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Throughout Zen history, stories and anecdotes of Zen masters and their students have been used as teaching devices to exemplify the enlightened spirit. Unlike many of the baffling dialogues between Zen masters preserved in the koan literature, the stories retold here are penetratingly simple but with a richness and subtlety that make them worth reading again and again. This collection includes over a hundred such stories many appearing here in English for the first time - drawn from a wide variety of sources and involving some of the best known Zen masters, such as Hakuin, Bankei, and Shosan. Also presented are stories and anecdotes involving famous Zen artists and poets, such as Sengai and Basho.
Thomas Cleary holds a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He is the translator of over fifty volumes of Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, and Islamic texts from Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Pali, and Arabic.