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Zen Buddhism: A History, India & China (Volume 1)
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Zen Buddhism: A History, India & China (Volume 1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  44 ratings  ·  8 reviews
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.
Paperback, 440 pages
Published August 16th 2005 by World Wisdom (first published 1988)
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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he wrote this book, there have been key scholarly developments in the field of Zen studies, but his work is by no means outdated.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 suc ...more
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.
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-m ...more
Jessica Zu
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.
Hunter Marston
A very rigorous and very thorough history of Zen, often illuminating the back story unnoticed by most scholars
I only read parts as I was preparing to write a paper, but what I read was interesting, insightful, and useful.
Susan Taylor
Dense read but there's nothing like a challenge in unearthing the history of buddhism.
Stephen McDonough
Good Historical Foundation of Zen Buddhism. Scholarly work.
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