Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China

Overview

In the spring of 2006, Bill Porter traveled through the heart of China, from Beijing to Hong Kong, on a pilgrimage to sites associated with the first six patriarchs of Zen. In Zen Baggage, Porter weaves together historical background, interviews, and translations of the earliest known records of Zen along with personal vignettes into a fascinating tale of discovery.

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Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China

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Overview

In the spring of 2006, Bill Porter traveled through the heart of China, from Beijing to Hong Kong, on a pilgrimage to sites associated with the first six patriarchs of Zen. In Zen Baggage, Porter weaves together historical background, interviews, and translations of the earliest known records of Zen along with personal vignettes into a fascinating tale of discovery.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Porter (Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits) has carved out a niche as a translator of classic Zen poetry, sometimes under the name Red Pine. He has lived and traveled extensively in Asia, pursuing his understanding of Zen Buddhism. In his 2006 trip, he visited (and revisited in some cases) several rather remote historical sites that were key to the spread of Buddhism in China. He writes of a China that is not only embracing the future but also regenerating its heritage. Temples and monasteries are being repaired and expanded, and more people are returning to traditional religious practices. Porter takes the reader to places far off the tourist track and far from the economic and political frenzy of major cities, traveling on buses and sleeping rough in monasteries. He does it without pedantry or zeal and with some humor. This book reveals another China and will provide balance to public library travel collections.
—Harold M. Otness

From the Publisher

“Porter takes the reader to places far off the tourist track and far from the economic and political frenzy of major cities, traveling on buses and sleeping rough in monasteries. He does it without pedantry or zeal and with some humor.” —Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593761325
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 12/16/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

1 No Word 1

2 No Buddha 33

3 No Mountain 53

4 No Home 79

5 No Beginning 111

6 No Form 145

7 No Mind 161

8 No Work, No Food 177

9 No Dust or Mirror 201

10 No Day Off 215

11 No Peach Blossoms 229

12 No East or West 247

13 No North or South 261

14 No Floating Belly-Up 277

15 No End in Sight 311

16 No Going Back 331

Chinese Lexicon 335

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Highly recommended!

    Do you like adventure narratives? Bill Porter (a.k.a. ‘Red Pine’) fills this book with real world stories of travels off the beaten path in China. Do you have an interest in Zen/Ch’an Buddhism? Each chapter focuses on an aspect of Zen and of the author's discussions with living Zen masters. Or do you want to enjoy a vagabond’s guide to travel on a shoestring budget? Porter describes how he used public transport and unplanned opportunities during his travels throughout China. His adventures and historical lessons are interspersed with lessons from Zen. A typical story appears in Chapter 11 (‘No Peach Blossoms’) where he quotes a Buddhist nun as saying “…reading texts is no substitute for meditation and practicing Zen. If you read a book about a place, and you want to go there, you don’t keep reading the book. You have to travel. That’s what practice is about. Traveling. Walking the path.” If you enjoy ‘The Lonely Planet Guides’, the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh or Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ series, you’ll enjoy ‘Zen Baggage’. The only thing missing is a map to help the geographically challenged readers (like me!) follow his travel through China.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

    I knew a hermit, Bill should visit him

    http://www.512-china.org/YunFengEnglisthVersion.html
    I hope I can find Bill Porter. Thank you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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