David Hinton & Jon Joseph

A virtual event to celebrate the publication of The Way of Ch'an: Essential Texts of the Original Tradition
David Hinton Shambhala Way of Ch'an Point Reyes Books
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 - 5:00pm


Free, registration required

Author, poet, and translator David Hinton joins us for a conversation with Roshi Jon Joseph, of the Pacific Zen Institute, about his recent book of translations, The Way of Ch'an: Essential Texts of the Original Tradition (Shambhala). 

“A national treasure . . . Hinton cracks open the cosmos and takes you into the depths of the mind.”—Lion’s Roar

This free event is presented in partnership with the Pacific Zen Institute


About The Way of Ch'an

This sweeping collection of new translations paints a brilliant picture of the development of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism, China’s most radical philosophical and meditative tradition.

In this landmark anthology of some two dozen translations, celebrated translator David Hinton shows how Ch'an (Japanese: Zen)—too long considered a perplexing school of Chinese Buddhism—was in truth a Buddhist-inflected form of Taoism, China's native system of spiritual philosophy. The texts in The Way of Ch’an build from seminal Taoism through the “Dark-Enigma Learning” literature and on to the most important pieces from all stages of the classical Ch’an tradition. Guided by Hinton’s accessible introductions, readers will encounter texts and authors including: 

  • I Ching (c. 12th century BCE)
  • Lao Tzu (c. 6th century BCE
  • Bodhidharma (active c. 500-550 CE)
  • Sixth Patriarch Prajna-Able (Hui Neng, 638-713)
  • Cold Mountain (Han Shan: c. 8th-9th centuries)
  • Yellow-Bitterroot Mountain (Huang Po, d. 850)
  • Blue-Cliff Record (c. 1040)                                                                 

Through this steadily deepening and transformative reading experience, readers will see the profound and intricate connections between native Chinese philosophy, Taoism, and Ch’an. Contemporary Zen students and practitioners will never see their tradition in the same way again.

About the participants

David Hinton has published numerous books of poetry and essays, and many translations of ancient Chinese poetry and philosophy—all informed by an abiding interest in deep ecological thinking. This widely acclaimed work has earned Hinton a Guggenheim Fellowship, numerous fellowships from NEA and NEH, and both of the major awards given for poetry translation in the United States: the Landon Translation Award (Academy of American Poets) and the PEN American Translation Award. Most recently, Hinton received a lifetime achievement award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Jon Joseph, Roshi is the practice leader of San Mateo Zen, and holding teacher for Desert Lotus Zen in Phoenix. He began sitting Zen over 40 years ago with a group of high school friends, led by their Spanish teacher. Jon then took his practice to the logging camps and fishing villages of Alaska and to the redwoods of California’s North Coast. After college, Jon traveled to Kamakura, Japan, where he studied for eight years with Yamada Koun Roshi at the SanUn Zendo. In the late 1980s, Jon returned to San Francisco and New York as a technology financial analyst, and took up koan practice with John Tarrant, Roshi, the founder of Pacific Zen Institute. Tarrant Roshi (Bring Me the Rhinoceros) and Pacific Zen have become known for their innovative use of the ancient koans to transform our lives in the present world. In 2012 Tarrant Roshi gave Jon permission to teach. In 2016 Jon received full transmission.

The Way of Ch'an: Essential Texts of the Original Tradition By David Hinton Cover Image
ISBN: 9781611809237
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Shambhala - July 25th, 2023