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: $9.71 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by tamarbooks
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Paperback in good condition. Text is clean, cover shows a lot of wear.
Add to Cart
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"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$20.24
$14.95 $7.82

Frequently Bought Together

How the Swans Came to the Lake + Power in Helping Profession + How Can I Help?
Price for all three: $43.61

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

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: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 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: #353,036 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
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Kowalski on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is indeed an ecyclopedic view of Buddhism in America, but I feel the author is a bit too uncritical in drawing from some of his sources. Or to put it another way, he's not drawing from enough sources.
There's a long section on Ms. Blavatsky. There's alot to be said here, but I can't help but get the feeling that the whole Spiritualist movement needs more criticism than he gives it.
Another, IMO, glaring deficiency is Field's introjected re-rendering of why Philip Kapleau came to break with Yasutani-roshi. It CAN'T be purely over "sutras in English or Japanese," and no doubt is much deeper culturally than merely an attempt to "Westernize" certain forms of services. What Fields doesn't quite come out and say - probably because he doesn't really know- is that the Chinese versions of sutras & dharanis are themselves translitterated from Sanskrit! (He does get it straight that the Japanse/Korean ones are translitterated from Chinese). What this all means is basically summed up by what my Chinese wife told me when we saw a video of Chinese monks chanting and I asked what they were chanting: she said "I don't know!"
Kapleau must have known this- or should have.
More stuff I'd like to know: why Sambokyodan broke from the Soto sect, and more up to date stuff. I will admit as of this time I haven't found out the stuff about Richard Baker.
My preference, as an American Buddhist, is to present the history of Buddhism in America warts and all. That might clash with more Eastern notions of Buddhism, but I do think more accuracy is needed in a history.
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

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?