History Zen Buddhism

Heinrich Dumoulin

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. It includes chapters on Sakyamuni, the Yogic Element in Buddhism, the relationship between Mayahana and Zen, the Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, the course of Zen after Hui-Neng, and "the true human of no rank" in the teachings of Lin-Chi. Dumoulin’s work stands as a monumental study against which all other histories of Zen must be measured. Even though this is a history, the luminous heart of Zen still shines through these pages, and we are reminded time and again of the core spiritual ideas which have shaped the lives of generations of real Zen practitioners.

Upon its initial publication in 1988, the English translation of Heinrich Dumoulin's Zen Buddhism: A History, India and China, instantly became an indispensable resource for both specialists and the audience of general readers interested in Zen Buddhism. A number of laudable features ensured the book's immediate success. First, especially in tandem with the second volume in the set treating Zen in Japan, the book's coverage was rewardingly comprehensive. For the first time English readers could trace the history of the school from its earliest conceptual and practical beginnings in India, through its formation and evolution as an innovative religious movement in China, and on to its efflorescence in Japan. The comprehensive nature of Dumoulin's coverage derived from his own intellectual vision, his determination to address all aspects of his chosen subject matter, from beginning to end.