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Buddhadharma : Summer 2013
SUMMER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 75 though Winfield is careful to point out that the Vajrayana of Shingon and the Vajrayana of Tibet are not parallel tra- ditions, still, Kukai’s vision of the func- tioning of mandalas, and the power of the visual, offers readers a valuable lens through which to consider Tibetan Buddhist artwork. Further scholarship on Kukai could only enrich our under- standing of Buddhism as a whole. Winfield’s second major contribu- tion—and, likely, the true underlying argument of the book—is the strong case for the inseparability of religious studies from the study of religious art. Winfield makes clear her intention to restore “the historical symbiosis between religious thought and artistic expression, before the academic disciplines of religious studies vs. art history were invented in the nineteenth century.” Scholarship that acknowledges an “endless feed- back loop of religious thought, prac- tice, experience, and expression” must, of necessity, place each of those four components on equal footing, making new—and exciting—demands of the field of religious studies. In this sense, Icons and Iconoclasm feels like the start of a much broader dis- cussion, not just of art in a conventional sense but also of how we might cre- ate, interpret, and inhabit ritual space. It serves as a reminder that dharma is expounded not just in sutras—or in Zen, not just with a shout. Winfield encour- ages us to take a second look at the Bud- dhist art we know and ask ourselves about its purpose. What, exactly, are we being invited to see? For myself, I am left with a wish that Kukai and Dogen could somehow have met. Surely, despite their very real dif- ferences, they would have acknowledged something in one another and recognized what the other was trying to express. For that reason alone, there is a certain joy in embracing Dogen’s vision of transmis- sion across multidimensional time—per- haps that meeting is already happening. Perhaps it always has been. REVIEWS