobe's words lack the lyrical quality that often graces the spare prose of such Zen masters as Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, but his language possesses the sharp-edged simple diction characteristic of Zen teaching. ("`Still not far off' that is called Zen faith.") The book is short, but will be particularly helpful for Korean Zen students deepening their practice. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved