History and essence are tightly interwoven in Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhists trace their school's way of enlightenment back to the terrains of India and the founder of the Buddhist religion, Shakyamuni. In Zen Enlightenment: Origins and Meaning , Heinrich Dumoulin explains how Mahayana Buddhism, originating in the spiritual legacy of India, met with Chinese Taoism, an encounter essential to the birth of Zen, the meditation school of Mahayana. And there, primarily through the activity of the great masters of the T'ang period (618906), Zen acquired its distinctly Chinese character. Beautiful quotations from Chinese Zen literature and nuanced chronicles of contemporary Zen students, along with compilations of koans and sayings of the masters, add color and perspective to the fascinating picture we have of the early Chinese Zen movement.