Over the last 1,000 years, Zen teachers have created collections of stories to inspire, guide and ultimately awaken practitioners. The earliest of these were known as "lamp" collections because they illuminated the great way.
However women were virtually absent from these collections (true even for more recent versions). (I created Zen Women to help remedy this shortcoming.)
At last a volume has appeared that provides a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in full representation of Zen training: The Hidden Lamp. Here's a brief description:
The Hidden Lamp is a collection of one hundred koans and stories of Buddhist women from the time of the Buddha to the present day. This revolutionary book brings together many teaching stories that were hidden for centuries, unknown until this volume. These stories are extraordinary expressions of freedom and fearlessness, relevant for men and women of any time or place. In these pages we meet nuns, laywomen practicing with their families, famous teachers honored by emperors, and old women selling tea on the side of the road.
Each story is accompanied by a reflection by a contemporary woman teacher—personal responses that help bring the old stories alive for readers today—and concluded by a final meditation for the reader, a question from the editors meant to spark further rumination and inquiry. These are the voices of the women ancestors of every contemporary Buddhist.
I'll post a full review of The Hidden Lamp later this year. In the meantime, I hope you'll spend time with this wonderful volume, letting its light shine brightly!