The Gathering of Intentions reads a single Tibetan Buddhist ritual system through the movements of Tibetan history, revealing the social and material dimensions of an ostensibly timeless tradition. By subjecting tantric practice to historical analysis, the book offers new insight into the origins of Tibetan Buddhism, the formation of its canons, the emergence of new lineages and ceremonies, and modern efforts to revitalize the religion by returning to its mythic origins. Continue reading
The tradition of Zen teaching stories goes back at least to the time of the Buddha. Like the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh uses story–telling to engage people’s interest so he can share important teachings, insights and life lessons.
Drawing of the Buddha
When I was a small boy of seven or eight I happened to see a drawing of the Buddha on the cover of a Buddhist magazine. The Buddha was sitting on the grass, very peacefully, and I was impressed. I thought the artist must have had a lot of peace and calm within himself at the time to be able to draw such a special image. Just looking at the drawing made me happy, because so many people around me at the time were not very calm or happy at all. Continue reading
The Chan monk Qisong (1007-1072), an important figure in Northern Song religious and intellectual history, has garnered relatively little scholarly attention. This book provides a detailed biography with a focus on the influential historical writings he composed to defend Chan claims of a “mind-to-mind transmission” tracing back to the historical Buddha. It places his defence of lineage in the context not only of attacks by the rival Tiantai school but also of the larger backdrop of the development of lineage and patriarchs as sources of authority in Chinese Buddhism. It advances new arguments about these Chinese Buddhist innovations, challenges common assumptions about Chan masters, and offers insights into the interactions of Buddhists, Confucians, and the imperial court during the Song. Continue reading
Trans. and Commentary by Red Pine,
Shoemaker & Hoard, ISBN 9781593760823
Most Buddhists will know the Heart Sutra, at least those interested in the Mahayana tradition. It is chanted daily in Zen temples throughout Japan, Korea and China. This is considered to be the heart, the very essence, of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita) texts. There have been many translations of this short text over the years, but this is a completely fresh look and the translator comes up with some rather unique conclusions.
Red Pine, otherwise known as Bill Porter, is the name he goes by when engaged in translation work—as with his Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom, and The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Continue reading
Filed under: Book reviews, Books, Buddhism, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, History, Mahayana | Tagged: Abhidharma, Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom, Road to Heaven, Sarvastivadins, Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma | 2 Comments »
The Metropolitan Museum’s collection of Chinese Buddhist and Daoist sculpture is the largest in the western world. In this lavish, comprehensive volume, archaeological discoveries and scientific testing and analysis serve as the basis for a reassessment of 120 works ranging in date from the fourth to the twentieth century, many of them previously unpublished and all of them newly and beautifully photographed. An introductory essay provides an indispensable overview of Buddhist practices and iconography—acquainting us with the panoply of past, present, and future Buddhas, bodhisattvas, monks and arhats, guardians and adepts, pilgrims and immortals—and explores the fascinating dialogue between Indian and Chinese culture that underlies the transmission of Buddhism into China.
The field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits. Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness.
Utter emptiness has no image, upright independence does not rely on anything. Just expand and illuminate the original truth unconcerned by external conditions. Accordingly we are told to realize that not a single thing exists. In this field birth and death do not appear. Continue reading