These wise and funny stories have been an inspiration to spiritual practice for more than twelve centuries, particularly for all those who follow the Buddhist path as laypeople. Layman P’ang (740–808) was a merchant and family man who one day put all his money and possessions in a boat and sunk it in a river, so that he could devote his life to the study of the dharma. His wife, son, and daughter joined him enthusiastically on his new path, taking up a joyfully itinerant life together as they traveled from temple to monastery across southern China. This collection of anecdotes and verses about the enlightened layman and his family has become an enduring Zen classic.
About the Author
For his translations, acclaimed poet Michael Hofmann has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Dublin International IMPAC Award, the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator s Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and The Schlegel-Tieck Prize (four times). He is the highly acclaimed translator of, among others, Kafka, Brecht, and Joseph Roth.
James Green is well known as the author of the Jimmy Costello crime series, the first of which, Bad Catholics, was short-listed for the 2009 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards. He is married and lives in Nottinghamshire.
“P’ang the Layman is terrific at pulling the rug out from underneath you just at the right time. He is one of the great, wild, exhilarating Zen figures, a pioneer in the adventure of understanding the mind. James Green is one of the very best translators we have, and this book is a classic.”—John Tarrant, Roshi, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros