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Buddhadharma : Summer 2013
SUMMER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 77 of the examples that emerge from this critical lens include how Western authors have reduced tantric sex to “fun” or claimed that originators of the tantras were “tribal” and that tantra itself is “degenerate”—all layers of interpretation that are not accurate yet are so often understood by readers to be true. One of the most enduring genres of Buddhist writing is the travelogue of pilgrims. In Song of the Road (Wis- dom 2013), the travel journal of the great Tibetan mas- ter Tsarchen Losal Gyatso (1502–1566) is eloquently translated by Cyrus Stearns. The book weaves together verses by Tsarchen exclaiming his on-the-spot realizations along with his autobiographical narrative of traveling in central Tibet. The entire landscape through which Tsarchen and his entourage jour- ney becomes an utterly magical ground for spiri- tual transformation as they climb over mountain passes and into deep valleys and camp beside enchanted spirit lakes. The characters they meet along their way, including local rulers and wild deities, also shape Tsarchen’s poetic imagination. Shozan Jack Haubner, a Zen monk for nine years, offers a series of personal vignettes about the “nitty-gritty realities of spiritual work” in his book, Zen Confidential (Shambhala 2013). Leon- ard Cohen, who trained with the same teacher as Haubner, writes in his forward, “This is the best account I have ever read of the education of a Zen monk in America.” While not everyone may agree with his assessment, the book does provide a quirky, funny, and at times crude look at monastic life. A former Hollywood screenwriter, Haubner employs a self-conscious style, using his persona as a Zen monk to frame and recount startling episodes of living in a Zen mountain monastery, from exces- sive boozing to shitting his pants in the zendo, and a scene that could have been crafted by Hunter S. Thompson. The Record of Linji (Oxford 2013) is a new translation by Jeffrey L. Broughton and Elise Yoko Watanabe of the ancient Chinese Chan text, the Linjilu. Attributed to Zen master Linji (d. 866/867), the work is a compilation of sayings and episodes from meetings between teacher and disciple. Many of the episodes are framed with a question such as “What sort of thing is the Land of the Three Eyes?” or by a pro- vocative statement such as “a Buddha is a latrine hole.” The book serves both as a histori- cal record of Chan Buddhism and as a series of lessons and teaching tools. Particularly interested in how the Linjilu was influential in the monasteries of Japan when the Five Moun- tain System flourished in the late 1300s through to the early 1700s in Kyoto, the translators draw on ten Japanese Zen commentaries that illumi- nate Linji’s original work. The formation of philosophical thinking in Tibet is the subject of José Cabezon’s The Bud- dha’s Doctrine and the Nine Vehicles (Oxford 2013). Dur- ing the early period of Bud- dhism’s reception in Tibet, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, several influential thinkers were creatively orga- nizing the Buddha’s teachings, tantra in particular. Among them was Rog Banden Sherab (1166–1244), also known as Rogben, a Nyingma master who arranged the nine vehicles of the Buddha’s teach- ings translated here. This work is an important contribution to understanding the philosophical schools and history of how the dharma devel- oped in Tibet. Of particular interest to many readers will be Rogben’s discussion and defense of Dzogchen. A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages (Wisdom 2013), translated by Gavin Kilty, is Tsongkhapa’s (1357–1419) presentation of the five stages of the Guyhasamaja Tantra. One of the great works on tantra written in Tibet, and one of thirty-two volumes selected for inclusion in the Library of Tibetan Classics series, it presents a Vajrayana vision of the human body, voice, and mind. This is a guide for those involved in the advanced practices of the Guyhasamaja. The text explains how subtle transformative shifts occur in the body and mind as a practitioner moves deeper into each of the tant- ric yogas. Notoriously enig- matic, the text is descriptive yet conceals interpretive lay- ers of meaning for the reader to unpack. ALSO NEW AND NOTEWORTHY The Heart is Noble by The Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje (Shambhala) Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path by Takamaro Shigaraki (Wisdom) The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Awakening Upon Dying translated by Elio Guarisco and Nancy Simmons (Shambhala) Entangling Vines translated by Thomas Yuho Kirchner (Wisdom) Shinran’s Kyogyoshinsho translated by D.T. Suzuki (Memorial Edition, Oxford) Little Buddhas edited by Vanessa R. Sasson (Oxford) Nagarjuna’s Middle Way by Mark Siderits and Shoryu Katsura (Wisdom) Walking the Way by Robert Rosenbaum (Wisdom) Mining for Wisdom within Delusion by Karl Brunnholzl (Snow Lion) The Tibetan History Reader edited by Gray Tuttle and Kurtis R. Schaeffer (Columbia) Handbook of Tibetan Iconometry edited by Christoph Cüppers, Leonard Van Der Kuijp, and Ulrich Pagel (Brill)