“China Root is an utterly engrossing account of the deepest treasures the Zen/Ch’an path can open up, as it leads us into the manifest-yet-hidden wonders of who we really are. Hinton writes as very few can, not only as a scholar, practitioner, and translator but also as a poet—something the old artist-intellectuals of China would surely have appreciated. His deep understanding of the Taoist roots of Ch’an shine a light on the Zen practice of today, taking us back in a thrilling way beyond the Japanese rigor and aesthetics, beyond the mythical T’ang Dynasty flourishing of Ch’an’s great ancestors, back to its Taoist roots in the first millennium BCE—and even beyond them, into the mists of its paleolithic origins. It is here, back in its true roots—which also happen to be the deepest aspects of our life—that Hinton beautifully makes clear our participation in a generative cosmos, a constantly manifesting, burgeoning Presence, even while it never ceases to be a primordial Absence.
Oddly perhaps, in spite of Hinton’s expert parsing out of missteps in the translation and transmission of this Dharma to the West, I can’t help feeling I’ve just read a staggeringly good account of the modern Zen training a contemporary Japanese-based lineage led me through. Be that as it may, this thoroughly gripping book pulls together various threads of David Hinton’s prior work into one powerful, concise masterwork. May it echo through modern zendos for decades to come.”—Henry Shukman Roshi, author of One Blade of Grass: A Zen Memoir
“In China Root, David Hinton presents an inspiring vision of Chan in close relation to its original Daoist roots, guiding us to recalibrate Buddhist thinking into more concrete, dynamic, earthy dimensions and to engage in a simpler yet even more immediate connection with the never-ceasing flow of life’s potency.”—Lion’s Roar