All in all, this is a handy text - two 'Zen classics' under one cover.@So far as translation goes, the collaborators (Sekida and Grimstone) have made a fair job of this task. It is well worth reading in conjuction with Sekida's companion work -'Zen Training:Methods and Philosophy.'
As a lay-Buddhist himself, Sekida-sensei knew well the sort of problems that layfolk encounter and therefore avoided writing about Zen practice as if it were the prerogative of Zen monks, throwing in little pointers and hints which would help explicate Zen practice for layfolk. In that sense, Sekida's work will remain useful for years to come.
In other respects, it must be noted that since this book was published (1977), Thomas Cleary has presented us with what is by far the most complete version of the Hekiganroku or 'Blue Cliff Record.' You might as well know what's been missing.
In the introductory chapter to Sekida's text, A.V. Grimstone, Sekida's collaborator, described Shaw's version of the Hekiganroku (1961) as the only other 'complete' translation to date - but, it was not - it had omitted material, mainly Yuan-Wu's.@Regrettably, Sekida also omitted portions of Yuan-wu's (Engo's) material, noting, ironically, that popular Japanese versions of the Hekiganroku often do the same. Grimstone described these missing portions as 'commentaries and notes' - as if that might be taken in the customary sense, and such material comfortably dropped. But, this material did not comprise 'commentaries and notes' in the conventional sense. It was an intrinsic part of the Hekiganroku. The whole Hekiganroku is collection of comments, verses, counter-verses and counter-comments.@What Grimstone had been referring to, actually constituted a kind of capping material, intrinsically related to the rest of the Hekiganroku.
To put it bluntly, this was messing around.@The Hekiganroku is basically a composite text - Hsueh-t'ou's (Settcho's) hundred verses and verse comments, with Yuan-wu's (Engo's) introductory pointers, verse comments etc. and capping remarks. Of course, Hsueh-t'ou's verse/comments can be considered independently; they were read that way - before the addition of Yuan-wu's material - and are still read that way today, if people so wish. But to present Hseuh-t'ou's verses/verse comments, with fragmentary portions of Yuan-wu's material, was neither one thing nor the other.