J.C. Cleary

‘From our point of view at the time, our mental state as teenagers in the 1960s, I think we were drawn to Buddhism because it gave the first articulate statement of truth we ever encountered. Buddhist thought was just so true, so lucid, so all-encompassing, so refreshing, we had to stop and find out more.’ (from the New York Times)

This quote comes from the obituary of J.C. Cleary’s brother Thomas, a familiar name to anyone who has read a Buddhist book in the last twenty years – he translated so many of the works that fill our shelves. The only criticism I ever heard of the Clearys was that there tended not to be indexes in their books, so it was not easy to navigate to particular stories; the writing itself is faultless and easy to read.

It also brings home the point that only a couple of generations ago, when Suzuki Roshi was getting Zen Center off the ground, that access to the wisdom of Buddhist teaching was incredibly limited. We can only be grateful that we now have so much more to read and digest.


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