How the Swans Came to the Lake and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $29.95
  • Save: $10.26 (34%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
How the Swans Came to the... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

How the Swans Came to the Lake Paperback – July 7, 1992


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$32.95
Paperback
"Please retry"
$19.69
$15.00 $3.95
Best%20Books%20of%202014
$19.69 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

How the Swans Came to the Lake + Power in the Helping Professions
Price for both: $31.48

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 3 Rev Upd edition (July 7, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877736316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877736318
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"If there is a lake, the swans would go there."

So said the 16th Karmapa when asked why he visited America in 1976. Of course, the Karmapa wasn't the first swan to go to the lake. In a book of immense scope, Rick Fields surveys the history of Buddhism in America from the quasi-legendary Fu-sang in the sixth century to Asian immigrant communities to the latest trends in American Buddhism. Writing as a storyteller as much as a historian, Fields takes us back to the earliest European contacts with Buddhism, most notably, Sir William Jones, who was just about to go to America on the recommendation of Ben Franklin, when at the last minute, fortunately, he chose India. His work would influence the American Transcendentalists and eventually the great Theosophist and first American convert to Buddhism, Henry Steel Olcott. A sympathetic writer, Fields is also meticulously inclusive. Besides the obvious transmitters, like D.T. Suzuki and Philip Kapleau, Fields traces the forgotten influences of Paul Carus, Ernest Fenollosa, and Dharmapala. One memorable story is of the ex-Navy submarine mechanic Heng Ju, who walked, three steps then a kowtow, over and over, all the way from San Francisco to Seattle for a berry pie. Fields has countless other stories that make How the Swans Came to the Lake a priceless contribution not only to Buddhism in America but to Buddhism itself. --Brian Bruya

About the Author

Rick Fields is the author of several books, including Chop Wood, Carry Water and The Code of the Warrior. He was formerly the editor of The Vajradhatu Sun, an international journal of Buddhism, and is currently the editor-at-large of Tricycle: A Buddhist Review.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
5
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 14 customer reviews
Indeed, it is an excellent book and I quickly bought myself a copy.
M. Tran
Of course, the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 is surveyed, along with figures such as Paul Carus and particularly the Zen authority D.T. Suzuki.
Steven H Propp
A great read and highly recommended to any interested in the (recent and fairly ancient, too) history of Buddhism.
Kieran Fox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Silva on December 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Wow -- only five reviews for a uniquely priceless 400 page history of Buddhism in America? Not to mention what's likely the best 12 page summary in print of Siddhartha Buddha's life and legacy? Erudite American Buddhist author and old hippie character Rick Fields (1942-1999) left an enthusiastic storyteller's history that brings to life every remotely key player -- starting even far before the unforgettable English rogue scholar Sir William Jones (1736-1794) singlehandedly sent the first translations from the East to England and our American Transcendentalists. Chinese Buddhist monks in Mexico in A.D. 458, the real kindly Quetzalcoatl? If you think the history of Buddhism in America started at the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 and can be told largely through D. T. Suzuki, Jack Kerouac, Alan Watts, Shunryu Suzuki, Tarthang Tulku and Chogyam Trungpa -- think again. Here is every gossipy thing you ever wanted to know and more about how and why Buddhism came to America, up to and beyond the Roshi Baker scandals (that mercifully ended the "silent denial of lies and abuse" and pointed the way to practice increasingly integrated with psychotherapy and more). The author's note and acknowledgments are priceless in themselves. (I confess to a long time habit of reading acknowledgments and indexes first.) Very highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John P. Nemick on April 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've been interested in the history of Buddhism and zen in the west for a number of years and was fortunate to pick out "How the Swans Came to the Lake" from the library at Mt. Baldy Zen Center in March.
I found the work to be a well told story. The detail of the common threads and relationships is fascinating. I really think this book is an important piece for anyone interested in how this wonderful flowering of the Dharma in the West was planted and fed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
A great read not only for those interested in Buddhim but in American social history as well. In a scholarly, yet engaging writing style, the author takes the reader from Pre-Columbian America to the Present with sharply-drawn and vivid characters and their searches. A subject that could easily be dry comes to life and kept this readers' pages turning.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
I had read Surya Das's Awakening the Buddha Within and several other books on Buddhism from a western/American perspective. By the time I got to this book I was ready for it, and I could not put it down (literally; I got out of bed in the middle of the night to read more chapters). I have so much respect for this author, for having provided us with such a thought-provoking and comprehensive study. If you are interested in Buddhism, you must read it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Rick Fields (1942-1999) has written several other books about Buddhism (e.g., Chop Wood, Carry Water, The Code of the Warrior in History, Myth, and Everyday Life), as well as served as editor of several Buddhist periodicals. In this book (the 3rd revised edition was published in 1992), he has revised and expanded what was already the finest one-volume history of Buddhism in America.

Fields begins with a very helpful survey of Buddhism (including the life of Siddhartha Gautama; the migration of Buddhism from India to China, Japan, etc.), to its early days in England and this country, led by men like Sir William Jones (1746-1794), the founder of the Asiatic Society. The influence of Buddhism upon the Transcendentalist thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott is covered in an entire chapter. The immigration of Chinese and Japanese immigrants to this country (to build the railroads, etc.)---along with the religion they brought with them---is covered in sympathetic detail. Then (perhaps somewhat surprisingly), Fields covers the rise of the Theosophical Society and its unique (and quite heterodox) version of "Esoteric Buddhism"; Theosophy, however, was a very influential factor if making Buddhism better-known in this country. Of course, the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 is surveyed, along with figures such as Paul Carus and particularly the Zen authority D.T. Suzuki.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kieran Fox on March 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am only about halfway through this book but can already say that it is an excellent read and very informative. It is full of interesting little pieces of Buddhist history you're unlikely to find elsewhere (such as a brief sketching of the history of Buddhism coming to Hawaii - I had never even thought to look into such a topic, personally). Further, and much to Fields's credit, he tends to outline the characters involved (Jones, Thoreau, Blavatsky, Dharmapala, etc.) in a very intimate way such that even in a brief chapter you feel you've gotten to know them, as well as absorbed the key historical part they've played in bringing Buddhism to the West.

One star is taken off because I agree with another reviewer: the book is very uncritical of the various teachers and movements. Not that it is lauding them all, but in the chapter on Blavatsky for instance, he seems mighty credulous regarding what was generally considered (even in its own time) as a lot of charlatanism. Fields of course claims to be writing a "narrative," not a "critical," history, but still, a little more judgment on his part would have improved the book. Maybe he is simply attempting in a Buddhist way to refrain from judgments; or maybe his involvement with the Shambhala and various Zen schools in America (many of them mired in controversies from drug and alcohol abuse to rape) forced him to realize that criticizing all schools equally would not necessarily reflect favorably on his own teachers...

Either way this is a well-written and interesting history of the latest 'transmission' of Buddhadharma to a new land - this time crossing not just mountains, but oceans. A great read and highly recommended to any interested in the (recent and fairly ancient, too) history of Buddhism.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?