Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea, and Japan

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872209091
ISBN-10: 0872209091
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Featuring a carefully selected collection of source documents, this tome includes traditional teaching tools from the Zen Buddhist traditions of China (Ch'an), Korea (Son), and Japan (Zen), including texts created by women. The selections provide both a good feel for the varieties of Zen and an experience of its common core. . . . The texts are experiential teachings and include storytelling, poetry, autobiographies, catechisms, calligraphy, paintings, and koans (paradoxical meditation questions that are intended to help aspirants transcend logical, linguistic limitations). Contextual commentary prefaces each text. Wade-Giles transliteration is used, although Pinyin, Korean, Japanese, and Sanskrit terms are linked in appendixes. An insightful introduction by Arai contributes a religious studies perspective. The bibliography references full translations of the selections. A thought-provoking discussion about the problems of translation is included. . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels. --Choice



. . . [T]he Zen Sourcebook [is] an excellent cross-section of some of the most important texts in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Zen. The translations [are] well chosen from among the best available. . . . This is an excellent sourcebook for both beginners and serious practitioners. --John Daido Loori, Abbot, Zen Mountain Monastery



This is an excellent book . . . to be commended for its wide coverage; the Korean material is especially hard to find. . . . The short introductions to the selections are lucid, informative and focused, providing a good framework through which to understand the readings. Anyone who wants to work directly with translations of the primary texts, rather than textbook summaries, will find this book the most convenient available. --Brook Ziporyn, Northwestern University

About the Author

Stephen Addiss is Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Art History, University of Richmond.

Stanley Lombardo is Professor of Classics, University of Kansas.

Judith Roitman is Professor of Mathematics, University of Kansas.

Paula Arai is Associate Professor of Religion, Louisiana State University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (February 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872209091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872209091
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By P'ang on August 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
There are, of course, many collections that document the early days of Ch'an/Zen Buddhism. This is the first I've seen that includes talks and writings of Korean masters, as well as those from China and Japan.

The editors have created new translations of many of the texts. I found these translations to be energetic and spacious, opening new vistas into some of these old cases and records.

I read the book cover to cover and discovered a remarkable unity of teaching across tradition and country. Here's one excerpt, from the writings of the seminal Korean teacher, Chinul:

"The three worlds are burning with suffering like a house on fire. How long can we endure this? The best way to escape the wheel of suffering is to seek Buddhahood, but before you seek Buddhahood you should know that Buddha is nothing but your own mind. Do not look for your mind far away: it is within this body of yours."

Finally, the brief introduction contains the best short history of Zen that I've ever seen. Every serious Zen student should read this book, cover to cover.

[...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Johnny5 on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a wealth of material in it. There are selections from most of the great Chinese, Korean and Japanese masters, as well as selections of poems by Chinese nuns. There are introductions at the beginning of each chapter giving background on the particular master. I couldn't believe how much great material is in this book.

I do have a one complaint. The Wu-men-kuan doesn't have Wu-men's commentary, just his verses. His commentary is actually extremely valuable for koan practitioners. However, if you really want to work on Koans, you should get Zenkei Shibayama's excellent book, "The Gateless Barrier". And, you should work with a teacher.

As a simple, straightforward source of some excellent Zen material, this book is great. It's wonderful to have so much valuable material in one book. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So wonderful to have so many resources in one volume. An absolute must-have for anyone sincerely interested in Zen, and particularly those who practice.
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