Footprints in the Snow: The Autobiography of a Chinese Buddhist Monk

Sheng Yen, Author . Doubleday $24.95 (210p) ISBN 978-0-385-51330-2

The author is a master of Chan Buddhism, the Chinese antecedent of Zen Buddhism that is not nearly as well known as Zen and other Buddhist schools that have migrated to the West. The Chan master's story is less Buddhist dharma and more history of his homeland. Born in 1930, he had a ringside seat for China's Communist revolution. In 1949, he left his Buddhist schooling to join Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army, spending more than 10 years in military intelligence. That experience was but one of many teachers along his spiritual path, along with a few bizarre Chan masters. Sheng Yen has also traveled, spending some time teaching in America. His efforts, however, have been concentrated in Taiwan, where he has developed the fourth-largest Buddhist organization in that area. This book is timely, given that China is opening to the West this year on account of the Olympics in Beijing. China is also becoming more open to religious practices, especially its own distinctive Buddhism. This son of China is a distinguished teacher with a revealing, simply told story. (Oct. 21)

Reviewed on: 07/14/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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