These wise and funny stories have been an inspiration to spiritual practice for more than twelve centuries, particularly for all those who follow the Buddhist path as laypeople. Layman P’ang (740–808) was a merchant and family man who one day put all his money and possessions in a boat and sunk it in a river, so that he could devote his life to the study of the dharma. His wife, son, and daughter joined him enthusiastically on his new path, taking up a joyfully itinerant life together as they traveled from temple to monastery across southern China. This collection of anecdotes and verses about the enlightened layman and his family has become an enduring Zen classic.
"P'ang the Layman is terrific at pulling the rug out from underneath you just at the right time. He is one of the great, wild, exhilarating Zen figures, a pioneer in the adventure of understanding the mind. James Green is one of the very best translators we have, and this book is a classic. "—John Tarrant, Roshi, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros