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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
summer 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 83 ◗ Sarah Shaw of Oxford University compiles ancient Indian Buddhist writings on meditation in the spirit of buddhist meditation (Yale 2014). Drawing on Pali and Sanskrit discourses, com- mentaries, and poetry in translation, Shaw shows how early discussions of meditation remain pertinent for practitio- ners today, adding her own analysis between excerpts. Some selections are particularly poi- gnant, as with this passage from the Buddha’s “Fire Sermon”: Everything, monks, is on fire. And what, monks, is the “everything” that is on fire? The eye is on fire, visual forms are on fire, eye consciousness is on fire, eye contact is on fire, and whatever feeling arises with eye contact as its cause, whether pleasant or painful, or nei- ther pleasant nor painful: that too is on fire. On fire with what? It is on fire with the fire of passion, on fire with the fire of hatred, on fire with the fire of delusion. It is on fire with birth, ageing and death; with sorrow, lamenta- tion, suffering, painful feeling, with despair: this I say. ◗ twenty-first century buddhists in conversation (Wisdom 2015) collects twenty- seven of the most engaging panel discussions that have appeared in Buddhadharma over the past decade. Participants such as Jack Korn- field, Sharon Salzberg, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ringu Tulku, and David Loy take on critical issues facing contemporary Buddhists, including the place of political engagement in Buddhist prac- tice, the difficulty of translating Buddhist texts, and the function of the student-teacher rela- tionship. This is a fascinating record of the important ongoing discussions taking place among Buddhist scholars and practitioners. Tsongkapa (detail) Tibet, 18th century Gelug and other Buddhist lineages Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin HAR#18 himalayanart.org ◗ Harvard PhD graduate and Geluk tulku Elijah Ary has produced a great addition to Wisdom Publications’ Stud- ies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series. authorized lives: biography and the Forma- tion of early geluk identity (Wisdom 2015) examines the role of biographical writing in the competi- tion for authority among early leaders of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism and charts how their framing of the sect’s founder Tsong- khapa (1357–1419) evolved over time. This is a resource not only for understanding the Geluk’s emergence but also for rethinking how we read Tibetan biography. ◗ One of the first volumes in Harvard Uni- versity Press’s new Murty Classical Library of India series, therigatha (Harvard 2015), fea- tures the beautiful poetry of early female Bud- dhists. Introduced and translated from the Pali by Charles Hallisey, this book offers gem after poetic gem, as exemplified by the following: While washing my feet I made the water useful in another way, by concentrating on it move from the higher ground down. Then I held back my mind, as one would do with a thoroughbred horse, and I took a lamp and went into the hut. First I looked at the bed, then I sat on the couch, I used a needle to pull out the lamp’s wick. Just as the lamp went out, my mind was free. ◗ Looking to merge lost love, grief, insults, or lawsuits into your practice? Get advice on this and much more from the Third Khamtrul Rinpoche’s (1680–1728) the royal seal of mahamudra (Snow Lion 2015), introduced and translated by Gerardo Abboud.