October 22, 2014

Stuart Lachs

"O ne of the most perceptive critical voices in contemporary  Zen/Chan, Stuart Lachs gives us in-depth looks at many facits of contemporary Zen Buddhism. His voice comes out of decades of immersion in Zen Buddhism, giving him an inside view that few, if any, other scholars can claim. Like a magician revealing the "magic" of his acts, Mr. Lachs brings us closer than most dare to the primitive psychological forces that are shaping the nature of Zen Buddhism in the West, forces that have endured for thousands of years because of thier ability to pervade our subconscious without fear of detection. Only an awakened mind can see into the nature of "the beast" and have the courage to examine it, address it, and share his observations. The very nature of Zen requires that we delve into every nook and cranny, expose whatever we find, and use whatever we learn to help others see what they might otherwise miss. In this, Stuart Lachs is a master." -- Chuan Zhi

Hua-t’ou: A Method of Zen Meditation

by Stuart Lachs

Published Mar 09, 2012

There are two different ways of understanding and actually practicing Zen. These two different ways are termed in Chinese pen chueh and shih-chueh respectively. The term pen chueh refers to the belief that one’s mind is from the beginning of time fully enlightened, while shih-chueh refers to the belief that... Read more

An Interview with Stuart Lachs

by Stuart Lachs

Published Jun 14, 2011

Stuart Lachs was born in 1940 and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Brooklyn College, part of the NYC college system, where he received a B.A. and M.S., majoring in mathematics. He worked at Bell Labs in the mathematical physics department for a year and afterward, in the ship design... Read more

When the Saints Go Marching In: Modern Day Zen Hagiography

by Stuart Lachs

Published Mar 15, 2011

This paper takes a critical look at recently published biographies of two modern day Chan/ Zen teachers in America. The popular American magazine “Tricycle: A Buddhist Review” printed both biographies, making them widely available to the diverse American Buddhist communities and the interested general reader. Both biographies were presented as... Read more

The Aitken-Shimano Letters

by Vladimir K. and Stuart Lachs

Published Nov 03, 2009

Following is a summation of the extraordinary story, as explicated in the Aitken letters, of a Zen master teaching in America for some 35 years, who has been accused of sexual misconduct numerous times and yet was never called to task nor properly investigated. A thorough, open and public inquiry... Read more

Dressing the Donkey

by Stuart Lachs

Published Jun 28, 2009

Modern day Zen masters/roshi, while enjoying the decided advantage of being part of a tradition that imputes to them quasi-divine qualities, suffer the disadvantage of living in an age of widespread information. Thus, while the image of the Zen masters of the past bask in the unquestioned glow of hagiography,... Read more

Coming Down from the Zen Clouds

by Stuart Lachs

Published Jun 19, 2009

Zen Buddhism became widely known in America through D. T. Suzuki's writings, which promoted a non-traditional, modernist interpretation of Zen. Suzuki was a Japanese writer and intellectual who had experienced Zen training as a layman, and who, writing in the nationalistic intellectual climate of early twentieth-century Japan, emphasized a Zen... Read more

Means of Authorization: Establishing Hierarchy in Ch'an/Zen Buddhism in America

by Stuart Lachs

Published Jun 19, 2009

Ch'an/Zen Buddhism has become widely accepted in the West during the past fifty years. At the head of Zen institutions sits the person of the Master/roshi. Through the mechanisms of sectarian histories, ritual performance, a special language, koans, mondos,[2] and most importantly through the ideas of Dharma transmission and Zen... Read more

Introduction to my Articles

by Stuart Lachs

Published Jun 19, 2009

Introduction to my Articles5.29 KB26/01/2012, 12:42   I have been a Zen practitioner for roughly forty years. Many years ago I became interested in viewing Zen from a scholarly point of view as a way to explain the great disparity I witnessed between how the Zen institution claimed its leaders behaved and... Read more

Richard Baker: The Myth of the Zen Roshi

by Stuart Lachs

Published Jun 19, 2009

Most people think of Zen as being iconoclastic, anti-authoritarian, simple, direct, and unattached. Its raison d'etre is to produce people who possess a fundamental insight into life, people who are not fooled by appearances or ideas. The fact is that almost everything about Zen's presentation, practice, and rituals is aimed... Read more