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Comment: Condition: As New condition., As new condition dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover. / Edition: First Edition, 1st Printing Publisher: Counterpoint / Pub. Date: 2012-05-08 Attributes: Book, 359pp pp / Stock#: 2068496 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture Hardcover – May 8, 2012


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Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture + Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582438250
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582438252
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andy Ferguson is a graduate of the Chinese Language and Literature program at the University of Oregon. He has lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan, and has traveled extensively in East and Southeast Asia since 1978. He has organized and led numerous tours to visit Chinese Zen history sites. He lives in Petaluma, California.

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Customer Reviews

Many interesting and very personal observations and adventures here.
SeaSea
Tracking Bodhidharma is Andy Ferguson's delightful story about how he traveled throughout China to learn about the legendary founder of Zen, Bodhidharma.
Andre Doshim Halaw
I learn't nothing new of any significance on the subject from this book .
Tourist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andre Doshim Halaw on June 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I first received Tracking Bodhidharma in the mail, I quickly scanned its jacket for details about this book I had been very excited to read. I groaned the moment I saw the words "Travel Narrative," expecting the book to be some half-baked story about a Zen enthusiast backpacking through China.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Tracking Bodhidharma is Andy Ferguson's delightful story about how he traveled throughout China to learn about the legendary founder of Zen, Bodhidharma. The book's subtitle, A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture, plays a large role in the the story, as much of the book examines modern China. Ferguson, also the author of Zen's Chinese Ancestors, weaves a fascinating tale about contemporary Communist China, Chinese Buddhism recovering from the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, Emperor Wu, and of course, Bodhidharma.

Ferguson writes with a true storyteller's voice, and as the author of Zen's Chinese Heritage and a fluent Chinese speaker, he has the chops to write about China. As a practitioner of Buddhism for many decades and a frequent visitor to China, rest assured that Ferguson is fully qualified to write this book.

Like few Zen titles, Tracking Bodhidharma is addictive; I tore through its 350 pages in three or four days. For someone who knows very little about China, other than Taoism and Chan, I was fascinated to learn about modern China. Since much of the book follows Ferguson as he visits temples and other holy Buddhist sites, it's both fast-paced and extremely informative.

My favorite parts of the book concentrate on Emperor Wu, who appears as little more than a side note in Zen history. Wu's influence on Chinese, and almost all East Asian, Buddhism was vast; on average he built 10 temples per year.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By toronto on July 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
I loved the author's other book on the Zen Heritage, and looked forward to his travel insights. Tracking Bodhidharma is a mixed bag of a book. It starts off as a very interesting glimpse into contemporary China from someone who is obviously very knowledgeable as an experienced tour guide, but after a while it becomes one bus ride and one lost ruin after another. Some of this reflects the dismal state of modernity's bulldozer, destroying and "improving" as it goes. The reader certainly gets a feeling of the endless ups and downs of Chinese history over millenia, but the overall picture is wearying and depressing. We lose interest in the search for Bodhidharma and the author's theme of Imperial Way Buddhism versus the anti-authority Zen of Bodhidharma. One reason for this is that there is nothing in the book on the author's own spiritual journey or understanding -- it is all him as camera or tour guide. Very few readers are that interested in the very detailed ins and outs of Emperor Wu or the placement of this lost temple or that; for better or worse, readers are interested in the struggles of human beings like themselves. We get little meetings with Chinese people and foreigners wandering around China, all of which liven the book up. But where is the author himself? We get virtually nothing of his interior life in this book.

The other problem with the book is that there are attempts here and there at bringing in the theme of whether Buddhism in Japan had responsibility for the militarism that led to World War II.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jaime Andrews on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a masterful monograph on the key figure in Chinese Zen, a person who ought never have been overlooked. Bodhidharma was the "evangelist" of Zen (or Chuan) in China. This book looks into his life and his influence, providing an invaluable resource for any interested in the history of Zen.

The the first of two other key figures who are woven into this history is Daoxuan, Chinese Zen's foremost historian and the biographer of Bodhidharma; of his writings Ferguson makes extensive use, for they are the most reliable and lease "mythologizing" accounts of Bodhidharma's life. The other main historical personage in this book is Emperor Wu. Inevitably, religion and philosophy has a political dimension. This book traces the development of Zen in China as a political movement. Furthermore, it analyzes more modern history in the East in the light of this early politicization of Zen.

Finally, the book looks at influence of Zen in the arts: poetry, fine art, and prose. The contributions of Zen in the arts cannot be understated. Since the late 18th Century, Eastern art has been influential in the West as well. So this again provides a historical perspective that is necessary to understanding the encounter of the two cultures.

For those with little experience or knowledge of Zen or Buddhism in general, this book will provide an invaluable entryway. For those with deeper experience and knowledge, this book will provide a new perspective -- perhaps more grounded in history, and less mythological or ethereal. Highly recommended for any with a historical interest in Zen or Buddhism in general. Those with an interest in the history of Buddhism in the West might also want to check out Batchelor's excellent The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhism and Western Culture.
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