Zen's history – online resources


s The Story of Zen - an Ashoka online course

An introduction to the stories of Zen's 1500-year innovation and transformation within the ever-changing cultures of China and then Japan. Bringing together translations of Zen ancients with modern commentary, this course offers a treasury of Zen tradition: teachings, anecdotes, stories, legends, sayings, and wisdom culled from the classic texts of Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen.


The Golden Age of Zen, John Wu
John Wu explores the important period of religious history that followed the meeting of Buddhism with Chinese philosophies, most particularly Taoism. He looks at the foundations of Zen laid down by Bodhidharma in the 6th century and in the 7th century by Huineng, and examines its growth at the hands of successive generations of Chinese sages.

Buddhism in China: a Historical Survey, Whalen Lai

Transformation of Buddhism in China, Wing-Tsit Chan

Zen Buddhism: A History, Heinrich Dumoulin

Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism in China, Hu Shih

The Textual History of the Linji lu (Record of Linji): The Earliest Recorded Fragments, Albert Welter
In the story of the Linji lu is the story of the success of Chan.

Chuang-Tzu and the Chinese Ancestry of Ch'an Buddhism, Livia Knaul
Explores Chinese influences such as Taosim and Confusionismon on Chan in China.
The Disputed Place Of "A Special Transmission" Outside The Scriptures in Ch'an, Albert Welter
The Northern Ch'an School And Sudden Versus Gradual Enlightenment Debates In China And Tibet, Gary Ray

The Emergence of Ch'an Buddhism: a revisionist perspective, Charles W Swain
"The purpose of this essay is to examine the emergence of Ch'an Buddhism as a separate and distinct sect in China . ... I will attempt to distinguish the Ch'an traditions from the emergence of Ch'an as a separtate sect of Chinese Buddhism."

Practical Principle Of Hakuin Zen Examined in the Text By His Disciple Tourei-Enji, Eshin Nishimura
Seeing through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism, John McRae
T'an Ching (Platform Scripture) Carl Bielefeldt and Lewis Lancaster

The Antecedents of Encounter Dialogue in Chinese Ch'an Buddhism, John McRae
McRae looks at where and how the dialogues between Zen master and student began. These dialogues often ended up being koans.

The understanding of mind in the Northern line of Ch'an (Zen), Robert B.Zeuschner

Ta-hui Tsung-kao and Kung-an Ch'an, Chun-Fang Yu
Explores the role of koans and hua-t'ou as a Zen practice.

Historical Understanding: The Ch'an Buddhist Transmission Narratives and Modern Historiography, Dale S. Wright
The Sudden/Gradual Polarity: A Recurrent Theme In Chinese Thought, Peter Gregory

Legends in Ch'an: the Northern/Southern Split, Hui-neng and the Platform Sutra
Zen-site founder Victor Keremidschieff looks at the historical record to determune if there was ever a verse-writing competition between Hui-neng and Shen-Hsiu. This crucial story, related in the Platform Sutra, is at the heart of the Northern/Southern school split and established Hui-neng as the Sixth Patriarch.

Is There Historical Consciousness Within Chan? John Maraldo

The Dharma Has Come West: a survey of recent studies and sources, Martin Baumann

Early Chinese Zen Reexamined, Heinrich Dumoulin

Bibliographies Coming soon

Zen comes to the West

x How the Swans Came to the Lake, Rick Fields

x Zen in America, Helen Tworkov
x Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982, Peter Matthiessen