Literary Nonfiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. In ZEN ROOTS, Red Pine has gathered nine texts from the first thousand years of Zen. Dating from the middle of the second century BC to the middle of the ninth century AD, they include the Heart, the Diamond, and the Platform sutras, selections from the Vimalakirti and Lankavatara sutras, Bodhidharma's Principles & Practice, Sengcan's Trusting the Mind, and Huangbo's Transmission of the Mind. The translations are accompanied by introductions and enough notes to explain what needs explaining but not so many as to get in the way. This is meant to be a companionable volume, something a reader would enjoy carrying around, taking on trips, introducing to the higher elevations, or the backyard. Published by Empty Bowl Press, the book is in a handy 5"x7" format, bound in Japanese silk, and the binding sewn so when open it lays fairly flat. And there's a ribbon, for marking your place. A regular trade edition is planned for publication in 2022.
ZEN ROOTS includes The Diamond Sutra, Sengcan's Trusting the Mind, and Yongjia's Song of Enlightenment among its nine Buddhist texts. These three were previously published as chapbooks by Empty Bowl, the first two of which are now out of print.
Bill Porter, who translates under the name Red Pine, was born in Califoria and grew up in Northern Idaho. He recieved his graduate degree at Columbia University and studied with a faculty that included Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict. He became interested in Buddhism, and in 1972 he left America and moved to a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. During this time, he married a Chinese woman, with whom he has two children, and he began working on translations of Chinese poetry and Buddhist texts. In 1993, he returned to America so that his children could learn English. For the past twenty years, he has worked as an independent scholar and has supported himself from book royalties and lecture fees. During this time, he has lectured at many of the major universities in the US, England and Germany where he has lectured on Chinese history, culture, poetry, and religion. His translations of texts dealing with these subjects have been honored with a number of awards, including two NEA translation fellowships, a PEN translation award, the inaugural Asian Literature Award of the American Literary Translators Association, a Guggenheim Fellowship, which he received to support work on a book based on a pilgrimage to the graves and homes of China's greatest poets of the past, which was published under the title Finding Them Gone in January of 2016, and more recently in 2018 the Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation bestowed by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His translations include ZEN ROOTS: THE FIRST THOUSAND YEARS (Empty Bowl, 2020), WHY NOT PARADISE (Empty Bowl, 2019), STONEHOUSE'S POEMS FOR ZEN MONKS (Empty Bowl, 2019), CATHAY REVISITED (Empty Bowl, 2019), A DAY IN THE LIFE (Empty Bowl, 2018), P'U MING'S OXHERDING PICTURES AND VERSE (Empty Bowl, 2015), and more.Author City: PORT TOWNSEND, WA USA