Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism in China: Its History and Method

  • Chih-P’ing Chou
Part of the China Academic Library book series (CHINALIBR)


For more than a quarter of a century, my learned friend, Dr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, formerly of the Otani University, Kyoto, Japan, has been interpreting and introducing Zen Buddhism to the Western world. Through his untiring effort and through his many books on Zen, he has succeeded in winning an audience and a number of followers, notably in England. As a friend and as a historian of Chinese thought, I have followed Suzuki’s work with keen interest. But I have never concealed from him my disappointment in his method of approach. My greatest disappointment has been that, according to Suzuki and his disciples, Zen is illogical, irrational, and, therefore, beyond our intellectual understanding. In his book Living by Zen Suzuki tells us:It is this denial of the capability of the human intelligence to understand and evaluate Zen that I emphatically refuse to accept. Is the so-called Ch’an or Zen really so illogical and irrational that it is “altogether beyond the ken of human understanding” and that our rational or rationalistic way of thinking is of no use “in evaluating the truth and untruth of Zen”?


Human Understanding Eighth Century Chinese Thought True Teaching Authentic Record 
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Copyright information

© Foreign Language Teaching and Research Publishing Co., Ltd and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chih-P’ing Chou
    • 1
  1. 1.East Asian Studies DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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