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Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings Paperback – 1 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications,U.S.; Expanded edition (1 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861716175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861716173
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 796,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The history of Zen can be almost as perplexing as its cryptic koan. In many accounts of Zen history, it is often hard to tell who is Chinese and who is Japanese, who lived in the sixth century and who in the 16th. Andy Ferguson attempts to clear the air once and for all. In his Zen's Chinese Heritage, he organises all of the Chinese Zen masters from Boddhidharma at the turn of the fifth 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, from dialogues to anecdotes to koan, in spare, straightforward language. Included is an expertly arranged fold-out 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 is a road map to the history of Zen. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ShiDaDao Ph.D on 20 July 2011
Format: Paperback
This is probably the most significant work of translation concerning Chinese Ch'an Buddhism, since the work of Charles Luk (1898-1978). The premise of this book is simple; the form of Buddhism commonly known today as 'Zen' is in fact the Japanese version of a far older tradition. This book examines the Chinese origins of Zen, (called 'Ch'an' in China), through the presentation of Chinese Ch'an Buddhist texts. These texts, by and large, have been translated into English before, but generally speaking, these earlier renditions are either long out of print, difficult to acquire, or contain only partially translated texts.

The paperback (2000) edition contains 518 numbered pages and as well as a Foreword (by Rob Anderson), a Preface, a Technical Note an Introduction and an Appendix, is separated into 3 parts which record 25 generations of Ch'an masters (the first 6 generations of which are considered 'Patriarchs'), from the Indian Bodhidharma - who first brought Ch'an Buddhism to China, to master Wumen of the later Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Part 1) The Legendary Period (480-755) - Ch'an Master Generations 1 - 7.
Part 2) The Classical Period (755-950) - Ch'an Master Generations 8 - 15.
Part 3) The Literary Period (950-1260) - Ch'an Master Generations 16 - 25.

The core text used for this translation is the 'Wudeng Huiyan' (Compendium of Five Lamps) compiled by Ch'an master Dachuan Lingyin Puji (1179-1253), of Lingyin Monastery, Hangzhou, China. The collection begins Bodhidharma (died around 530CE), and ends with Ch'an master Wumen Huikai (1183-1260), famous in his own right for the collection of 48 'gong-an' (Japanese 'koan') he compiled in 1229 entitled the 'Wumenguan', or 'No Barrier Gate'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tao on 8 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am amazed by this book, I have read in excess of thirty Zen books in the last five years and like you pratcice Zazen daily. If you haven't read this get it, its a monster book, a good two inches thick It starts way back in the mists of Chinese Zen with Bodhidharma and from there you are transported through the whole linage of Zen. This book is a true wonder of Zen and I can't recommend it highly enough. Andy Ferguson I take my hat of to you, I have never met you but I have the greatest admiration for any man that can gather so much under one cover, must have taken him years..If your an aspiring Zen monk...buy this and discover the masters are truly alive and well!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the recommendation of the leader of our Chan meditation group in Cardiff, Eddy Street. It's been very interesting. Many of the stories are quite similar but there are some truely great stories. There is a nice pull out chart and no analysis of the stories really. While it's a bit pricy, there is so much material that I think I will be reading in for years.
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By telis on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a must have for everyone who seriously studies Zen and wants to 'see' more about and to contemplate. I say: wonderful, marvelous, every superlative is not enough for this excellent work, bravo!Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 0 reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Discovering Our Zen Heritage 13 Jun. 2000
By JOSEPH DIVINCENZO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Long Awaited Chan History Book 13 Nov. 2004
By T. D. Schott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Banquet 20 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Encyclopedia of Zen Lineage 2 Sept. 2011
By Jeremiah L. Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
MUST 7 May 2012
By nimenoe - Published on Amazon.com
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.
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