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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
81 summer 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly Death and the Afterlife in Japanese Buddhism (Hawaii, 2009) reveals there are ample reasons why Japanese Buddhism has been characterized as “funerary Buddhism.” Edited by Jacqueline Stone and Mariko Namba Walter, the book doesn’t dispute this char- acterization so much as offer historical insight into the very real and important relation- ship Buddhism has with death in Japan. The book’s essays address the theme of death and the afterlife from a wide variety of angles, including the aspiration to be born in the pure land of Amitabha, deathbed rites, posthumous ordination, and funeral services. Contributors include some of the best-known American scholars of Japanese Buddhism, such as Stone, George Tanabe, and Duncan Williams. Rupert Gethin’s Sayings of the Buddha (Oxford, 2008) is a book of translated excerpts from the Pali canon, published as part of the Oxford World’s Classics series, which puts out inexpensive English editions of the world’s great literature. Gethin is the current president of the Pali Text Society, and the author of a widely used textbook, The Foundations of Buddhism. In his introduction, Gethin provides an overview of the Pali canon and its place in the history and literature of Buddhism, and he also prefaces each reading with a brief summary of the doctrine it contains. The selections are translated with an eye toward readability, dispensing with the turgid English found in early translations of the canon. This short volume is sure to join Gethin’s other work as a resource for teachers and students, and anyone interested in early Buddhist literature. Kevin Vose explains in his Resurrecting Candrakirti (Wis- dom, 2009) that this great seventh-century Indian phi- losopher, whom most Tibetans now revere as the finest exposi- tor of Buddhist truth, was all but ignored in his own time. Vose tells how Indian thinkers rediscovered Candrakirti in the twelfth century and translators later brought his writings to Tibet during the second propagation of Buddhism there. It was only then that Tibetans elevated Candra- kirti’s interpretation of Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka to the highest status. Vose explains how Candra- kirti’s new Tibetan champions used his writings in their own philosophical innovations, making him a central figure in the developments of the so-called Tibetan Renaissance. Korean Buddhism has long been portrayed as “state-protection Buddhism,” but the extent to which Buddhism was organized to serve the inter- ests of the government and its people, and the mechanisms by which this operated, have largely gone unexplored. Sem Ver- meersch’s exhaustive study, The Power of the Buddhas (Harvard, 2008), is a politi- cal history of Buddhism and the Koryo Dynasty of Korea (918–1392). Running nearly 400 pages, with another 100 of supplementary material, index, and bibliogra- phy, the book more than fills this lacuna in the scholarship. Although not for the general reader, it is a gift for those with a serious desire to under- stand the ideology and institutions of medieval Korean Buddhism. The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems (Wisdom, 2009), by Thuken Losang Chokyi Nyima, is volume 25 in Wisdom Publications’ Library of Tibetan Classics. Judging by this and the other volumes published so far, it is an important series for serious students of Tibetan Buddhism. The Crystal Mir- ror is one of the most famous examples of the drupthob genre, describing the many schools of Buddhism in sequence from early Indian Buddhism to the author’s own Gelug school. The author was a prominent Gelug monk of Mongolian heritage, who was at home in ruling circles of both Beijing and Lhasa, and the book, written in 1802, is particularly interesting for its inclusion of Chinese Buddhism, Confucian- ism, and Daoism, which Thukden equates with Bön. Despite its decidedly Gelug sectarian bias, The Crystal Mirror is widely read in Tibet for its wealth of information on all schools of Bud- dhism, and the translators of this volume have done a terrific job in annotating it with more than 1600 footnotes. inexpensive English editions of the world’s great literature. of the Pali Text Society, and the author of a widely used textbook, Buddhism as “funerary Buddhism.” Edited by Jacqueline Stone and Mariko Namba Walter, the book doesn’t dispute this char- acterization so much as offer historical insight into the very real and important relation- ship Buddhism has with death in Japan. The book’s essays Resurrecting Candrakirti dom, 2009) that this great seventh-century Indian phi- losopher, whom most Tibetans now revere as the finest exposi- tor of Buddhist truth, was all but ignored in his own time. Vose tells how Indian thinkers gone unexplored. Sem Ver- meersch’s exhaustive study, The Power of the Buddhas cal history of Buddhism and the Koryo Dynasty of Korea 400 pages, with another 100 Buddhism. ror examples of the genre, describing the many schools of Buddhism in sequence from early Indian Buddhism to the author’s own Gelug school. The author was a prominent Gelug monk of also neW and noTeWorThy: The Method of No-Method: The Chan Practice of Silent Illumination, by Chan Master Sheng Yen (Shambhala) Mind in the Balance, by B. Alan Wallace (Columbia) Keep Me In Your Heart A While: The Haunting Zen of Dainin Katagiri, by Dosho Port (Wisdom) The Mishap Lineage, by Chögyam Trungpa, edited by Carolyn Gimian (Shambhala) Luminous Heart: The Third Karmapa on Consciousness, Wisdom, and Buddha Nature, translated and introduced by Karl Brunnholzl (Snow Lion) Emptiness, The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Vol. 5, by Geshe Tashi Tsering (Wisdom) Joyful Wisdom, by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (Harmony Books) Mindful Eating, by Jan Chozen Bays (Shambhala) The Dark Red Amulet: Oral Instructions on the Practice of Vajrakilaya, by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche (Snow Lion) The Practice of Mahamudra (reprint), by Chetsang Rinpoche and translated by Robert Clark (Snow Lion)