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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
fall 2 0 1 5 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 75 by rory lindsay book briefs ◗ John Jorgensen’s a handbook of korean zen practice: a mirror on the son school of buddhism (son’ga kwigam) (Hawai’i 2015) offers in translation one of the most pop- ular works ever produced within the Korean Son school of Buddhism. Compiled by the Son master Sosan Hyujong (1520–1604), this work was designed to be a concise guide for students of Son, especially those neglecting meditation practice for the sake of intellectual pursuits. As Jorgensen notes in his introduction, conciseness was important, since the texts available to Son Buddhists in Korea at this time were usually long, diverse, and confusing. Hyujong sought to consolidate what he believed to be the most important passages from these sources, offering commentary on their meaning and their rel- evance to practice. The Dalai lama and the emperor of china by Peter Schwieger (Colum- bia 2015) offers new insight into the history of reincarnated leadership in Tibet, focusing on the Dalai Lamas and their relationship with Mongol, Man- chu, and modern Chinese rulers. Schwieger explains how the line of Dalai Lamas emerged, beginning with Gendun Drupa (1391–1474), a disciple of the Gelukpa school’s founder, Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), and flourishing by the time of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama (1617–82), whose support from Mongol powers elevated him to the height of Tibetan authority. The union of religious and politi- cal leadership in the figure of the Dalai Lama gained acceptance among Tibetans and Mon- gols, but with the death of the Great Fifth and conflict among Mongol groups, the leaders of China’s Qing Dynasty became increas- ingly involved in Tibetan affairs. Schwieger argues that the Qianlong Emperor (1711–99) in particular adopted the tactic of combining religious and political power, placing himself at the top of the Buddhist hierarchy and ensur- ing Qing involvement in Tibetan reincarnation recognition. The Qing emperors therefore came to exercise power over Tibet from the early eighteenth to late nineteenth centuries, but as Schwieger observes, after the disintegration of the dynasty, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama (1876– 1933) and the current Dalai Lama emerged as figures too influential in Tibetan politics to be controlled by new Chinese governments. Official Court Portrait of Emperor Qianlong, Qing dynasty (1644–1912); dated 1736, the year of Qianlong’s ascension to the throne at age twenty-five. From the collection of the Forbidden City Palace Museum in Beijing, China.