The Way of Ch'an:

Essential Texts from the Original Tradition


Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism as it originally developed in China was, according to David Hinton, a radical and wild practice cultivating a deeply ecological form of liberation: the integration of individual consciousness with landscape/earth/Cosmos understood as female in its most essential nature, mysteriously alive and generative and in constant transformation. This understanding was largely lost as Ch’an migrated from China to Japan (where it became known as Zen) and on to the West. Companion to Hinton’s widely read and discussed China Root: Taoism, Ch’an and Original Zen, The Way of Ch’an is an anthology that traces the historical development of Ch’an, presenting the essential source-material in its own native understanding, free of the mistranslation and misrepresentation that has characterized it in the modern West. Here we have not just a revisionary understanding of Ch’an, but a revolution. The many sages presented here, zany and profound, reveal Ch’an’s original form of awakening each in their own way: a roller-coaster of voices and insights across thousands of years. Hang on: it’s a thrilling ride!

                  — from the book jacket


Praise for David Hinton's Ch'an Writing and Translation:

 . . . one powerful, concise masterwork. May it echo through modern zendos for decades to come.


                        —Roshi Henry Shukman

I love this book! . . . unique and powerful . . . opens doors to the heart of Zen.

                        —Roshi Joan Halifax

David Hinton is a fabulous translator. This book is luminous and transparent. You can see the light of the original Chinese masters shining through.


                      —Roshi John Tarrant


Hinton is after . . . depth and boundlessness.

                        —New York Review of Books

Shambhala (Forthcoming: summer, 2023)