Through Forests of Every Color

Awakening with Koans

Through Forests of Every Color
Joan Sutherland
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An intimate spiritual and literary journey exploring how Zenkoansmake us permeable to the joys and the anguish of this life-and to the primordial mystery we glimpse behind the veil of the everyday. In Through Forests of Every Color, renowned Zen teacher Joan Sutherland reimagines thekoantradition with allegiance to the root spirit of thekoansand to their profound potential for vivifying, subverting, and sanctifying our lives. Herdecades of practicing with koansand of translating themfrom classical Chinese imbues this text witha warm familiarity, an ease still suffused with awe. Interlinked essays on "koansas art," "keeping company withkoans," and "walking thekoanway" intersperse with beautifully translated renditionsof dozens of traditional Zenkoans. Sutherland also shares innovativekoansculled from Western literature, as well as teachings on how to create idiosyncratic koans or "turning words" from the circumstances of one' s own life. "First honored is your yearning, the preparation made on faith that there is something that will receive you if you make yourself ready," writes Sutherland of thekoanseeker. "Bathed-attended to, washed free of complications-and then aspiring to the deepest kind of beauty-receptive, brave, dedicated, openhearted. Already you' ve begun to look like the thing you' re looking for. "
"Joan Sutherland has always seemed to be one of the ancient Chinese sages, reborn. They studied the mind and heart and found a way even in difficult times. She tells us the koans, healing stories, poems, and jokes that are so helpful to us now. It' s nice to be in the hands of a good writer too. If we' ll just step into the mystery, she' ll guide us on moonlit paths. She shows us a gate inside the obstacle, a path where there is no path. She is a true guide to the practices for our time. "-John Tarrant, author of Bring Me The Rhinoceros "Joan Sutherland' s Koan Salon in Santa Fe was something new, an innovation in a very old tradition that loved and respected both the ancestors and the participants. The field in that room was alive and expansive. Something enlightening was going on. I' m excited that this book will introduce many more people to her work. "-Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones "A clearer path or a better guide would be hard to find. Of course, you still won' t be getting out of this forest alive. "-Red Pine, author of Three Zen Sutras
JOAN SUTHERLAND,Roshiis a teacher in the koantradition and the first woman teacher in her lineage in the Americas. She is one of the founders of thePacific Zen School, an innovative contemporarykoanschool that also includes Pacific Zen Institute. Sutherland taught in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through Awakened Life, the community that gathered around her teachings there. She is also the founding teacher ofThe Open Source, a network of communitiesin New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and California. In 2014 she retired from working directly with students and now focuses onCloudDragon-The Joan Sutherland Dharma Works, established to organize and disseminate her teachings. She is the author of Vimalakirtiand the Awakened Heart, and her writing has appeared regularlyin Lion' s Roar and Buddhadharma magazines. She is a translator from classical Chinese, collaborating with John Tarrant on a new translation of theBlue Cliff Record(forthcoming from WisdomPublications). She currently lives on the coast of northern California.