The Lotus Sutra has been the most widely read and most revered Buddhist scripture in East Asia since its translation in the third century. The miracles and parables in the "king of sutras" inspired a variety of images in China, in particular the sweeping compositions known as transformation tableaux that developed between the seventh and ninth centuries. Surviving examples in murals painted on cave walls or carved in relief on Buddhist monuments depict celestial journeys, bodily metamorphoses, cycles of rebirth, and the achievement of nirvana. Yet the cosmos revealed in these tableaux is strikingly different from that found in the text of the sutra. Shaping the Lotus Sutra explores this visual world. Challenging long-held assumptions about Buddhist art, Eugene Wang treats it as a window to an animated and spirited world. Rather than focus on individual murals as isolated compositions, Wang views the entire body of pictures adorning a cave shrine or a pagoda as a visual mapping of an imaginary topography that encompasses different temporal and spatial domains. He demonstrates that the text of the Lotus Sutra does not fully explain the pictures and that a picture, or a series of them, constitutes its own "text." In exploring how religious pictures sublimate cultural aspirations, he shows that they can serve both political and religious agendas and that different social forces can co-exist within the same visual program. These pictures inspired meditative journeys through sophisticated formal devices such as mirroring, mapping, and spatial programming - analytical categories newly identified by Wang. The book examines murals in cave shrines at Binglingsi and Dunhuang in northwestern China and relief sculptures in the grottoes of Yungang in Shanxi, on stelae from Sichuan, and on the Dragon-and-Tiger pagoda in Shandong, among other sites. By tracing formal impulses in medieval Chinese picture-making, such as topographic mapping and pictorial illusionism, the author pieces together a wide range of visual evidence and textual sources to reconstruct the medieval Chinese cognitive style and mental world. The book is ultimately a history of the Chinese imagination. Read an interview with the author: http://dgeneratefilms.com/cinematalk/cinematalk-interview-with-professor-eugene-wang-on-chinese-art-and-film/
The Lotus Sutra proclaims that a unitary intent underlies the diversity of Buddhist teachings and promises that all people without exception can achieve supreme awakening. Establishing the definitive guide to this profound text, specialists in Buddhist philosophy, art, and history of religion address the major ideas and controversies surrounding the Lotus Sutra and its manifestations in ritual performance, ascetic practice, visual representations, and social action across history. Essays survey the Indian context in which the sutra was produced, its compilation and translation history, and its influence across China and Japan, among many other issues. The volume also includes a Chinese and Japanese character glossary, notes on Western translations of the text, and a synoptic bibliography.
A concise and accessible introduction to the classic Buddhist text The Lotus Sutra is arguably the most famous of all Buddhist scriptures. Composed in India in the first centuries of the Common Era, it is renowned for its inspiring message that all beings are destined for supreme enlightenment. Here, Donald Lopez provides an engaging and accessible biography of this enduring classic. Lopez traces the many roles the Lotus Sutra has played in its travels through Asia, Europe, and across the seas to America. The story begins in India, where it was one of the early Mahayana sutras, which sought to redefine the Buddhist path. In the centuries that followed, the text would have a profound influence in China and Japan, and would go on to play a central role in the European discovery of Buddhism. It was the first Buddhist sutra to be translated from Sanskrit into a Western language—into French in 1844 by the eminent scholar Eugène Burnouf. That same year, portions of the Lotus Sutra appeared in English in The Dial, the journal of New England's Transcendentalists. Lopez provides a balanced account of the many controversies surrounding the text and its teachings, and describes how the book has helped to shape the popular image of the Buddha today. He explores how it was read by major literary figures such as Henry David Thoreau and Gustave Flaubert, and how it was used to justify self-immolation in China and political extremism in Japan. Concise and authoritative, this is the essential introduction to the life and afterlife of a timeless masterpiece.
Maria Immacolata Macioti's The Buddha Within Ourselves contains the results of a five-year study conducted by Professor Macioti, and a team of young scholars under her direction. This study focuses on Nichiren Buddhism as practiced by the members of the Italian Soka Gakkai, one of 177 sister organizations associated with Soka Gakkai International, a well known Japan-based Buddhist association that promotes peace, culture and education all over the world. Richard M. Capozzi's translation makes this book available to English-speaking audiences, for the first time.
