Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Zen Sourcebook

Yesterday I received an examination copy of Hackett Publishing's Zen Sourcebook, which is an anthology of scriptures and other Zen texts from China, Japan, and Korea. I have yet to read it, but judging by the table of contents alone, it looks to be an excellent anthology. It's always been somewhat difficult to track down the various texts which are essential to the Zen tradition. The Zen Sourcebook collects Hui-Neng's autobiography (from the Platform Sutra), excerpts from Huang-Po's Transmission of Mind, the Lin-chi Record, K'uo-an's Ox-Herding Poems, excerpts from the Blue Cliff Record, selections from Dogen, Bankei, and Hakuin, and much, much more, all in one convenient and low-priced package ($13.95 retail). To be honest, when I requested the exam copy, I figured there was only about a 10% chance I would actually make the book a required text for my Indian and Chinese Philosophy class next year, but I have already decided to do just that. At the risk of sounding like a corporate shill, Hackett has done a really great job making critical editions of Western and now Eastern philosophy available for a reasonable price.

Update: At today's daily meditation group at The Common Good, Phil Dickinson gave me the syllabus for the class on Zen Buddhism he is teaching next year at Bowling Green State University (the class is titled Zen Buddhism, The Arts, and Everyday Life). Phil is using an anthology by Nelson Foster and Jack Shoemaker entitled The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader which he claims also does a great job of collecting a bunch of Zen texts in one place. This anthology was published in 1996, so I was wrong about Hackett being the first to step up to the plate in this area. On the other hand, Hackett still has the edge in terms of list price (which is $18.00 for The Roaring Stream). Three cheers for competition!
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