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Lay Buddhism and Spirituality

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Early issues of The Eastern Buddhist contain short translations from various Buddhist texts, some of them quite important and all of considerable interest. Since they are set unobtrusively between modern statements and arguments about the nature of Buddhism, and in any case are difficult to locate, they have often gone unnoticed by students. Assembled here is a selection of those texts which have stood the test of time. Drawn from Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese originals, they mainly reflect the Zen and Shin Buddhist traditions, though in the wider context of early Mahāyāna Buddhism. Drawing them together into one volume brings out the fact that these varied Buddhist traditions are intricately related to each other. The result is an unusual and fascinating reader which would grace many a course in Buddhist studies.

Published: Jul 1, 2014


Section Chapter Authors
List of Illustrations Michael Pye
Preface with Acknowledgements Michael Pye
Conventions on Names, Titles and Scripts Michael Pye
A Note on The Eastern Buddhist Michael Pye
1 Introduction Michael Pye
Part I The Teaching of Vimalakīrti
2 Vimalakīrti’s Discourse on Emancipation Izumi Hōkei
Part II Related Strands in Early Mahāyāna Buddhism
3 The Heart Sūtra (Prajñā-pāramitā-hṛdaya-sūtra) Shaku Hannya
4 Nāgārjuna’s Mahāyāna-viṃśaka Yamaguchi Susumu
5 Outline of the Avataṃsaka Sūtra (Kegonkyō) Beatrice Lane Suzuki
6 The Hymn on the Life and Vows of Samantabhadra Izumi Hōkei
Part III Hints of Laity in the Esoteric Tradition
7 Fudō the Immovable Beatrice Lane Suzuki
8 Ceremonies for Disciples on Mount Kōya Beatrice Lane Suzuki
Part IV Revisiting Masters of the Nenbutsu
9 The Pure Land Doctrine in Shōkū’s “Plain Wood” Nenbutsu Sugihira Shizutoshi
10 Myōe’s Critique of Hōnen Bandō Shōjun
11 Ippen Shōnin and the Nenbutsu Yanagi Sōetsu
12 Shinran and his Song on Amida Buddha Beatrice Lane Suzuki
13 On Steadfast Holding to the Name Kakunyo Shōnin
14 Rennyo the Restorer Kaneko Daiei
15 Asahara Saichi the Myōkōnin Satō Taira
16 The Rite of Reception into Jōdo Shinshū Dan Bornstein
Synoptic List of Text Titles
Synoptic List of Text Titles Michael Pye
Character List for Historical Persons
Character List for Historical Persons Michael Pye
Original Publication Details
Original Publication Details Michael Pye
Index Michael Pye

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The most important contribution in this volume is probably an English translation (from the Chinese version) of the Vimalakīrti-nirdeśa by Izumi Hokei (1884–1947) which is assembled from different issues of The Eastern Buddhist. It supplements various other translations of this important text which exist already. Other contributions provide translations of the Heart Sutra or short texts related to the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra (Fugen 普賢). In addition to these valuable translations there are a couple of interesting contributions by various authors focusing on diverse aspects of “lay spirituality” and sometimes giving insight into the diversified interest of Japanese Zen or Shin Buddhists. The volume includes a valuable synoptic list of texts which are directly referred to in the volume and an excellent index which helps to explore its rich content.
Religious Studies Review