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

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872209091
ISBN-10: 0872209091
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[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



"The timeless words of Zen masters running the gamut from the well-known (Dogen and Bodhidharma) to the more obscure (miscellaneous Chinese nuns) can be found in [this book]. . . The teachings, which come in many forms—poetry, letters, and artwork among them—serve as primary texts, while pithy introductions provide historical background on topics ranging from the declining influence of Zen masters in seventeenth-century Japan to Korean master So Sahn's famous army of five thousand monks.  This collection of Zen delights offers plenty of teachings to sink your teeth into, including this Blue Cliff Record koan: "A monk asked Yun-men, 'What is the teaching that goes beyond Buddhas and Patriarchs?'  Yun-men said, 'A sesame bun.'"  Bon appetit." —Tricycle



"I find that students from all academic backgrounds are able to access the material, yet it is scholarly and rigorous. I particularly appreciate the inclusion of the nuns' poetry, which other collections (such as The Roaring Stream) tend to ignore." —Alison Jameson, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Arizona


"This sourcebook seem to me to be a uniquely rich and valuable treasure trove."—Rachel Hadas, Department of English, Rutgers University


"[A]n invaluable collection of teachings from China, Korea, and Japan, revealing Zen's brilliant use of language to evoke the Buddha's realization." —Buddhadharma

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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Its a hard read because Buddhist Philosophy can be hard to understand. And once you start to understand, that's when you really dont understand. Good luck. Good book, great philosophy, hard read.
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