Start reading Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings [Kindle Edition]

Andy Ferguson , Tenshin Reb Anderson , Steven Heine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.95
Kindle Price: $19.99
You Save: $6.96 (26%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
This price was set by the publisher

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $19.99  
Paperback $20.27  
Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Book Description

Zen's Chinese Heritage traces twenty-five generations of inlightened Buddhist teachers, supplementing their core teachings with history, biography, and poetry. The result is an intimate and profound human portrait of the enlightened Zen ancients, and an unprecedented look into the depths of the rich cultural heritage.

In this new edition with even more valuable material, Ferguson surveys generations of Zen masters, moving chronologically through successive generations of ancestral teachers, supplementing their core teachings with history, biography, and starkly beautiful poetry. In addition to giving the reader the engaging sense of the "family history" of Zen, this uniquely valuable book paints a clear picture of the tradition's evolution as a religious, literary, and historical force.

Editorial Reviews Review

The history of Zen can be almost as perplexing as its cryptic koan. In many accounts of Zen history, it is hard to tell who is Chinese and who is Japanese, who lived in the 6th century and who in the 16th. Andy Ferguson attempts to clear the air once and for all. In Zen's Chinese Heritage, he organizes all of the Chinese Zen masters from Bodhidharma at the turn of the 5th century to Huikai in the 13th century, presenting their core records and writings in chronological order by generation--25 generations in all. Drawing from Wudeng Huiyan (Compendium of Five Lamps) and other records, Ferguson translates the classic Zen teachings (including dialogues, anecdotes, and koan) in spare, straightforward language. He also presents an expertly arranged foldout lineage chart of the Zen ancestors, with cross-referencing by Japanese, Chinese pinyin, and Chinese Wade-Giles transcriptions. Ferguson's work is not only a priceless treasury of Zen literature but also a road map to the history of Zen. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal

It is something of a commonplace that Zen Buddhism is the property of Japan; this excellent and exhaustive book reminds us of the vast, though now neglected, patrimony of Buddhist spiritual knowledge that comes not from Japan but China. Ferguson's work is at once a history and an anthology of this fascinating tradition and includes many koans, anecdotes, and stories, as well as a wonderfully clear wallchart "Map of the Zen Ancestors." This splendid repository should give instruction and pleasure to the general reader as well as the professed Buddhist. Highly recommended for general and academic collections alike.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3385 KB
  • Print Length: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; Expanded edition (March 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Q9T8HC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,630 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovering Our Zen Heritage June 13, 2000
Zen's Chinese Heritage - The masters and their teachings, by Andrew Ferguson, is a long awaited reference for those wishing to appreciate the origins of the Zen tradition. As a long time practioner of Zen, the many illustrious and noteworthy ancestors of my tradition, have often been nothing more than a confusing collection of names, difficult to pronounce and even more difficult to appreciate as once real and living men and women. Andrew Ferguson's painstaking efforts at bringing to life these practioners of old, and providing us with history and anecdotes from their allusive lives, has enlivened my practice and given new meaning to the many wonderful and amazing persons I encounter in my koan study. This book is a wonderful guide and reference, especially with its accompanying lineage chart, for anyone who is either a practioner of this wonderful tradition or is solely interested in furthering their appreciation for the history of Zen.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Awaited Chan History Book November 13, 2004
I read this book back when I was living in a monastery. I found it to be extraordinary, the other monk that I was living with at the time was also amazed that such a book had been written and he was the one that order one for the monks and one for the nuns.

The book goes through the very beginnings of Chan (Chinese word for Zen) up through the "Golden Age" and beyond. I found very intriguing particularly to see that at one point in the Chan history that there was this point when so many enlightened masters had arose at once. Probably something we may never see again. You will find all Five Schools in here plus other schools that were not so prominent but had an impact as well.

Definitely a book worthy of your dollar.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Banquet December 20, 2002
By A Customer
I took months to read this book and only ever reached the stage of being an open-mouthed, lightning-struck bystander. Such a treasure is not often found in one life. I congratulate the authors on feeding us such juicy and tangy fruit.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia of Zen Lineage September 1, 2011
I think my review title sums this up perfect. Never could I image finding such a thorough book that outlines the lineage of zen. It is a great collection of information and something that I will frequently refer to. I enjoy reading and absorbing the brief stories about each one of these zen masters. Though it is a very lengthy text, I found it easy to read. Even taking a few minutes each day to read one section about one zen master is very rewarding. The information about these individual's lives are amazing and I enjoyed hearing about their given names after they had died. I actually spent some time with this author in China and found him to be very knowledgeable. Unfortunately it took me almost ten years after that trip before I actually bought this amazing book. I regret not buying it sooner but realize I am so blessed for having it now. I would highly recommended anyone interested in zen purchasing this book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST May 7, 2012
By nimenoe
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a 'must read' for ALL Zen/Chan students.
I started Buddhist practice 8 years ago; from the Theravada tradition to the Mahayana. After studying The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma by RedPine; I graduated to the 3 Volumne series of Chan/Zen Teachings by Charles Luk (Lu K'uan Yu). The unfolding history of our forefathers was not completely unknown to me, but a comprehensive understanding of the past was yet to be reached. This book will fill in any gaps, and I recommend it highly to all Chan/Zen practitioners. And of course other interested scholars.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By KCosta
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased and received an electronic copy of this book from Amazon. It arrived magically within moments. I'm reading it on my iPad using the free Kindle application. It's great, as the application and iPad allow me to highlight selected text, make notes, add bookmarks, lookup definitions and search the internet for related topics and then it allows me to return to the page from which I started. It is amazing technology. The book itself is a fantastic resource: organized, clearly written and well researched. I appreciate that the authors cite their sources and delineate between legend and historic probability--Bravo!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

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

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category