The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui
by J. C. Cleary
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The writings of the twelfth-century Chinese Zen master Ta Hui are as immediately accessible as those of any contemporary teacher, and this book, which introduced them to the English-speaking world in the 1970s, has become a modern classic—a regular feature of recommended reading lists for Zen centers across America, even though the book has become difficult to find. We are happy to make the book available again after more than a decade of scarcity.
J. C. Cleary's translation is as noteworthy for its elegant simplicity as for its accuracy. He has culled from the voluminous writings of Ta Hui Tsung Kao in the Chi Yeuh Lu this selection of letters, sermons, and lectures, some running no longer than a page, which cover a variety of subjects ranging from concern over the illness of a friend's son to the tending of an ox. Ta Hui addresses his remarks mainly to people in lay life and not to his fellow monks. Thus the emphasis throughout is on ways in which those immersed in worldly occupations can nevertheless learn Zen and achieve the liberation promised by the Buddha. These texts, available in English only in this translation, come as a revelation for their lucid thinking and startling wisdom. The translator's essay on Chan (Chinese Zen) Buddhism and his short biography of Ta Hui place the texts in their proper historical perspective.
- Shambhala Publications, December 2009
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