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  • Published: 2 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241468456
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $35.00

Finding the Heart Sutra

Guided by a Magician, an Art Collector and Buddhist Sages from Tibet to Japan




An introduction to the essential Buddhist text from the author of Lost Japan

Forty years ago, after learning of the Heart Sutra in Japan, Alex Kerr set out on a quest to seek the wisdom that lies at the heart of this ancient Buddhist scripture. Guided by Zen abbots in Kyoto, Tibetan monks, a French writer, an American art collector, a magician and the writings of Chinese scholars over the centuries, he came to see how this brief poem on emptiness is a storehouse of a universe of thought.

Travelling from Japan, Korea, and China, to India, Mongolia, Tibet and Vietnam, this intimate book weaves together memory, history and calligraphy. Alex reveals us to the many ways the Heart Sutra continues to influence the culture of Japan - and the world - today.

  • Published: 2 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241468456
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $35.00

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Praise for Finding the Heart Sutra

Panoramic . . . what Kerr does so well as a writer is delve into the smaller details that other scribes overlook . . . the best books are about the reader, mindful of their wants and needs, while the author remains in the background where he or she can more effectively transmit the story and its meaning. Kerr excels at this, even while telling what is a highly personal story

Amy Chavez, Books on Asia

Compelling, beautiful . . . Alex Kerr finds humor at the heart of wisdom and enlightenment

J.J. O'Donoghue, Japan Times

An erudite and charming book . . . Alex Kerr delves into the Japanese soul in Finding the Heart Sutra . . . both a primer and a paean to one of the central texts to Buddhism

Literary Review

Playful and accessible . . . superb calligraphy . . . those who loved Kerr's Lost Japan or his most recent Bangkok Found will remember, as they read this latest offering, the reasons they have enjoyed his work: Kerr's deep understanding of culture and his refined aesthetic sensibilities, qualities that allow him to capture the world he writes about in a way that is always compelling

Leanne Ogasawara, Kyoto Journal

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