Zen Echoes

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Zen Echoes is an exquisite book reflecting the power of the female voice in Zen.”—Joan Jiko Halifax, abbot, Upaya Zen Center


Zen Echoes is a valuable and unique addition to the growing literature, in English, of Chan. Beata Grant has done a thorough and masterful job of clear translation, with plenty of notes to explain the many references, of forty-three Zen koans (some familiar, many important, but not so familiar) with verse commentaries by three women Chan masters. As Grant points out, there isn’t anything feminist or even “female” about those verses. They are simply brilliant poetic teachings, from Chan’s most developed eras, by three great masters who happen to be women. A text to ponder and savor. With a useful  foreword by Sue Moon, and introduction by the translator.”—Norman Fischer, author of What Is Zen? Plain Talk for a Beginner’s Mind


Classic Koans with Verse Commentaries by Three Female Zen Masters

Beata Grant

Too often the history of Zen seems to be written as an unbroken masculine line: male teacher to male student. In this timely volume, Beata Grant shows us that women masters do exist—and have always existed.

Zen Echoes is a collection of classic koans from Zen’s Chinese history that were first collected and commented on by Miaozong, a twelfth-century nun so adept that her teacher, the legendary Dahui Zonggao, used to tell other students that perhaps if they practiced hard enough, they might be as realized as her.

Nearly five hundred years later, the seventeenth-century nuns Baochi and Zukui added their own commentaries to the collection. The three voices—distinct yet harmonious—remind us that enlightenment is at once universal and individual.

In her introduction to this shimmering translation, Professor Grant tells us that the verses composed by these women provide evidence that “in a religious milieu made up overwhelmingly of men, there were women who were just as dedicated to Chan practice, just as advanced in their spiritual realization, and just as gifted at using language to convey that which is beyond language.”

book information
  • Paperback
  • 160 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $16.95
  • ISBN 9781614291879
  • ebook
  • 160 pages
  • $11.99
  • ISBN 9781614292043
about the author
Zen Echoes

Beata Grant is professor of Chinese and Religious Studies (Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures) at Washington University. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Other books by Beata Grant:
Daughters of Emptiness

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