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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
fall 2 0 1 5 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 77 ◗ Looking for help with visualization practice? vajrasattva meditation: an illustrated guide (Wisdom 2015) by Khenpo Yeshe Phuntsok is an outstanding resource for tantric Buddhist practitioners, teaching each step of Vajrasattva purification meditation in clear prose and with full-color illustrations that set a new standard for what contemporary visualization manuals should look like. ◗ Pascale Engelmajer’s Women in pali buddhism (Routledge 2015) examines how women are portrayed in the Pali Canon, focus- ing on discourses and the paths outlined for female practitioners. While Engelmajer finds a diversity of attitudes toward women in these texts, women are usually framed negatively, often as threats to monastic fidelity. Above all, women in the Pali Canon are wives, and accounts of their spiritual paths begin with their wifely obligations. They are also moth- ers, and nurturing male children who can become monks is framed as a spiritual path in itself. Finally, they can be nuns, and in this capacity are essential members of the sangha, though this is only recommended for women who have already raised children and does not imply equality with monks. It should be stressed, however, that Engelmajer is not out to undermine these works through a twenty-first- century lens. To her, they reflect the societies in which they were produced and should be valued for their insight into the opportunities available to women within such contexts. ◗ After thirty years of working as a prolific scholar and the senior English translator for the Dalai Lama, Thupten Jinpa has published an innovative work on the transformative power of compassion. In a fearless heart (Hudson Street Press 2015), Jinpa draws on his efforts to create a standardized program for secular com- passion training at Stanford University, outlin- ing methods that integrate Buddhist insights with modern scientific research. Filled with sto- ries from his own life, this book avoids clichés and offers numerous techniques for cultivating compassion in daily life. ◗ zen chants (Shambhala 2015) by Kazuaki Tanahashi is a guidebook for those looking to expand and refine their recitation prac- tices. Offering new translations of thirty-five traditional chants together with commentary, Tanahashi aims to support Zen tradition while improving on outdated and inaccurate translations. He argues that meditation, while essential, is also challenging, and sees chant- ing as an energizing activity that rejuvenates one’s practice. He also believes that chanting fosters community, even if done on one’s own: “Zen chants are constant reminders that we practice together; we are one mind, one heart, one life. Even if we live or meditate alone, we are united with other awakened ones—not only with those in our immediate vicinity, but with all awakened beings from the past, present, and future, everywhere in the world.” ◗ the complete nyingma tradition from sutra to tantra, books 1 to 10 (Snow Lion 2015) features the first ten books of the east- ern Tibetan master Choying Tobden Dorje’s nineteenth-century masterwork. Nearly lost during the Cultural Revolution, this enormous and encyclopedic work—a core text on the Buddhist path for Nyingmapas—was rescued by Tibetan scholars and is now becoming avail- able in English for the first time thanks to the prolific translator Ngawang Zangpo (Hugh Thompson) of the Tsadra Foundation. From Vajrasattva Meditation: An Illustrated Guide Māhāpajāpati and bhikkhunīs (detail), Wat Thepthidaram, Bangkok, Thailand bhikkhuananDajoticreativecommons