Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture
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Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  5 reviews
The life of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, has, with the passing of time, been magnified to the scale of myth, turning history into the stuff of legend. Known as the First Patriarch, Bodhidharma brought Zen from South India into China in 500 CE, changing the country forever. In Tracking Bodhidharma, Andrew Ferguson recreates the path of Bodhidharma, traveling th...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Counterpoint (first published April 1st 2012)
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I learned things about the history of Chinese Buddhism, about the current state of Buddhism in China, about what it's like to travel in China, and about the scholarly debates surrounding Bodhidharma's life in China. The text seemed choppy and a little hard to follow. Though perhaps that was because I read most of it a little at a time right before bed.
Some interesting information and theories. Overall I found it meh.
Andy Ferguson had some issues to settle in this quest. I could not share his passion for the answers and, at times, thought he seemed somewhat naive. He seemed to be so shocked that Buddhism, like any religion, can be coopted to serve tyranny. I always enjoy meeting the people the writer meets and I met some interesting ones in this book. Reading books so different from my ususal is always exciting and I can discover, well, things like this: Before my bed a moon so bright,/I thought the ground w...more
bibliotekker Holman
An interesting travelogue through modern and ancient China, with a focus on the myth shrouded life of the founder of Zen. As a practicing Buddhist, the author writes with a different eye than other authors I've read recently, such as American Peter Hessler.

The book is as interesting for what it reveals about modern China and Buddhism, as it is about the foggy shreds of legend that the author follows around the country. There is an interesting aside about Japanese Zen and its influence on or how...more
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