Essential Chan Buddhism is the rare unearthing of an ancient and remarkable Chinese spiritual tradition that is still largely unknown in the West. Chan Master Guo Jun shares his beautifully rendered wisdom and sparkling insights from the heart and soul of Chan, which is related to but distinct from its close relation, Japanese Zen. Guo Jun gives us glimpses of his own arduous ascetic path and the ways Chan embodies not only Buddhism but Taosim and Confucianism.

A book of timeless wisdom poetically presented, Essential Chan Buddhismis based on talks Guo Jun gave at a fourteen day retreat near Jakarta in 2010 and on subsequent conversations with his editor, Kenneth Wapner. It takes one of the world’s great wisdom traditions into the twenty-first century.


WATCH this truly inspiring film featuring Chan Master Guo Jun as he speaks to the soul of Essential Chan Buddhism.

“ As if he were looking at different facets of a jewel, Guo Jun describes in graceful language the many aspects of Chinese Zen, such as “the taste of liberation is the taste of Chan” and “in Chan, you fall in love with your breath.” He touches lightly on topics such as mindfulness, relaxation, wisdom, courage, and impermanence, often with vivid analogies and acute analysis.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“In this highly readable book, Master Guo Jun brings Chan’s profound and powerful teachings to the page in a form is that is accessible, poetic, spontaneous, and full of warmth, humor, and deep insight. . . . I very much admire and enjoy this book, and I am honored to introduce it. It is a window into the heart and soul of China, as its great people will once again rise above their materialist obsessions and regain the splendor of their inheritance of spiritual greatness handed on to them by their world treasure dharma masters. This book of the teachings of Master Guo Jun is to be treasured, not only by Buddhists, but also by serious humanists and spiritual seekers of all kinds.”

Robert A. F. “Tenzin” Thurman

Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University
Author of Infinite Life and other works

“Among the finest [spiritual guides] I’ve ever read, saturated, as it is, with the profound humanity of Chan Master Guo Jun’s personal spiritual adventure; with the true nature of Chan; with beauty, and wisdom, and humor, and sweetness.”

George Crane

Author of Bones of the Master: A Journey to Secret Mongolia

“I'd recommend this book to beginners, long-time practitioners and especially those looking for direct lessons from the Chan tradition of Buddhism.”

The Buddhist Blog – 1/24/13

“The book offers much for those new to Buddhism, and insight to long-time Buddhists looking to return to the "Beginners Mind" of Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki. … Overall, I'd recommend this book to beginners, long-time practitioners and especially those looking for direct lessons from the Chan tradition of Buddhism.”

Buddhist-Being Truly Human

“We look forward to Chan Master Guo Jun's next book for in this one he has made the spirit and character of Chinese Zen palpable and glorious.”

Spirituality &