Listen – Zen Buddhism on BBC Radio 4


With some excellent guests ‘In Our Time’ on Zen Buddhism from BBC Radio 4 is well worth listening to.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Zen. It’s often thought of as a form of Buddhism that emphasises the practice of meditation over any particular set of beliefs. In fact Zen belongs to a particular intellectual tradition within Buddhism that took root in China in the 6th century AD. It spread to Japan in the early Middle Ages, where Zen practitioners set up religious institutions like temples, monasteries and universities that remain important today.


Tim Barrett, Emeritus Professor in the Department of the Study of Religions at SOAS, University of London

Lucia Dolce, Numata Reader in Japanese Buddhism at SOAS, University of London

Eric Greene, Lecturer in East Asian Religions at the University of Bristol

There is even a useful short bibliography on Zen Buddhism:

William Bodiford, Soto Zen in Medieval Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 1993)

Robert E. Buswell, The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea (Princeton University Press, 1992)

Bernard Faure, Visions of Power: Imagining Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Princeton University Press, 1993)

Bernard Faure, The Rhetoric of Immediacy: A Cultural Critique of Chan/Zen Buddhism (Princeton University Press, 1991)

Steven Heine, Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters (Oxford University Press, 2002)

Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright, Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice (Oxford University Press, 2008)

John McRae, Seeing Through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism (University of California Press, 2004)

Morten Schlütter, How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China (University of Hawaii Press, 2008)

Brian Victoria, Zen at War (Weatherhill, 1997)

Albert Welter, The Linji Lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy: The Development of Chan’s Records of Sayings Literature (Oxford University Press, 2008)


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