The most comprehensive collection available of Nyogen Senzaki's brilliant teachings, Eloquent Silence brings new depth and breadth to our knowledge and appreciation of this historic figure. It makes available for the first time his complete commentaries on the Gateless Gate, one of the most important and beloved of all Zen texts, as well as on koans from the Blue Rock Annals and the Book of Equanimity. Amazingly, some of these commentaries were written while Senzaki was detained at an internment camp during WWII. Also included are rare photographs, poems reproduced in Senzaki's beautiful calligraphy and accompanied by his own translations, and transcriptions of his talks on Zen, esoteric Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, what it means to be a Buddhist monk, and other subjects. Roko Sherry Chayat has edited Nyogen Senzaki's words with sensitivity and grace, retaining his wry, probing style yet bringing clarity and accessibility to these remarkably contemporary teachings.
Nyogen Senzaki, a colleague of Dr. D.T. Suzuki, was one of the first Zen masters to come from Japan to the United States. He founded the first Zen organizations in the new world, in California. He died in 1958.
"Roko Sherry Chayat has produced an elegant and loving tribute to this unique figure (Senzaki), a lively mix of koan commentary, dharma talks, poetry, and personal correspondence illuminating both man and monk."
"Published fifty years after his passing, Eloquent Silence is the fullest compendium to date of materials of Nyogen Senzaki, the original Japanese Zen pioneer in America (he arrived in 1905) whose stark and enduring dedication to Dharma pervades its pages. The volume includes poems, photos, fascimile versions in English and Japanese, koan talks (all 48 cases of Mumonkan, among others), general dharma talks, anecdotes, and a valuable Senzaki translation of an autobiographical fragment of his teacher, Soyen Shaku, the first Japanese Master ever to visit America. Lovingly assembled and introduced by Roko Sherry Chayat, this book belongs in the library of every English reader of Zen, not only for its historical importance, but because it provides the contemporary student with a clear vision of what the practice has been and what it can be. Senzaki's words go straight to the heart of the truth, without adornment or qualification."
– Zoketsu Norman Fischer, former abbot, San Francisco Zen Center; founder and teacher, Everyday Zen Foundation; author of Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls
"A towering, yet often overlooked pioneer of Zen in America is brought back to life in this fine collection of his dharma talks, essays, and poems, fifty years after his death. Thanks to the efforts and skillful editing hand of Roko Chayat Roshi, Nyogen Senzaki's clear Zen eye of wisdom and poetic spirit shine through these pages. His wise counsel and cutting words are no less timely for readers and Zen practitioners of today."
– Ruben Habito, Roshi, Maria Kannon Zen Center, and author of Healing Breath: Zen for Christians and Buddhists in a Wounded World
"Nyogen Senzaki is one of twentieth-century Buddhism's most important figures, the first great Buddhist teacher to immerse himself without reservation in American culture, a poet and wanderer, a modern, progressive man and yet at heart a Zen traditionalist. His teachings are as fresh today as when they were given to his small band of pioneering American Zen students.This may be the last trove of unpublished Nyogen Senzaki material, and it includes his commentary on The Gateless Gate. If you haven't read any of Senzaki's teachings, you must. They're fresh, direct, and realized."