Zen's Chinese Heritage
www.southmountaintours.com, December 12, 2006
Zen's Chinese Heritage surveys twenty-five generations of enlightened Buddhist teachers through brief biographies and starkly beautiful prose and poetry from Chinese Zen sources. Andrew Ferguson moves chronologically through successive generations of Zen masters, supplementing their core teachings with history, biography, and poetry. The result is an organic understanding of the tradition's evolution as a religious, literary, and historical force.
Capturing the austere beauty of the Zen masters' manner of teaching -- their earthy style, humor, and humanity -- Zen's Chinese Heritage is an intimate and profound human portrait of the enlightened Zen ancients, and an unprecedented look into the depths of this rich cultural heritage. Includes a fold-out lineage chart of the Zen ancestors.
Praise & Reviews
"An intimate and human portrait of the enlightened Zen ancients and a look into the depths of their rich cultural heritage. The stories here offer opportunities to free ourselves from our habitual states and aid in the process of liberation. бн Despite the writings of many who have introduced Zen to Western readers, the surface of its history and teachings has barely been scratched. This volume goes a long way towards filling that gap." -- The Beacon
"Zen's Chinese Heritage is a great reference book. There is much to love about it. It comes with a wonderful foldout Lineage Chart of the Zen ancestors. Studying this chart alone teaches much about Zen. ... In addition to an excellent bibliography (including Internet resources) and index, Ferguson also includes three tables of all the major Zen ancestors. ... A gold mine of primary source material -- rich, and wonderful for browsing." -- Education About Asia
"This is an indispensable reference for any student of Buddhism. Ferguson has given us an impeccable and very readable translation." -- John Daido Loori, Abbot, Zen Mountain Monastery
"This important book makes clear the deep past of Zen. Clear and rich, Zen's Chinese Heritage enriches our understanding of Buddhism." -- Joan Halifax, Roshi
"A great cover-to-cover read... Each reader will no doubt be moved and delighted by different accounts in this compendium... Will surely join Sazaki and Miura's Zen Dust and John Wu's The Golden Age of Zen as an indispensable reference work for Zen students, a window onto the struggles and humor and deadly-serious play of our forbears." -- Zen Bow: A Publication of the Rochester Zen Center
"[Andy Ferguson] 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. 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, it's also a road map to the history of Zen." -- Amazon.com Delivers Eastern Religion
"This excellent and exhaustive book reminds us of the vast, 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. This splendid repository should give instruction and pleasure to the general reader as well as the professed Buddhist. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal
"Very Good!" --TODAY'S BOOKS "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.
"An ambitious and successful addition to the tool kit available to English-speaking students of Zen. ... The words and actions of more than one hundred and sixty of the most important masters are presented. ... after the seventh generation both masters and schools start to proliferate rapidly, so it is helpful to find a large fold-out lineage chart in the back of the book. ... Together, the book and the lineage chart provide a unique insight into early development of the Zen style and the subtle differences between schools and practitioners, but many will be new, and even the best-known quotations will take on new significance when viewed in their full historical context. The author makes no assumptions about the reader's prior knowledge of Buddhism or Chinese history, and all potentially confusing references are explained. ... A thoroughly enjoyable book which can be recommended to students, practitioners, and anyone else interested in learning more about traditional Zen teachings. The book is equally well-suited to sequential reading or dipping into at random."--The Middle Way
"If you read stories about the Chinese pioneers of Zen, you will know how confusing it can be not to know who is who, and how they relate to each other. This book aims to solve the mystery by covering all the major figures chronologically, over more than seven centuries. After a good general introduction, each is introduced and put into context, followed by extracts from their teachings. It is particularly valuable that the book is so thorough, covering 167 people. The book also comes with a large, efficient family tree and chart (also available separately) that clearly shows the lineages." -- DharmaLife
Andy Ferguson, Author: A member of the San Francisco Zen Center, Andrew Ferguson is a writer and translator who lives in Petaluma, California, USA.