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Buddhadharma : Summer 2008
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 0 8 78 of joy, detachment, tranquility, and equanim- ity beyond pleasure and pain, and she provides simple instruction and commentary based on her own meditative experience as well as that of her teachers. Although shamatha is not considered by Buddhist teachers to be sufficient for attaining enlightenment (it must be practiced in tandem with vipassana, by which one ultimately accom- plishes the goal), the practice has considerable value and benefits, both mental and physical. In addition to being a useful guide to a fundamental Buddhist meditation, Focused and Fearless helps redress the historical perception that shamatha is the poor cousin to vipassana practice. Between 2001 and 2004 Snow Lion released a masterful three-volume translation of Tsong- khapa’s Lamrim Chenmo, the Great Treastise on the Stages of the Path. That dense and dif- ficult text is one of the masterpieces of Tibetan literature, covering topics ranging from taking refuge to meditation on emptiness. Now Guy Newland, the editor of that translation project, offers readers a valuable tool for understanding these teachings in his Introduction to Emp- tiness (Snow Lion, 2008). Newland presents his own fresh and straightforward commentary to the challenging wisdom section found in Volume Three of the translation, and breaks down the complexity of Tsongkhapa’s presentation into short two- to three-page sec- tions spread over ten chapters. Although one would ideally read Newland’s book alongside the root text, one need not do so; the book is complete and comprehensive in itself. The Buddha directed his teachings at two groups: the ordained and the laity. While later Buddhisms may have blurred the distinctions and the goals of the two groups, there is still much to be learned from the early Buddhist teachings on the ethical life of the householder. Bhikkhu Rahula Basnagoda, a Texas-based Theravadan monk and teacher, has drawn from the extensive teachings for the laity in the Pali canon and skill- fully organized it in The Bud- dha’s Teachings on Prosperity (Wisdom Publications, 2008). It includes chapters on a vari- ety of practical topics, such as being a good parent and life partner, earning wealth, and making good decisions. The author’s clear and easy to follow translations and commentary reveal that contrary to received wisdom, the Buddha actually had a lot to say about improving daily life in samsara. Mainstream Chan history has long claimed that its teachings were formally institutional- ized during the Tang Dynasty, a golden age of Chinese Buddhism. Over the last several decades however, scholars have called this history into question. In The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy (Oxford, 2008), Albert Welter draws on much of this scholarship to trace the development of the literary genre known as the “records of sayings.” Welter focuses on the famous Linji lu, the recorded sayings of the ninth-century Chan master Linji, and shows how these sayings, far from being the stable and accurate expression of a founding patriarch’s message, were manipulated over the centuries by those in need of heroic and glorious origins to legitimate their own teachings and institutions. Welter’s study is an appreciation of the remark- able skill with which Chan masters forged the history necessary to promote their teachings. Anthropologist Charlene Makley presents a remarkable study of the impact of the Chinese economy in Tibet in her new book, The Vio- lence of Liberation: Gender and Tibetan Bud- dhist Revivial in Post-Mao China (University of California Press, 2007). Her study focuses on the town of Labrang, consid- ered a cultural center of Tibet, and reveals that Labrang’s “Tibetan” identity is fairly recent, due in large part to the influence of Chinese occupa- tion. In particular, the boom- ing Chinese tourist market in Tibet has brought with it the increasing com- modification of Tibetan culture. Using gender as her principle analytical lens, Makley argues that the Chinese economy has also brought in new gender practices that alternately support and undermine traditional social structures. The book is not written for the general audience, and readers not well versed in anthropologese might find some paragraphs excessively dense, but such passages are rare and always worth the effort. Makley is a terrifically talented writer and thinker, and the book is a significant con- tribution. teachings for the laity in the Pali canon and skill- fully organized it in dha’s Teachings on Prosperity It includes chapters on a vari- ety of practical topics, such as being a good parent and life partner, earning wealth, and making good decisions. The refuge to meditation on emptiness. Now Guy Newland, the editor of that translation project, offers readers a valuable tool for understanding these teachings in his tiness Newland presents his own fresh and straightforward however, scholars have called this history into question. In The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy 2008), Albert Welter draws on much of this scholarship to trace the development of the literary genre known as the “records of sayings.” Welter focuses on the California Press, 2007). Her study focuses on the town of Labrang, consid- ered a cultural center of Tibet, and reveals that Labrang’s recent, due in large part to the influence of Chinese occupa- tion. In particular, the boom- ing Chinese tourist market in Tibet has brought with it the increasing com- also neW anD noTeWorThy: Motionless Journey: From a Hermitage in the Himalayas, by Matthieu Ricard (Thames & Hudson) Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom of Chögyam Trungpa, edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian (Shambhala) The Saint of Kathmandu, by Sarah LeVine (Beacon Press) Universal Love: The Yoga Method of Buddha Maitreya, by Lama Yeshe (LYWA) Aryadeva’s Lamp that Integrates the Practices: The Gradual Path of Vajrayana Buddhism According to the Esoteric Communion Noble Tradition, translated and edited by Christian K. Wedemeyer (Columbia University Press) Bringing the Sacred to Life: The Daily Practice of Zen Ritual, by John Daido Loori (Shambhala) Establishing Appearances as Divine: Rongzom Chokyi on Madhyamaka and Purity, by Heidi I. Köppl (Snow Lion) Karma Chakme’s Mountain Dharma, Volume Three, by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche (KTD Publications) Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict, by Tsultrim Allione (Little, Brown and Co.) Chögyam Trungpa, Warrior King of Shambhala, by Jeremy Hayward (Wisdom Publications) Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide, by Barry Magid (Wisdom Publications)