The history of Zen can be almost as perplexing as its cryptic koan. In many accounts of Zen history, it is hard to tell who is Chinese and who is Japanese, who lived in the 6th century and who in the 16th. Andy Ferguson attempts to clear the air once and for all. In Zen's Chinese Heritage
, he organizes all of the Chinese Zen masters from Bodhidharma at the turn of the 5th century to Huikai in the 13th century, presenting their core records and writings in chronological order by generation--25 generations in all. Drawing from Wudeng Huiyan
(Compendium of Five Lamps
) and other records, Ferguson translates the classic Zen teachings (including dialogues, anecdotes, and koan) in spare, straightforward language. He also presents an expertly arranged foldout lineage chart of the Zen ancestors, with cross-referencing by Japanese, Chinese pinyin
, and Chinese Wade-Giles transcriptions. Ferguson's work is not only a priceless treasury of Zen literature but also a road map to the history of Zen. --Brian Bruya
From Library Journal
It is something of a commonplace that Zen Buddhism is the property of Japan; this excellent and exhaustive book reminds us of the vast, though now neglected, patrimony of Buddhist spiritual knowledge that comes not from Japan but China. Ferguson's work is at once a history and an anthology of this fascinating tradition and includes many koans, anecdotes, and stories, as well as a wonderfully clear wallchart "Map of the Zen Ancestors." This splendid repository should give instruction and pleasure to the general reader as well as the professed Buddhist. Highly recommended for general and academic collections alike.
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