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My experience is that one has to read maybe 5 or 6 books before finding one that is good. This is one is good. Hershock's writing is creative, interesting and to the point. His presentation of Chan is scholarly yet accessible...unlike many other scholarly works that seem to ramble or get soooo scholarly that only another scholar can make heads or tails of the text. As usual, there is an initial history of Chan. But Hershock's history is far more illuminating than most. This leads into a presentation of a few of the more notable figures of Chinese Zen (Chan)... Budhidarma, Linji, Huineg... with really wonderful philosophically well-versed commentaries. When one is interested in a field of study, it is important to be able to distinguish writers and thinkers who exemplify the core sensibilities of that field. When I was studying C.G. Jung, I found certain writers who seemed to hit the nail on the head (Edward Eddinger, Mari Von Franz, for instance) and others who either seemed to spin off in bizzar directions of their own, or who just didn't have the organizational/journalistic skills to expound the nature of the work involved, and caused me enless knots I had to unravel later on. This is no different. You need to find someone whose writing you can trust so you can relax a little and spend your time struggling to understand what he is saying instead of trying to ferret out what needs to be tossed out the window (and initially, you don't know what needs to be tossed out the window). Peter Hershock, like David Loy, is for my money is someone whose writing you can trust. So I highly recommend this little book. Mike Staples 

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