The book is based on a series of talks given on the Heart Sutra by Taisen Deshimaru, Roshi in Paris between 1977 and 1978. Deshimaru, a student of Kodo Sawaki, was instrumental to introducing Zen study and practice to Europe. While originally presented as a series of oral teachings the book maintains a good level of continuity. Deshimaru conveys a strong sense of scholarship without a loss of directness. I believe that this is the result of careful and sensitive editing of this new edition by Richard Collins who is both a dharma teacher and an English scholar, holding the Ph.D. in English literature. His thoughtful introduction sets the tone for the book and captures its essence. For instance, he writes:
As a Soto sangha in the tradition of Dogen Zenji, the New Orleans Zen Temple asked something else of me: simply to empty my preconceptions and to live in the here and now, doing what needed to be done, with a mushotoku attitude, with no thought of personal profit or gain (pp. xi-xii).
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