REFACEThis book must be read slowly - I can't emphasize this too much. Pleasetake your time - not just because the style in which it's written is such that if toomuch is read at one sitting the sentences turn to mush, but because hurrying is socounter-productive. Instead of a gradual, unified expansion, there is just anunsatisfying jumble of parts.Books about religion may be entertaining or not, but they are never novels.It isn't somebody else's life we're reading about. It's our own. Even the historicaldevelopment of Chan can provide useful lessons if we take the trouble to relate themany tales of trial and error, of mistake and correction, to our own individual lives.If you want to get started with an actual Chan practice, you can follow theinstructions given in Chapter 10 as you read the long historical passages of the firstsection. Likewise, if you want to begin learning Chan psychology, you can alsoleave-off the history and turn to Chapter 5.I've tried to present a fair account of modern Chinese Chan Buddhism, anaccount which wouldn't be offensive to those who practice other forms of Buddhismor be rejected as being too unorthodox or "western" by those who practice the manyvarieties of Chan. I expect complaints.I hope that I haven't been mean-spirited just as I hope that those whoobject to my ideas or the way I've conveyed them will be constructive in their criticism.When free of meanness, dissension is beneficial. Americans like to recallhow Republican Abe Lincoln once commented upon the way that his Democratopponents constantly argued amongst themselves. "They are like alley cats that fightand caterwaul all night long." Said Abe, adding, "The trouble is that next morningwe discover that what they were doing was making more Democrats."For those parts that are inaccurate, absent, ambiguous or offensive. Iapologize. I can only hope that in the course of voicing differing views andcorrections, we make more Buddhists.
Reverend Chuan Yuan ShakyaOrder of Hui Neng, Sixth Patriarch of Chan Nan Hua Monastery, Caoxi (Ts'ao Ch'i)Guangdong Province, People's Republic of ChinaMay, 1988 (Revised January, 1996) Nan Hua Zen Buddhist SocietyLas Vegas, Nevada