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China Root


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A literary meditation on Taoism and the origins of Zen by renowned translator and author David Hinton.

About the Author

DAVID HINTON's many translations of ancient Chinese poetry and philosophy have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary works that convey the actual texture and density of the originals. The author of countless books of essays and poetry, Hinton has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, numerous fellowships from the N.E.A. and the N.E.H, the Landon Translation Award, the PEN American Translation Award, and a lifetime achievement award by The American Academy of Arts and Letters.


"China Root is an utterly engrossing account of the deepest treasures the Zen/Ch'an path can open up, as it leads us into the manifest-yet-hidden wonders of who we really are. Hinton writes as very few can, not only as a scholar, practitioner, and translator but also as a poet-something the old artist-intellectuals of China would surely have appreciated. His deep understanding of the Taoist roots of Ch'an shine a light on the Zen practice of today, taking us back in a thrilling way beyond the Japanese rigor and aesthetics, beyond the mythical T'ang Dynasty flourishing of Ch'an's great ancestors, back to its Taoist roots in the first millennium BCE-and even beyond them, into the mists of its paleolithic origins. It is here, back in its true roots-which also happen to be the deepest aspects of our life-that Hinton beautifully makes clear our participation in a generative cosmos, a constantly manifesting, burgeoning Presence, even while it never ceases to be a primordial Absence.

Oddly perhaps, in spite of Hinton's expert parsing out of missteps in the translation and transmission of this Dharma to the West, I can't help feeling I've just read a staggeringly good account of the modern Zen training a contemporary Japanese-based lineage led me through. Be that as it may, this thoroughly gripping book pulls together various threads of David Hinton's prior work into one powerful, concise masterwork. May it echo through modern zendos for decades to come."-Henry Shukman Roshi, author of One Blade of Grass: A Zen Memoir

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