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John R. McRae

John R. McRae was a renowned expert on Chinese Chan who also possessed an extensive knowledge of the field of Buddhism in general. After getting a PhD at Yale University, he taught at Cornell and Indiana Universities before moving to Japan and teaching part-time at Komazawa University. As a specialist in East Asian Buddhism, he was especially interested in ideologies of spiritual cultivation and how they interact with their intellectual and cultural environments. His seminal work on Chinese Chan was The Northern School and the Formation of Early Chan Buddhism (University of Hawai`i Press, 1986). This was later followed by Seeing through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism (University of California Press, 2003). He spent much of his career studying the life of the important Chan figure Shenhui (684–758), and was expecting to complete a manuscript on the topic before his untimely passing in October of 2011. John also completed a number of translations of Chinese Buddhist scriptural texts for the Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai's English translation series, and served as Chair of the Publication Committee for the series until his passing.

For the DDB John provided explanations for a number of terms derived from his research in Chinese Chan texts. [2012/09/11]