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The author of The World's Religions and the award-winning author of The World's Wisdom present an incisive introduction to Buddhism that traces its history, teachings, and practices throughout the world. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cambodia, Erik W. Davis radically reorients approaches toward the nature of Southeast Asian Buddhism's interactions with local religious practice and, by extension, reorients our understanding of Buddhism itself. Through a vivid study of contemporary Cambodian Buddhist funeral rites, he reveals the powerfully integrative role monks play as they care for the dead and negotiate the interplay of non-Buddhist spirits and formal Buddhist customs. Buddhist monks perform funeral rituals rooted in the embodied practices of Khmer rice farmers and the social hierarchies of Khmer culture. The monks' realization of death underwrites key components of the Cambodian social imagination: the distinction between wild death and celibate life, the forest and the field, and moral and immoral forms of power. By connecting the performative aspects of Buddhist death rituals to Cambodian history and everyday life, Davis undermines the theory that Buddhism and rural belief systems necessarily oppose each other. Instead, he shows Cambodian Buddhism to be a robust tradition with ethical and popular components extending throughout Khmer society.
Wizards with magical powers to heal the sick, possess the bodies of their followers, and defend their tradition against outside threats are far from the typical picture of Buddhism. Yet belief in wizard-saints who protect their devotees and intervene in the world is widespread among Burmese Buddhists. The Buddha's Wizards is a historically informed ethnographic study that explores the supernatural landscape of Buddhism in Myanmar to explain the persistence of wizardry as a form of lived religion in the modern era. Thomas Nathan Patton explains the world of wizards, spells, and supernatural powers in terms of both the broader social, political, and religious context and the intimate roles that wizards play in people's everyday lives. He draws on affect theory, material and visual culture, long-term participant observation, and the testimonies of the devout to show how devotees perceive the protective power of wizard-saints. Patton considers beliefs and practices associated with wizards to be forms of defending Buddhist traditions from colonial and state power and culturally sanctioned responses to restrictive gender roles. The book also offers a new lens on the political struggles and social transformations that have taken place in Myanmar in recent years. Featuring close attention to the voices of individual wizard devotees and the wizards themselves, The Buddha's Wizards provides a striking new look at a little-known aspect of Buddhist belief that helps expand our ways of thinking about the daily experience of lived religious practices.
Essentially a lively, accessible, and informative introduction to Buddhism, Introducing Buddhism simply presents the life story of the Buddha and the essential teachings of Buddhism, then encourages us to examine them for ourselves. Chris Pauling explores the three traditional strands of the Buddhist path--ethics, meditation, and wisdom--as well as the various approaches to Buddhist practice that the main traditions have developed through the ages--devotion, study, work, and reflection. He also includes a brief history of Buddhism and takes a refreshing look at common questions about such matters as karma and rebirth and whether Buddhists believe in God.
The highest teachings on the nature of mind are like a diamond, transparent and indestructible, also reflecting the color of the society into which they are introduced. Originating in India, Buddhism migrated to Tibet, and is today taking a style more appropriate to educated and independent minds in the West. Lama Ole, one of the few qualified western lamas of the Karma Kagyu tradition, is a major driving force in this process, providing here a fresh, exciting summary of Buddha's timeless wisdom. This seminal work offers the liberating and powerful methods of Diamond Way (Vajrayana) Buddhism for readers seeking to incorporate Buddhist practice into their daily lives. In language that is witty, easy to understand, and without compromising on the essentials, Ole answers the questions that Westerners ask. How do Buddha's teachings utilize the potential of our full being in today's world? Through which practices may we experience mind as limitless space and bliss? How can one use the daily joys and difficulties in one's job, family, or partnerships for spiritual growth? And what is spiritual growth and how does one recognize it? "The Way Things Are" answers these questions and provides practical methods for developing mind, and makes the timeless wisdom of Buddhism accessible to an intrigued western audience, itself increasingly drawn to Tibetan Buddhism. This is a revised, much expanded (three times the length) and up-to-date edition of the original book published in 1997.
