Marking the Death of John R McRae

Marking the Death of John R McRae October 24, 2011

I’ve just learned the noted Buddhist scholar John R. McRae has died in Bankok.

He earned his doctorate at Yale, taught widely and wrote several very important books, including The Northern School and the Formation of Early Ch’an Buddhism, and Seeing Through Zen.

The Zensite hosts a review by the erudite “Vladimir K” of this later book, fully titled Seeing Through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism.

It begins “John McRae’s latest book will surely upset some Zen students, Buddhist practitioners and teachers and, I suspect, a number of academics. John McRae is the Professor East Asian Buddhism at Indiana University and has published extensively on early Chan history so perhaps other academics may not be as surprised by this book as the non-expert may be.” 

I really liked the book. Thought it important.


And, I suggest, worth visiting the Zensite and reading the whole review


Professor McRae leaves three children and his spouse the scholar Jan Nattier.


Many bows to a great scholar and an important interpreter of Chan and Zen Buddhism. Our debt is endless…



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