This course brings together translations of Zen ancients with modern commentary.
The primary source for this course is Thomas Hoover's The Zen Experience. Long out of print, we are pleased to give new life to this wonderful book.
Other sources include two essential compilations: Andy Ferguson's Zen's Chinese Heritage and Nelson Foster and Jack Shoemaker's The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader. Another important source of inspiration was John Wu's 1967 The Golden Age of Zen, recently reissued.
Lesson 1 draws on another out of print book, Elements of Zen by David Scott & Tony Doubleday.
The course was designed and assembled by Ashoka. We thank the authors who works made this course possible.
See Lesson 34 for a complete list of sources for further study.
Chan is the Chinese pronunciation of the the Indian word dhyana. Zen in turn is the Japanese pronunciation of Chan. Although it is common to use "Zen" to refer to both Chinese and Japanese traditions, we use Chan when presenting the stories of Chinese masters and Zen when presenting Japanese masters.
Although it is common to refer to the lineage of Zen "Patriarchs", we follow Nelson Foster and Andy Ferguson's lead in referring to them as "ancestors." And, while the word feels a bit stilted to the Western ear, we do often refer to the great Zen teachers as "masters."
In our account of the Chinese masters we present names using the Pinyin romanization system. Because the Wade-Giles system was, until recently, common, we present the Wade-Giles rendering with the first use of a name—for example, Huike (Hui-k'o).