Weaving ancient sources and modern understanding into a compelling narrative, Gautama Buddha places his birth around 484 BCE, his Enlightenment in 449 BCE and his death in 404 BCE, a century later than the traditional dates. Vishvapani Blomfield examines Gautama's words and impact to shed fresh light on his culture, his spiritual search and the experiences and teachings that led his followers, to call him "The Awakened One."
Placing Gautama in a credible historical setting without assuming that he was really just an ordinary person, this book draws on the myths and legends that surround him to illuminate the significance of his life. It traces Gautama's investigations of consciousness, his strikingly original view of life and his development of new forms of religious community and practice.
This insightful and thought-provoking biography will appeal to anyone interested in history and religion, and in the Buddha as a thinker, spiritual teacher and a seminal cultural figure. Gautama Buddha is a gripping account of one of history's most powerful personalities.
Rediscovering the Buddha : The Legends and Their Interpretations: The Legends and Their Interpretations
The book describes the emergence and maturity of encounter dialogue and analyzes the new doctrines and practices of the school to revise the traditional notion of Mazu and his followers as iconoclasts. It also depicts the strivings of Mazu’s disciples for orthodoxy and how the criticisms of and reflections on Hongzhou doctrine led to the schism of this line and the rise of the Shitou line and various houses during the late Tang and Five Dynasties periods. Jia refutes the traditional Chan genealogy of two lines and five houses and calls for new frameworks in the study of Chan history. An annotated translation of datable discourses of Mazu is also included.
The Mahāratnakūta Sūtra is one of the five major sutra groups in the Mahāyāna canon. Of the two great schools of Buddhism, Mahāyāna has the greatest number of adherents worldwide--it prevails among the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Tibetans, and Vietnamese--and contains within it a number of movements, notably Zen, which have been of growing interest in the West in recent decades. Yet despite this increased attention and enormous following, translations of Mahāyāna scriptures have been scarce and fragmentary; clearly, a comprehensive translation of a major work within the canon was called for.
This volume addresses that need. It contains 22 of the 49 Sūtras of the Mahāratnakūta (or "Treasury") Sūtra, many translated for the first time in a Western language, selected and arranged to give the modern reader a progressive introduction to one of the world's major religious traditions. Subjects covered include Māyā and miracles, the teachings on Consciousness, Emptiness, and monastic discipline, the Mystical Light of the Tathāgata, and the devotional practice of Pure Land, making this a comprehensive source book of Mahāyāna Buddhism hitherto unavailable in English. The book also includes an introduction to provide historical and interpretive guidance, annotations that assist in the comprehension of difficult passages, and an extensive glossary that will be valuable to specialist and layman alike. A team of scholars, working in Taiwan, spent eight years translating the Treasury's million words from Chinese, using Tibetan texts for comparison and checking each Sūtra with an international board of scholars. In the course of translating from the original, special effort was made to retain both the devotional style appropriate for religious reading and the precision required by the scholar, while presenting the material with a clarity and flow that would make it accessible to the Western layman. The editors then selected, arranged, and annotated the 22 Sūtras presented here.
Published in cooperation with The Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions.
Politics and Transcendent Wisdom: The Scripture for Humane Kings in the Creation of Chinese Buddhism
Politics and Transcendent Wisdom presents a systematic theoretical framework for understanding the relationship between politics and religion in a variety of contexts. This book examines the formation of "national protection" Buddhism in China and translates the key text of this important movement. Showing that Buddhist notions of sovereignty were meant and were taken as more than mere metaphor, Orzech examines the profound link between Buddhist notions of transcendence and the deployment of political authority in East Asia. To this integration of philosophical tradition and political history is brought a new understanding of Buddhist cosmology.
The contexts of Buddhism as state religion in fifth- and eighth-century China are examined in detail, through extended consideration of the Transcendent Wisdom Scripture for Humane Kings Who Wish to Protect Their States, the text that was the charter for Buddhist state cults in China, Korea, and Japan into the twentieth century. The text first appeared during the fifth century as Buddhists were struggling to understand how their "foreign" religion and the "foreign" rulers of north China might be adapted to Chinese religious and political culture. The Scripture for Humane Kings and the rites enjoined by it were one answer to these questions. Three centuries later, in the context of a fully sinified Buddhism, the T'ang dynasty Tantric master Pu-k'ung produced a new version of the text with new rites that served as the centerpiece of his vision of a Chinese Buddhist state modeled on esoteric lines. The final section of this volume presents for the first time a full, annotated translation of this important East Asian Buddhist text.