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Buddhadharma : Spring 2016
spring 2016 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 73 The phrase “Tibetan Zen”—the title of scholar Sam van Schaik’s new book—may initially startle the casual reader. The idea of Zen in Tibet is clearly announcing some news about Tibetan Buddhism that most readers have not heard before. The book, a collection of short translations with introductory essays, is based on van Schaik’s extensive study of rare ninth- and tenth-century Tibetan manuscripts from the famous Central Asian Buddhist cave shrines at Dunhuang, an ancient oasis town along what is often referred to as the Silk Road. These early Tibetan Dunhuang manuscripts, forgotten for over a thousand years and only rediscovered in the early twentieth century, offer a window into the existence of a Tibetan “Zen” tradition that has been virtually unknown to scholars, whether Tibetan, European, or Chinese. reviews Forgotten encounters of tantra and zen review by annabella pitkin aNNaBella PiTKiN is an assistant pro- fessor of Buddhism and east asian religions at lehigh university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She specializes in Tibetan Buddhism and asian intellectual history. Mogao Caves Caves at Dunhuang, China, along what was once known as the Silk Road, where some of the earliest surviving Tibetan Zen manuscripts have been found. photo | © mick roessler / corBiS