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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
◗ Rita Gross confronts the challenges of religious diversity in her new book reli- gious diversity: What’s the Problem? (Cas- cade Books 2014). She describes her early discomfort with religious exclusivism, prompted by her experiences growing up in a xenophobic Christian community. Once told by a pastor that she had “sold [her] soul for a mess of ‘academic’ pottage,” she responded by earning a PhD in the history of religions and becoming a professor of religious studies as well as a teacher in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Using “Buddhist methods of working with words and ideas,” Gross argues for a deeper appreciation of religious diversity, which she believes can “take us well beyond any desire to smooth out the differences between religions.” Numerous works by the five founding masters of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism are now available in English thanks to the trans- lation efforts of Chris Wilkinson. His sakya Kongma series (CreateSpace 2014) features a variety of genres, with the poetry of Jetsun Dragpa gyaltsan (1147–1216) standing out for its honesty and poignancy. From his “Asking About My Health”: I speak with a voice full of rasping and squeaking. My mind shines clear inside a great deal of pain. My loves and hatreds are stealing my body and mind. I don’t have time to deal with my thoughts. Being born in samsara is a problem. Four Sakya Hierarchs Tibet, 16th century, Rubin Museum of Art, Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin C2010.20 (HAR 203) ◗ Kazuaki Tanahashi’s the heart sutra: a comprehensive guide to the classic of mahayana buddhism (Shambhala 2015) is true to its subtitle, covering a wide variety of topics related to this towering but tiny work. Included are discussions of Jan Natti- er’s theory that the Heart Sutra is a Chinese composition, descriptions of rituals involv- ing the text in the West, and comparisons of its incarnations in multiple languages. ◗ The late Thinley Norbu Rinpoche’s the sole Panacea (Shambhala 2014) comments on the Seven-Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche, an important Tibetan Buddhist prayer. Thinley Norbu leads us in surprising and uncon- ventional directions, offering, for example, arguments against the adequacy of modern scientific technologies for understanding the nature of mind and discussing Jew- ish, Islamic, and Christian doctrine in the context of Buddhist thought. His instructions on practicing the outer and inner meanings of the prayer are especially challenging, inviting prolonged exploration. ◗ Interested in learning more about what Pali suttas say about mindfulness? Check out Bhante Gunaratana’s meditation on Perception (Wisdom 2014), which centers on the Girimananda Sutta, a short work about a sick monk in need of meditation instruction. winter 2 0 1 4 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly 79 (clockwise from top left): Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, Sonam Tsemo, Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsan, and Sakya Pandita