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Zen Classics: Formative Texts in the History of Zen Buddhism

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195175257
ISBN-10: 0195175255
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Editorial Reviews


"In distinct ways, each author opens up the narrow view of Zen to reveal a tradition inextricably linked to the broader Buddhist tradition. In this way, Zen Classics goes a long way in revising our understanding of Zen history, literature, and practice." --The Eastern Buddhist

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Steven Heine is Professor of Religious Studies and History and Director of Asian Studies at Florida International University. He has published extensively on Buddhism, including Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters (OUP, 2002), and Buddhism in the Modern World: Adaptations of an Ancient TraditionOUP, 2003), coedited with Charles S. Prebish. Dale S. Wright is David B. and Mary H. Gamble Professor of Religious Studies and Asian Studies at Occidental College. He is the coeditor, with Steven Heine, of The Koan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism (OUP, 2000) and The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts (OUP, 2004). Dr. Heine was recently awarded the Kauffman Professorship in Entrepreneurship Studies at the Florida International University Business School.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195175255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195175257
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,825,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on April 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a fine collection of articles overall. It is clearly a sequel to Heine and Wright's prior collection "The Zen Canon" and while it maintains the same high level of scholarship as before, the essays in "Zen Classics" are vastly improved in readability. That said, I would not recommend this book to anyone not already generally familiar with Zen Buddhism to some degree at least. But with the requisite background knowledge, these articles and the issues they address are really fascinating.

1. In "Guishan Jince (Guishan's Admonitions) and the Ethical Foundations of Chan Practice" Mario Poceski convincingly demonstrates the role of good old-fashioned monastic rules & regulations and scriptural study for a Chan (Zen) temple community. This is especially pertinent because the text in question is from the Hongzhou tradition (the one usually portrayed as iconoclastic and wild).

2. In "A Korean Contribution to the Zen Canon: The `Oga Hae Seorui' (Commentaries of Five Masters on the `Diamond Sutra')" Charles Muller analyzes a key text in the Son (Zen) tradition by the monk Gihwa. This is a multilayered text consisting of The Diamond Sutra, Five Commentaries on that Sutra (by Zongmi, Huineng, Fu Dashi, Yefu Daochuan, and Yuzhang Zongjing), and then Gihwa's own subcommentary on these latter. In the process, Muller argues that Korean Son is distinct from Japanese Zen in having such a scriptural orientation, an argument that seems overstated (Hakuin's commentary on the Heart Sutra (as translated by Norman Waddell) immediately comes to mind).

3. "Zen Buddhism as the Ideology of the Japanese State: Eisai and the `Kozen Gokokuron'" by Albert Welter is definitely one of the most important articles in this collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ted Biringer on January 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a third installment of a collection of essays exploring the current state of scholarship and the most recent discoveries concerning the history and classic literature of Zen Buddhism.

The first two installments of essays, The Koan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism, and The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts, both also edited by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright, explored the classic Zen texts with an emphasis on the classic Zen koan collections and their related literature, the records of the great Zen masters, the variety of 'styles' within the main Zen 'schools', and Zen texts containing monastic regulations.

The essays in this third collection illumine the literature and history of Zen by an exploring and evaluating some of the most influential Zen texts of China, Korea, and Japan. Once again, all of the latest discoveries and advances of modern scholarship are combined to reveal a rich and diverse treasure trove of insights into the wisdom, revelations, and humor of Zen.

This rich collection of original scholarship by the most qualified masters of the field, while detailed and exhaustive, is remarkably accessible and will be appreciated by readers on any level. It, like the earlier collections will be essential reading for every serious Zen student/practitioner for decades to come.
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