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on 7 September 2011
Who can not be interested in reading this book? Even if you are not a Buddhist, perhaps you should read it: the first chapters are simply among the best literature that I have read. The history of a poor child in China since he was born and how he could scape from misery, hunger, floods and wars to become a monk, then a soldier, again a monk, a scholar, a hermit...
If you are a Buddhist or you are interested in Buddhism, this book can show you who this man was: Master Sheng Yen. I think there exists another two biographies of Master Sheng Yen in Chinese, but this is the only one written in English so far.

The clear and modern style of his writing makes this book easily readable, even it makes you wish that the book was longer. It is also a good complement to his book Hoofprint of the Ox: Principles of the Chan Buddhist Path as Taught by a Modern Chinese Master.
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on 25 February 2010
I bought this book for someone else (their birthday) but secretly I wanted to read it myself! Having got it back from him I idly looked into it and then got gripped. As a tale of life's practicalities and the fortunes of another human it is riveting. That it also helped me understand the dynamics of Buddhist commitment was a lasting impression, after the book had come to an end and I lived in its afterglow. A book well worth reading.
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on 9 January 2012
I really enjoyed this absorbing autobiography. It is a fascinating account of a slice of history, a culture and more importantly a Master all of which are no longer with us. Most importantly it is an account of a the spiritual development of a great Master which given the hardships he had to overcome is inspirational. I would really recommend this book to everyone regardless of tradition.
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on 19 April 2013
I found this a most interesting autobiography told in a very direct way. I rationed it to make it last longer! Master Sheng Yen came from a very humble background but he has been able to help a great number of people through his teaching and translations of the dharma. There is much teaching in the book as his life unfolds as well. Definitely recommended.
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on 15 March 2010
A great book, moveing, clear and acessable. For anyone new to Chan Buddhism this will give you a real insight into the life of a Chan master, for old hands it will also serve as an example of a teacher who's achievements remain deeply profound and insperational. (sorry about the spelling).
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on 4 October 2014
Well written, inspiring and the story of a man whose beliefs held strong despite the adversities he faced. Whether you are Buddhist or not this is really a great book about a gentle spirit who never lost sight of who he was. Great, great read.
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on 3 September 2015
This got a bit boring but managed to finish it.
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