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Buddhadharma : Fall 2007
buddhadharma| 75 |fall 2007 2007) presents an authoritative and illuminating study of this fascinating text. In Adamek’s hands, the Lidai fabao ji becomes a window through which we may explore the shifting conceptions of authority, enlightenment, and lineage that shaped eighth-century Chan communities. The first three hundred pages of the monograph explore in depth the Bao Tang School of Sichuan and examine this Chan tradition’s connections with material cul- ture, lay practice, Daoists, and Tibetan Buddhists. An annotated one-hundred-page translation of the entire Lidai fabao ji is provided in the second part of the book. The Kwan Um School of Zen was founded by the Korean Zen master Seung Sahn (1927–2004). Twenty years after its original publication, his little classic, Ten Gates: The Kong-an Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn (Shamb- hala Publications, 2007) now appears in a revised edition. The “ten gates” are ten koans that Seung Sahn selected as representative of the ten differ- ent types of koans in the tradi- tional collections of 1,750 koans. Each chapter of the book presents a koan, Seung Sahn’s brief com- mentary, and correspondence between him and his students who are practicing that particular koan. The book offers readers practical insights into how the often mystified practice actually works, as well as a taste for Seung Sahn’s teaching style, which ranges from giving personal advice to his closing lines repeated in nearly every letter to his students: “I hope that you always go straight, don’t know, keep a mind that is clear like space, soon finish the great work of life and death, get enlightenment, and save all people from suffering.” Although some Pali classics such as the Dhamma- pada have been translated into English dozens of times, translations of the masterpieces of Sanskrit Buddhist poetry remain rather hard to find. Linda Covill’s excellent new translation of Ashvaghosha’s Handsome Nanda (Clay Sanskrit Library, 2007) makes one such classic widely available. Ashvaghosha (second century) is renowned as one of the greatest Buddhist poets of ancient India and is best known for his Acts of the Buddha (Buddhacharita). Handsome Nanda is in many ways a more challenging poem. It is a tale of the forceful conversion of the Bud- dha’s half-brother, Nanda, from lustful sensualist into a celibate monk, and it lavishes such poetic detail upon the depictions of Nanda’s beloved wife and other objects of desire that renunciation takes on a visceral and painful meaning. In the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the lives of the lineage lamas play a cen- tral role. In The Biographies of Rechungpa: The Evolution of a Tibetan Hagiography (Routledge, 2007), Peter Alan Roberts provides both an intro- duction to the life story of Mila- repa’s great disciple Rechungpa (1084–1161) and an insightful case study of the development of a Tibetan hagiography. Through exhaustive research into rare manuscripts of early biographies and his- tories, Roberts uncovered the various strands of stories about Rechungpa that circulated from the time of Milarepa to their eventual codification in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. His ability to turn complex textual issues into a good story makes even the philological puzzling a pleasure to read. Along the way, we see how representations of Rechungpa shifted over time, largely in response to the towering success of lineages traced from Mila- repa’s other most famous disciple, Gampopa. Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan (Japan Society, distributed by Yale Univer- sity Press, 2007) documents a recent exhibition celebrating the Japan Society’s centenary. The curators, Gregory Levine and Yukio Lippit, crafted a show at once ambitious and restrained. There are paintings from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries, from China as well as Japan (and by Chinese paint- ers in Japan). Familiar subjects such as the wild-eyed Chan patriarch Bodhi- dharma are seen in a new light here when pre- sented between the austere Shakyamuni and the comic Budai. There is also the stunning “Manju- shri in a Robe of Braided Grass,” depicting the bodhisattva of wisdom in the form of a boy with long hair and eyes as piercing as they are serene. It is no insult to the excellent essays included in Awakenings to say that the paintings themselves will be the book’s most enduring feature. Another recent catalog, Kannon: Divine Com- passion – Early Buddhist Art from Japan (Paul Holberton Publishing, 2007) features Japanese paintings and sculptures of the bodhisattva of compassion from a recent exhibition at Zurich’s Museum Rietberg. Edited by Katharina Epprecht, the catalog supplements thirty-seven full-color plates with seven scholarly essays. Among these, Sherry Fowler’s illustrated discussion of the ico- nography of different forms of Kannon, and Washizuka Hiromitsu’s account of Japanese wood- carving methods, stand out as particularly nota- ble complements to the catalog’s beautiful works of art. new And noTeworThy: The Sutras of Abu Ghraib: Notes from a Conscientious Objector in Iraq, by Aidan Delgado (Beacon Press) The Essential Shinran: A Buddhist Path of True Entrusting, edited by Alfred Bloom (World Wisdom) Bardo, Interval of Possibility: Khenpo Kathar Rinpoche’s Teaching on Aspiration for Liberation in the Bardo, by Choki Wangchuk (KTD Publications) A Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Terms, by Hisao Inagaki (Fifth edition, Stone Bridge Press) Does it Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality, by Alan Watts (New edition, New World Library) Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness, by B. Alan Wallace (Columbia University Press) Chöd Practice Manual and Commenatry, by the Fourteenth Karmapa, Thekchok Dorje, and Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye (Snow Lion) The Treasury of Knowledge Book Six, Part Three: Frameworks of Buddhist Philosophy, by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye (Snow Lion) Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Temples, by Stephen F. Teiser (University of Washington Press) Dismantling Discontent: Buddha’s Way Through Darwin’s World, by Charles Fisher (Elite Books) Donors of Longmen: Faith, Politics, and Patronage in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, by Amy McNair (University of Hawaii Press) How to Behave: Buddhism and Modernity in Colonial Cambodia, 1860-1930, by Anne Ruth Hansen (University of Hawaii Press) times, translations of the masterpieces of Sanskrit Buddhist poetry remain rather hard to find. Linda Covill’s excellent new translation of Ashvaghosha’s Nanda 2007) makes one such classic widely available. Ashvaghosha as one of the greatest Buddhist poets of ancient India and is best known for his Twenty years after its original publication, his little classic, Kong-an Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn hala Publications, 2007) now appears in a revised edition. The “ten gates” are ten koans that Seung Sahn selected as representative of the ten differ- ent types of koans in the tradi- tional collections of 1,750 koans. Each chapter of Tibetan Buddhism, the lives of the lineage lamas play a cen- tral role. In of Rechungpa: The Evolution of a Tibetan Hagiography Roberts provides both an intro- duction to the life story of Mila- celebrating the Japan Society’s centenary. The curators, Gregory Levine and Yukio Lippit, crafted a show at once ambitious and restrained. There are paintings from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries, from China as well as Japan (and by Chinese paint- ers in Japan). Familiar subjects such as the wild-eyed Chan patriarch Bodhi-