Buddhism is often characterised as one of the most complex and enigmatic of all the world's religions. Although the Buddha himself was not a philosopher in the sense that that term is often understood, a Buddhist philosophy nevertheless emerged from the Buddha's teachings that was astonishingly rich, profound and elusive. Buddhism, which for over two millennia has been an integral part of South and East Asian society and civilisation, is now increasingly popular in the West, where its teachings about liberation of the self from the cycle of existence have proved attractive to people from a wide variety of backgrounds. In this new and comprehensive textbook, Alexander Wynne shows that the story of Buddhism as a global system of belief begins with the life of the Buddha in northern India in the fifth century bce. He discusses the many new advances that have been made in recent years with regard to Buddhist origins, and traces the ways that formative Indian doctrines helped shape the features of later Asian Buddhism. Carefully outlining the major Buddhist traditions, Wynne examines in turn the major Mahayana traditions of China, in- cluding the Ch'an and Pure Land schools, as well as recent trends in Theravada Buddhism, especially in Sri Lanka and Thailand, and the Tantric Buddhism of Tibet. Finally, he turns to the role of Buddhism in the modern world, and explores how the western encounter with Buddhism has both affected and been affected by it, especially in the fields of cognitive science and modern psychology.
Whether through lyrical celebrations of the wonders of nature; paeans to the steadfastness of women; or salutations to the world leaders who have in their various ways provided inspiration to his lifelong devotion to the causes of peace, justice and education, Daisaku Ikeda in his poems expresses unwavering commitment to the development of a humanistic global culture. These translations, the first of a three-volume collection and based on the Japanese Complete Works of Daisaku Ikeda (Ikeda Daisaku zenshu), cover the years 1945-2007, and explore the many subjects to which the leader of the Soka Gakkai International has devoted his 'poetic heart and mind.' The translators have sought to reproduce the rhythms and timbres of a voice, which- though influenced by the likes of Whitman, Defoe, Dumas, Ibsen, Emerson and Shelley- is yet distinctive and unique. Sometimes the poet adopts a simple vernacular note; at other times the compression associated with Japanese poeic forms haiku and waka. But at all times the poetry maintains a stately rhythm that reflects the dignity of ordinary language and expression. This collection will delight readers familiar with the prose writings of the author as well as those coming to his work for the first time. The poems within it speak, with freedom and feeling, of a world where genuine poetry reigns supreme- and of a world where poetic perception becomes a perception of interconnectedness; between friends. between humanity and nature, or between humanity and the cosmos.
Whether chanted as devotional prayers, intoned against the dangers of the wilds, or invoked to heal the sick and bring ease to the dead, incantations were pervasive features of Buddhist practice in late medieval China (600--1000 C.E.). Material incantations, in forms such as spell-inscribed amulets and stone pillars, were also central to the spiritual lives of both monks and laypeople. In centering its analysis on the Chinese material culture of these deeply embodied forms of Buddhist ritual, "The Body Incantatory "reveals histories of practice -- and l "ogics "of practice -- that have until now remained hidden.
Paul Copp examines inscribed stones, urns, and other objects unearthed from anonymous tombs; spells carved into pillars near mountain temples; and manuscripts and prints from both tombs and the Dunhuang cache. Focusing on two major Buddhist spells, or dharani, and their embodiment of the incantatory logics of adornment and unction, he makes breakthrough claims about the significance of Buddhist incantation practice not only in medieval China but also in Central Asia and India. His work vividly captures the diversity of Buddhist practice among medieval monks, ritual healers, and other individuals lost to history, offering a corrective to accounts that have overemphasized elite, canonical materials.
This text features step-by-step lessons in building the skills needed to engage in Tibetan Buddhist philosophical debate and that have proved successful in the college classroom.
Tantric Buddhims is known in the West primarily for the sexual practices of its adherents, who strive to transform erotic passion into spiritual ecstasy. Historians of religion have long held that the enlightenment thus attempted was for men only and that women were at best marginal and subordinated and at worst degraded and exploited. This book argues to the contrary, presenting evidence of the outspoken and independent female founders of the Tantric movement and their creative role in shaping its vision of gender relations and sacred sexuality.;This book won the American Historical Assocation's 1994 James Henry Breasted Prize and the 1994 "Tricycle" Prize for Buddhist Scholarship.
How to Eat is part of a charming series of books from Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, exploring the essential foundations of mindful meditation and practise. How to Eat explains what it means to eat as a meditative practice and that the results of mindful eating are both global and personal. Eating a meal can help develop compassion and understanding, reminding practitioners that there are things they can do to help nourish people who are hungry and lonely. It can however also encourages moderation and will aid readers to achieve an optimum health and body weight.
