The Golden Age of Zen by John C.H. Wu
Zen Masters of the T'ang Dynasty (Spiritual Masters)

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This book gives a fascinating survey of the early years of Chinese Zen (Chan) Buddhism, staying focused on the movement of Buddhism to the land where Taoism and Confucianism flourished. Wu's survey, combined with interesting translations from these earliest Zen masters, reveals a time of spiritual vibrancy and powerful personalities that help explain the later developments of Zen with which western readers are more familiar. 

About John C.H. Wu

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Wu Ching-hsiung (1899-1986), known as John C. H. Wu, born in China, was an author, translator, lawyer, juristic philosopher, educator, and prominent Catholic layman. He was president of the Special High Court at Shanghai, vice-chairman of the Legislative Yuan's constitution drafting committee, founder of the T'ien Hsia Monthly, translator of the Psalms and the New Testament, and Chinese minister to the Holy See (1947-48).After studying in the U.S. and Europe, he returned to China in 1924, where he became a professor of law at his alma mater in Shanghai. Within three years he was appointed principal of the School of Law. A chance reading of the autobiography of St. Theresa of Lisieux in 1937 sparked Wu's conversion to Roman Catholicism. His translations of both the Psalms and the New Testament into Chinese were received with wide acclaim. Chiang Kai-shek named Wu as the Chinese minister to the Holy See, and Wu presented his credentials to Pope Pius XII in February 1947.In 1949, he moved to the U.S. and held posts at both the University of Hawaii and Seton Hall University. John C. W. Wu wrote and translated numerous books and articles on many subjects including religion, philosophy, and law. Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. His parents, nominally friends, had given him little religious guidance, and in 1938, he converted to Roman Catholicism. The following year he received an M.A. from Columbia University and in 1941, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death. His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, "The Seven Storey Mountain" (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968. Kraft is chair of Religion Studies department at Lehigh University.
Published August 1, 2010 by World Wisdom. 282 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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