Synopses & Reviews
History and essence are tightly interwoven in Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhists trace their school's way of enlightenment back to the terrains of India and the founder of the Buddhist religion, Shakyamuni. In Zen Enlightenment: Origins and Meaning , Heinrich Dumoulin explains how Mahayana Buddhism, originating in the spiritual legacy of India, met with Chinese Taoism, an encounter essential to the birth of Zen, the meditation school of Mahayana. And there, primarily through the activity of the great masters of the T'ang period (618906), Zen acquired its distinctly Chinese character. Beautiful quotations from Chinese Zen literature and nuanced chronicles of contemporary Zen students, along with compilations of koans and sayings of the masters, add color and perspective to the fascinating picture we have of the early Chinese Zen movement.
Enlightenment, the cosmic experience of universal unity, is a notoriously elusive concept in Zen. Here, the renowned scholar Heinrich Dumoulin traces the development of Zen and the concept of enlightenment from its origins in India through its development in China to its fruition in Japan. Delineating the Buddhist origins, as well as the Taoist and yogic influences, he traces the historical path Zen has followed, with special emphasis given to the development of koan practice and the writings of the great Japanese Zen master Dogen (1200–1253). He then brings the experience to life by presenting, in his own words, the enlightenment experiences of a number of contemporary practitioners of Zen.
About the Author
Heinrich Dumoulin (1905–1995) was one of the world's leading scholars of Zen and the author of several books on Zen and Buddhism, including A History of Zen Buddhism, Buddhism in the Modern World, and Christianity Meets Buddhism. He was for many years Professor of Philosophy and History of Religions at Sophia University in Japan.