Unparalleled in scope and detail, this classic history of Zen covers all important ideas and developments in the tradition from its beginnings in India through the Sung period in China....
|Title||:||Zen Buddhism, A History: India & China (Volume 1)|
|Number of Pages||:||440 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Zen Buddhism, A History: India & China (Volume 1) Reviews
Originally published in German in 1959, this book has become the classic introduction into the study of Zen history. The first few chapters are arduous and dense as it explains the foundations of Vedic based dhyana as it fused with Chinese Buddhism and Taoism to create a new movement - Chan (in Japanese: "zen"). However, the pace picks up as it gets to the Six Patriarch, Hui-Neng. Dumoulin takes us through the dynamic rise of Zen in the T'ang dynasty and it's eventual stagnation into orthodoxy in the Sung. He also prepares the ground for the movement's travel over the Sea of Japan (volume Two is about Zen in Japan).I bought this book maybe 15-18 years ago and tried to read it once or twice. Each time, I was halted as the building blocks to Ch'an are tough to follow. But I found it a very enjoyable read from the Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch on.The Northern School is only covered by a short supplement and I have read that there has been much scholarship since this work that if not challenges at least expands and further explains Zen. But all in all, for a lay person who know little of Zen and less of its history, this would be an interesting work.
Not just an in-depth study of roots of Zen in Indian and Chinese Buddhist philosophy, but also an exploration into the geo-political environment encircling Zen development, Dumoulin has done an extraordinary job of piecing together the key historical figures and documents of Zen accurately. Since he wrote this book, there have been key scholarly developments in the field of Zen studies, but his work is by no means outdated. In fact, his review and understanding of the Sixth Patriarch and his succession is probably the best I've read. Dumoulin also does a great job of addressing in passing Suzuki's Zen thesis that Zen is entirely a unique Japanese accomplishment. The work of this first volume has been to show how Indian and Chinese Buddhism greatly rooted Zen and it's influence on Japanese Zen can be clearly seen. This book is a must read on anyone interested in Zen, Buddhism, or Indian and Chinese philosophies.
Committing the history of Zen Buddhism into book form is no mean task. Dumoulin's treatment treads the line between fact-book and editorial, between a history book and a philosophy book, and he walks that line with grace. He admits in this book that it is impossible to give a true history of Zen without some treatment of its philosophical and religious contexts, and indeed he delves quite well into many of the origins and 'tenets' of Zen throughout the past. However, he does well to avoid over-moralizing or allowing his work to become a philosophical discourse, and instead keeps the historical pace quick and driven, pausing only to give longer treatment to particularly salient topics (e.g. the Sixth Patriarch). All in all, not a book for the disinterested observer -- rather, a book for those who wish to dive into the past and start swimming with vigor.
Heinrich Dumoulin's 2 volume set provides an excellent overview of the history of the development of Zen Buddhism as it was born in India, moved to the China and then to Japan up to modern times and its now global presence.while certainly not a simple pick-up-and-read book it is a crucial book for anyone seriously interested in the study of Zen Buddhism as no other work provides such great detail in one place.
I only read parts as I was preparing to write a paper, but what I read was interesting, insightful, and useful.
Dense read but there's nothing like a challenge in unearthing the history of buddhism.
A very rigorous and very thorough history of Zen, often illuminating the back story unnoticed by most scholars
This is a pretty old book, so its image of Chan is very traditional, but it is a good one to start with if you are interested in Chan history.