This is a book of essays by a Zen Buddhist Abbot who visited the United States in 1905-6, translated by another figure who was instrumental in introducing Buddhism to the West, Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. Originally titled Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot, it has been reprinted in numerous editions as Zen for Americans and is currently in print under that title. The book includes a translation of The Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters, which was the first Buddhist document translated into Chinese, and which had a huge influence on the development of Zen.
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Soyen Shaku (January 10 1860 – October 29 1919) was the first Zen Buddhist master to teach in the United States. In 1893 Shaku was one of four priests and two laymen, representing Rinzai Zen, Jodo Shinshu, Nichirin, Tendai, and Esoteric schools, composing the Japanese delegation that participated in the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. At this conference he met Dr. Paul Carus, a publisher from Open Court Publishing Company in Illinois. Before Shaku returned to Japan, Carus asked him to send an English-speaker knowledgeable about Zen Buddhism to the United States. Shaku, upon returning to Japan asked his student and Tokyo University scholar D. T. Suzuki to go to the United States, where he would eventually become the leading academic on Zen Buddhism in the West, and translator for Carus's publishing company.
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