The Way of Ch'an: Essential Texts of the Original Tradition (Paperback)

The Way of Ch'an: Essential Texts of the Original Tradition By David Hinton Cover Image
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This sweeping collection of new translations paints a brilliant picture of the development of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism, China’s most radical philosophical and meditative tradition.

In this landmark anthology of some two dozen translations, celebrated translator David Hinton shows how Ch'an (Japanese: Zen)—too long considered a perplexing school of Chinese Buddhism—was in truth a Buddhist-inflected form of Taoism, China's native system of spiritual philosophy. The texts in The Way of Ch’an build from seminal Taoism through the “Dark-Enigma Learning” literature and on to the most important pieces from all stages of the classical Ch’an tradition. Guided by Hinton’s accessible introductions, readers will encounter texts and authors including: 

  • I Ching (c. 12th century BCE)
  • Lao Tzu (c. 6th century BCE
  • Bodhidharma (active c. 500-550 CE)
  • Sixth Patriarch Prajna-Able (Hui Neng, 638-713)
  • Cold Mountain (Han Shan: c. 8th-9th centuries)
  • Yellow-Bitterroot Mountain (Huang Po, d. 850)
  • Blue-Cliff Record (c. 1040)                                                                 
Through this steadily deepening and transformative reading experience, readers will see the profound and intricate connections between native Chinese philosophy, Taoism, and Ch’an. Contemporary Zen students and practitioners will never see their tradition in the same way again.

About the Author

DAVID HINTON has published numerous books of poetry and essays, and many translations of ancient Chinese poetry and philosophy—all informed by an abiding interest in deep ecological thinking. This widely acclaimed work has earned Hinton a Guggenheim Fellowship, numerous fellowships from NEA and NEH, and both of the major awards given for poetry translation in the United States: the Landon Translation Award (Academy of American Poets) and the PEN American Translation Award. Most recently, Hinton received a lifetime achievement award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Praise For…

Praise for David Hinton’s Previous Ch’an Books

“Hinton’s deep understanding of the Taoist roots of Ch’an shine a light on the Zen practice of today, taking us back in a thrilling way beyond the Japanese rigor and aesthetics, beyond the mythical T’ang Dynasty flourishing of Ch’an’s great ancestors, back to its Taoist roots in the first millennium BCE—and even beyond them, into the mists of its Paleolithic origins.”—Henry Shukman Roshi (on China Root)

“Hinton is after . . . depth and boundlessness.”—The New York Review of Books (on Awakened Cosmos)

“I love this book! . . . unique and powerful . . . opens doors to the heart of Zen.”—Roshi Joan Halifax (on No-Gate Gateway)

“David Hinton is a fabulous translator. This book is luminous and transparent. You can see the light of the original Chinese masters shining through.”—John Tarrant Roshi (on No-Gate Gateway)

“A national treasure . . . Hinton cracks open the cosmos and takes you into the depths of the mind.”—Lion’s Roar

Product Details
ISBN: 9781611809237
ISBN-10: 1611809231
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication Date: July 25th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English