Translated by Tony Barnstone, Richard B. Clark, James M. Cryer, Sam Hamill, Paul Hansen, Chris Laughrun, Joseph Lisowski, Chou Ping, James H. Sanford, Jerome P. Seaton, Arthur Tobias, and Jan W. Walls Scholar translators of holy Sanskrit texts, ragged mountain wild-men, nuns and monks, retired civil servants, scholar-officials of the Emperor of China, residents of humble mountain monasteries, Buddhist prelates whose prestige and moral force often made them rivals in secular power to those officials themselves: poets of every century from the sixth to the twentieth are to be found here, clarifying in bright and vibrant poetic lines the transmission of a single ideal. At the same time they demonstrate clearly the multiplicity of manners, the diversity of techniques, and the creative freedom of the human spirit that is the truest embodiment of Ch'an, a brand of Buddhist practice that, born in China, evolved to spread and thrive in East Asia for over fifteen hundred years.
A lively and often humorous Way to, and from, spiritual salvation, and a Way of living peacefully and forcefully in the everyday world, better known in the West by its Japanese pronunciation as Zen, it remains full of life in the twentieth century West, continuing to grow and change, and boding well to become as important a feature of the world culture of the tomorrows of the twenty-first century as it has been of a thousand years of Asian yesterdays.
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