The Chan Whip Anthology: A Companion to Zen Practice

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Jeffrey L. Broughton offers an annotated translation of the Whip for Spurring Students Onward Through the Chan Barrier Checkpoints, which he abbreviates to Chan Whip. This anthology is a classic of Chan (Zen) Buddhism that has served as a Chan handbook in both China and Japan since its publication in 1600. It is a compendium of extracts, over eighty percent of which are drawn from an enormous Chan corpus dating from the late 800s to about 1600-a survey that covers most of the history of Chan literature. The rest of the text consists of complementary extracts from Buddhist sutras and treatises. The extracts, many of which are accompanied by Yunqui Zhuhong's comments, deliberately eschew abstract discussions of theory in favor of sermons, exhortations, sayings, autobiographical narratives, letters, and anecdotal sketches dealing frankly and compassionately with the concrete experiences of lived practice. While there are a number of publications in English on Zen practice, none contain the vivid descriptions found within the Chan Whip. This translation thus fills a large gap in the English-language literature on Chan, and by including the original Chinese text as well Broughton has produced an invaluable tool for scholars and practitioners alike.