Unlocking the Zen Koan

Unlocking the Zen Koan

A New Translation of the Zen Classic Wumenguam

Translator: Thomas Cleary

Select Format:

Buy from Our Retail Partners


Elusive and enigmatic, zen koans have long puzzled people with their surprise meanings hidden in simple tales. Now one of America’s finest translators of Asian philosophy provides a brillian new translation of the 12th century Wumenguan, the most popular of Chinese Zen koans. In Unlocking the Zen Koan (originally published as No Boundary), Thomas Cleary translates directly from the Chinese and interprets Zen Master Wumen’s text and commentaries in verse and prose on the inner meaning of the koans. Cleary then gives us other great Chinese Zen masters’ comments in prose or verse on the same koan. Cleary’s probing, analytic commentaries wrestle with meaning and shading, explaining principles and practices. Five different steps to follow in reading the koan being with its use as a single abrupt perception, and lead progressively to more intellectual readings, illustrating the fixations which stand in the way of a true Zen understanding.

Additional information

Weight 0.6625 lbs
Dimensions 8.240 × 5.250 × 0.700 in


Trim Size: 5-1/4 x 8-1/4
Page Count: 240
Release Date: 1997-09-24
Paperback 9781556432477

Have Questions?

If you have questions about downloading or accessing digital files, please refer to our Tech Support page.

For general inquiries, please see our Customer Service page.

To request a review copy, please email publicity@northatlanticbooks.com.

North Atlantic Books may earn a commission on any sales generated via third-party referral links.

Back to Top