The prominent Buddhist religious leader and advocate for peace, Daisaku Ikeda, has placed dialogue at the centre of his efforts towards securing global justice and conflict resolution. However, far from constituting abstract plans for the future of the world, Ikeda's dialogues represent very concrete and focused activity. He concentrates on one significant individual (such as Joseph Rotblat, Linus Pauling and Mikhail Gorbachev) at a time, or sometimes small groups, in order to attempt the transformation of thinking and society through intense discussion. This book offers detailed exploration of this crucial aspect of Ikeda's philosophy of peace. Contributors examine topics such as: the background to Ikeda's dialogic thinking as found in the Lotus Sutra; Buddhism as a practical philosophy of dialogue; Ikeda's use of dialogue, specifically in the field of education; and dialogue in relation to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Ikeda's concept of dialogue emerges as a paradoxical movement towards common ground based on respectful difference. This study will appeal to students of peace, politics and modern Buddhism.
From jewellery to meditation pillows to tourist retreats, religious traditions - especially those of the East - are being commodified as never before. Imitated and rebranded as 'New Age' or 'spiritual', they are marketed to secular Westerners as an answer to suffering in the modern world, the 'mystical' and 'exotic' East promising a path to enlightenment and inner peace. In Buying Buddha, Selling Rumi, Sophia Rose Arjana examines the appropriation and sale of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam in the West today, the role of mysticism and Orientalism in the religious marketplace, and how the commodification of religion impacts people's lives.
Budda and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over the course of two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other's spiritual views and practices? Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of a decades-long dialogue between the two greatest living contemplative traditions, and brings to Christianity an appreciation of its beauty that could be conveyed only by an outsider. In a lucid, meditative prose, he explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and reawakens our understanding of both.
Revised and updated for 2012, More Sayings of the Buddha and other Masters is a great collection of inspiring quotes and sayings from spiritual masters of the world. Bring joy, be inspired or find your divinity while flicking through and absorbing the words of wisdom that these great masters have to offer. Quotes, sayings and insights are complemented by watercolour illustrations, and the easy to use format and pocket-size allows readers to dip in and out whenever they feel. A great book to give as a gift, or to have around the home or office, it is an easy way to learn more about great masters from the 14th Dalai Lama through to Sogyal Rinpoche as well as the wisdom they have imparted upon others.
Building on the success of his Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, Maitreyabandhu here offers a challenging but profoundly useful work on how to practise Buddhism in everyday life. Drawing on examples from the life of the Buddha, as well as weaving in astute references to poetry and art, Maitreyabandhu gives an easily understood outline of the system of spiritual life as undertaken by Buddhists in the Triratna Community. The journey starts with our own mind, particularly when we begin to look into the truth of things - the truth of the old man on the escalator, the friend in hospital, the coffin we help carry to the graveside. What we find in our guide, the Buddha, is a man with a 'fit' mind: a healthy, happy, non-neurotic, honest-to-goodness mind. To get fit, we need to work on becoming a happy healthy human being. We need to integrate our thinking faculty with our emotions. We need to wake up to thought and tune in to direct experience. And we need to work against the ever-rising tide of trivia, dissipation and overstimulation of the modern world.Maitreyabandhu takes us on this journey with practical week-by-week exercises, focusing on cultivating mindful awareness, being happy, integrating and simplifying our lives, knowing ourselves and truly being ourselves.
In 1975, when political scientist Benedict Anderson reached Wat Phai Rong Wua, a massive temple complex in rural Thailand conceived by Buddhist monk Luang Phor Khom, he felt he had wandered into a demented Disneyland. One of the world's most bizarre tourist attractions, Wat Phai Rong Wua was designed as a cautionary museum of sorts; its gruesome statues depict violent and torturous scenes that showcase what hell may be like. Over the next few decades, Anderson, who is best known for his work, Imagined Communities, found himself transfixed by this unusual amalgamation of objects, returning several times to see attractions like the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world and the Palace of a Hundred Spires. The concrete statuaries and perverse art in Luang Phor's personal museum of hell included, \u201cside by side, an upright human skeleton in a glass cabinet and a life-size replica of Michelangelo's gigantic nude David, wearing fashionable red underpants from the top of which poked part of a swollen, un-Florentine penis,\u201d alongside dozens of statues of evildoers being ferociously punished in their afterlife. In The Fate of Rural Hell, Anderson unravels the intrigue of this strange setting, endeavoring to discover what compels so many Thai visitors to travel to this popular spectacle and what order, if any, inspired its creation. At the same time, he notes in Wat Phai Rong Wua the unexpected effects of the gradual advance of capitalism into the far reaches of rural Asia. Both a one-of-a-kind travelogue and a penetrating look at the community that sustains it, The Fate of Rural Hell is sure to intrigue and inspire conversation as much as Wat Phai Rong Wua itself.
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