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ZEN Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen

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ZEN Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen

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    Available in PDF Format | ZEN Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen.pdf | English
    James Ford(Author)
Zen Master Who? is the first-ever book to provide a history of Zen's arrival in North America, surveying the shifts and challenges to Zen as it finds its Western home. With the exception of parts of Rick Field's How the Swans Came to the Lake, there has been no previous attempt to write this chronicle.
James Ishmael Ford begins by tracing Zen's history in Asia, looking at some of Zen's most seminal figures--the Sixth Ancestor Huineng, Dogen Zenji (the founder of the Soto Zen school), Hakuin Ekaku (the great reformer of the Rinzai koan way), and many others--and then outlines the state of Zen in North America today. Clear-eyed and even-handed, Ford shows us the history and development of the institution of Zen--both its beauty and its warts.
Ford also outlines the many subtle differences in teachings, training, ordination, and transmission among schools and lineages. This book will aid those looking for a Zen center or a teacher, but who may not know where to start. Suggesting what might be possible, skillful, and fruitful in our communities, it will also be of use to those who lead the Zen centers of today and tomorrow.

"James Ford is a charming and thoughtful guide to the who, how and why of Zen coming to the West. That's because he is a Zen master himself, with an unparalleled knowledge of the people, the big trends and the interesting details. James is a major figure in adapting Zen to America and this book will give you the inside picture."--John Tarrant, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros (and Other Zen Koans to Bring You Joy)""Zen Master Who?" is a comprehensive survey of the Asian masters who first brought Zen to America and of their American students who have been empowered to carry on their legacy. It tells the story of American Zen clearly - and honestly. By telling the story of real people, with real problems and real accomplishments, Ford makes us ponder just what it is we expec from practice, from teachers and from ourselves. This is a great book."--Barry Magid, author of Ordinary Mind"What happened when the Bodhidharma came to the West? From an insider's perspective, James Ishmael Ford tells us stories and gives colorful portrayals of the major figures linked to the ongoing transmission of Zen in the North American continent. A respected Zen Master himself, he describes his spiritual ancestors and Dharma sisters and brothers in candid and also endearing terms."--Ruben Habito, author of Living Zen, Loving God and Healing Breath"Ford brings to all his work a keen mind grounded in a thorough understanding of Zen practice and the nuances which pervade its development in the Western world. His insights are clear, unbiased and aim at presenting an honest picture of the development of Zen."--Diane Eshin Rizzetto, author of Waking Up to What You Do"At last, a book that helps those beginning Zen practice figure out who's who and how they became a Who. Zen Master Who? is a greatly useful guide, bringing together the legendary, the historical, and the contemporary in one compact, engaging read. You'll feel like an insider after reading this book." --Sumi Loundon, editor of Blue Jean Buddha and The Buddha's Apprentices"Zen Master Who? is a comprehensive survey of the Asian masters who first brought Zen to America and of their American students who have been empowered to carry on their legacy. It tells the story of American Zen clearly - and honestly. By telling the story of real people, with real problems and real accomplishments, Ford makes us ponder just what it is we expec from practice, from teachers and from ourselves. This is a great book." --Barry Magid, author of Ordinary Mind"Apart from Rick Fields' classic How the Swans Came to the Lake, reportage on the history of Zen in the West has tended to center on one or at most two traditions, e.g., Japanese Soto and Rinzai schools. James Ishmael Ford has instead taken a broad perspective, covering not only the Japanese and Chinese pioneers and influences but also extending his coverage to Korean, Vietnamese, and the syncretic Harada/Yasutani lineages. I found his clear account of the Korean Kwan Um school's Dharma transmission model to be especially interesting. Informal in tone and extensive in coverage, Zen Master Who? should prove both informative and absorbing reading for a new generation of Zen students and teachers alike." --John Daishin Buksbazen, author of Zen Meditation in Plain English

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • James Ford(Author)
  • Wisdom Publications,U.S. (24 Nov. 2006)
  • English
  • 7
  • Religion & Spirituality

Review Text

  • By Tao on 22 July 2017

    Its important to point out to future readers that this is not a collection of all Zen masters but mostly about American Zen masters and their recent lineage so it might disappoint. But its well written and interesting if your an American

  • By A. R. Gordon-finlayson on 11 November 2008

    A wonderful coverage of the characters and stories of Japanese Zen Buddhism. James Ford covers the transmission of Zen from Bodhidharma down to the current generation of American Zen masters, with much more emphasis on the more recent. He introduces the stories of Zen's "mind-to-mind" transmission with a gently critical aspect, inviting us to question the role of this transmission in modern Zen - neither dismissing it out of hand nor accepting it unquestioningly.He treats some of Zen's more notorious modern figures honestly and yet still fondly, pointing out their feet of clay and yet at the same time reminding us what a tremendous gift they've left in the West.I'd recommend this to someone who already knows a little about zen practice (or a lot!), but it's not designed to be an 'intro to zen' text so won't fulfil that function. As a starter to a modern critical appreciation of Zen Buddhism (for both practitioners of zen meditation and non-practitioners alike), this is an essential read.I'd also recommend this to Zen practitioners who want to understand the socio-cultural positioning of their own traditions - sometimes it's hard to see outside of one's own lineage, sect or tradition, and James Ford's treatment also shows us how much we have in common, and how the differing emphases of the various teachers around today are all part of a bigger tapestry of applied zen practice in this fascinating context where traditional Japanese religious Zen meets Western liberal secularism.

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