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 takes readers to places few Westerners have ever ventured, weaving together historical background, interviews, and translations of the earliest known records of Zen along with personal vignettes into a fascinating tale of discovery.Porter’s account captures the transformations taking place at religious centers in China but also the legacy they have somehow managed to preserve. Porter brings wisdom and humor to every situation, whether visiting ancient caves containing the most complete collection of Buddhist texts ever uncovered, enduring a six-hour Buddhist ceremony, or meeting the abbess of China’s first Zen nunnery. Porter’s Road to Heaven: Encounters with Hermits has become recommended reading at Zen centers and universities throughout America and even in China (in its Chinese translation), and Zen Baggage is sure to follow suit.
A Pilgrimage to China
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Red Pine (Bill Porter) was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and attended graduate school at Columbia University. An acclaimed translator, his published works include three major Buddhist texts: The Platform Sutra, The Diamond Sutra, and The Heart Sutra. He is also the author of Zen Baggage, Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits. Red Pine has lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and has traveled extensively in China, visiting Zen temples and seeking out hermits. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
Winner of the 2018 Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation "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