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Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot

[Zen For Americans]

by Soyen Shaku

translated by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki


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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. Many of the essays are introductions to various Buddhist topics for Christians, and all of them are ideal for a general audience. The two essays which close out the book which discuss the Buddhist attitude towards war and peace, and are of historical interest because they were referenced by Leo Tolstoy in his anti-war declaration.

Title Page
Translator's Preface
The Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters
The God-Conception of Buddhism
Assertions and Denials
Buddhist Faith
Buddhist Ethics
What is Buddhism?
The Middle Way
The Wheel of the Good Law
The Phenomenal And The Supraphenomenal
Reply to a Christian Critic
Ignorance and Enlightenment
Spiritual Enlightenment
Practice of Dhyana
Kwannon Bosatz
Buddhism and Oriental Culture
The Story of Deer Park
The Story of the Gem-Hunting
The Sacrifice for a Stanza
Buddhist View of War
At The Battle of Nan-Shan Hill
An Address Delivered at a Service Held in Memory of Those Who Died in The Russo-Japanese War