A Buddhist Bible
Indian types of ethical and philosophical Buddhism did not easily find acceptance in China; it took centuries of contact before a distinctively Chinese adaptation of Buddhism was effected that proved to be congenial to Chinese soil. This Chinese type of Buddhism is called Ch'an in China, and Zen in Japan, and Zen seems to be the more familiar name for it in America and Europe. Other sects have risen and decreased but they proved to be more or less exotic, they never became indigenous as did Zen. An exception may be suspected in the case of the Pure Land Sects, but it should be remembered that the Pure Land Sects developed from Zen and not independently. To tell the story of this adaptation of the Indian type of Buddhism until it became fixed in the teachings of the Sixth Patriarch, is the purpose of this book. The main part of the book is given over to English Versions of the favorite scriptures of the Zen Sect. To this is added Historical and Literary Introductions and a few notes that seem to be called for to make certain phases of the Sutras more easily intelligible.
The Buddhist Bible was first published in Vermont in 1932 by DWIGHT GODDARD (1861-1939), a pioneer in the American Zen Buddhist movement. It contains edited versions of foundational Buddhist texts designed to provide spiritual seekers with the heart of the Zen message. Writing at a time when Buddhism was greatly misunderstood in the West, Goddard hoped to bring a new and deep understanding to light. His mission was not only to explain Buddhism to his fellow Americans but to show how the ancient religion could be made relevant to modern problems. The Buddhist Bible made a huge impact when it was published and is known to have influenced the views of iconic Beat author Jack Kerouac.