A compact summary like Probing the Sutras has been sorely needed for some time, as more and more Westerners have dipped into meditation without any understanding of its predominantly Buddhist scriptural underpinning. This concise, well-informed introduction to the history and contents of eleven seminal Buddhist sutras also provides suggestions for reflection, meditation, and practical applications related to the key teachings of each scripture. Readers of Probing the Sutras will be able to develop a framework for understanding Buddhist doctrines--and see the unique pearls of wisdom contained within each sutra.
Stories are ancient and wondrous tools with the mysterious power to transform lives. And the stories and parables of the Lotus Sutra-one of the world's great religious scriptures and most influential texts-are among the most fascinating and dramatic. In this fun, engaging, and plain-English book, Gene Reeves-the translator of Wisdom's critically acclaimed and bestselling edition of the Lotus Sutra-presents the most memorable and remarkable of the Lotus Sutra's many stories and parables, along with a distillation of his decades of reflection on them in an accessible, inspiring, and naturally illuminating way. The Stories of the Lotus Sutra is the perfect companion to Reeve's breathtaking translation of this scriptural masterpiece as well as a thoroughly enjoyable stand-alone volume for those who want to bring the inspiring teachings of the bodhisattva path into their daily lives.
The University of Washington-Korea Studies Program, in collaboration with Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, is proud to publish the Journal of Korean Studies. In 1979 Dr. James Palais (PhD Harvard 1968), former UW professor of Korean History edited and published the first volume of the Journal of Korean Studies. For thirteen years it was a leading academic forum for innovative, in-depth research on Korea. In 2004 former editors Gi-Wook Shin and John Duncan revived this outstanding publication at Stanford University. In August 2008 editorial responsibility transferred back to the University of Washington. With the editorial guidance of Clark Sorensen and Donald Baker, the Journal of Korean Studies (JKS) continues to be dedicated to publishing outstanding articles, from all disciplines, on a broad range of historical and contemporary topics concerning Korea. In addition the JKS publishes reviews of the latest Korea-related books. To subscribe to the Journal of Korean Studies or order print back issues, please click here.
In early medieval China hundreds of Buddhist miracle texts were circulated, inaugurating a trend that would continue for centuries. Each tale recounted extraordinary events involving Chinese persons and places—events seen as verifying claims made in Buddhist scriptures, demonstrating the reality of karmic retribution, or confirming the efficacy of Buddhist devotional practices. Robert Ford Campany, one of North America’s preeminent scholars of Chinese religion, presents in this volume the first complete, annotated translation, with in-depth commentary, of the largest extant collection of miracle tales from the early medieval period, Wang Yan’s Records of Signs from the Unseen Realm, compiled around 490 C.E. In addition to the translation, Campany provides a substantial study of the text and its author in their historical and religious settings. He shows how these lively tales helped integrate Buddhism into Chinese society at the same time that they served as platforms for religious contestation and persuasion. Campany offers a nuanced, clear methodological discussion of how such narratives, being products of social memory, may be read as valuable evidence for the history of religion and culture. Readers interested in Buddhism; historians of Chinese religions, culture, society, and literature; scholars of comparative religion: All will find Signs from the Unseen Realm a stimulating and rich contribution to scholarship.
In the Forbidden City and other palaces around Beijing, Emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-1795) surrounded himself with monumental paintings of architecture, gardens, people, and faraway places. The best artists of the imperial painting academy, including a number of European missionary painters, used Western perspectival illusionism to transform walls and ceilings with visually striking images that were also deeply meaningful to Qianlong. These unprecedented works not only offer new insights into late imperial China�s most influential emperor, but also reflect one way in which Chinese art integrated and domesticated foreign ideas. In Imperial Illusions, Kristina Kleutghen examines all known surviving examples of the Qing court phenomenon of �scenic illusion paintings� (tongjinghua), which today remain inaccessible inside the Forbidden City. Produced at the height of early modern cultural exchange between China and Europe, these works have received little scholarly attention. Richly illustrated, Imperial Illusions offers the first comprehensive investigation of the aesthetic, cultural, perceptual, and political importance of these illusionistic paintings essential to Qianlong�s world. For more information: http://arthistorypi.org/books/imperial-illusions
Despite Augustine's reputation as the father of Christian intolerance, one finds in his thought the surprising claim that within non-Christian writings there are 'some truths in regard even to the worship of the One God.' The essays here uncover provocative points of comparison and similarity between Christianity and other religions to further such an Augustinian dialogue.