Here, translated into English for the first time, are more than 450 aphorisms and koans from The Sayings of Joshu - one of the outstanding Zen texts of Tang period China.
Joshu (788-897) - a Buddhist purist and iconoclast, is one of the best known and most controversial figures in the pantheon of Zen. The sayings attributed to him and the stories in which he figures are classics of Zen teaching.
— From the cover
The old Zen master Joshu (Zhaozhou also Chao-chou) is one of those prototypical figures in classical Zen literature, the unpredictable protagonist of many of the key cases in the major koan collections. Come to think of it, many of our standard stereotypes of the Zen Master can be traced to this figure - irascible and blunt, down-to-earth and practical, prone to answer religious questions with seemingly off-the wall non-sequiturs and paradoxes if not a good sharp smack in the face.
Regardless of the now probably untraceable layers of historical fact and later legend swirled about within this image, then, it's of vital importance in understanding the Zen tradition and its development, not to mention its current sense of identity. And so the classic Zen text purporting to be Chao-chou's recorded sayings, wonderfully translated in this book by Yoel Hoffman, is as extremely significant as it is quizzically enjoyable and underhandedly inspiring.
— Amazon review