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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
buddhadharma| 67 |winter 2007 Death and dying, despite being a cen- tral motif in Buddhism, have been a curiously under-researched area of Buddhist studies until recently. This vol- ume, with its truly impressive lineup of contributors, is therefore highly appreci- ated. Though it is primarily a collection of academic studies, it is not without interest for the practitioner insofar as it looks at how Buddhists of different times and places have dealt with death and funerals. The editors explain that they “delib- erately avoided grouping [the essays] by geographical region or by strict chronolog- ical order.” The result is a loose, thematic arrangement beginning with the Buddha’s cremation (John s. strong), ancient indian mortuary rights (Gregory schopen), and two essays on deathbed practices: one examining the practices in China during the sixth and seventh centuries (Koichi shinohara) and the other looking at those of medieval Japan (Jacqueline i. stone). Next are two representations of ideal deaths: in modern China (Raoul Birn- baum) and fifteenth-century Tibet (Kurtis R. schaeffer). These are followed by essays on religious suicide—in sixth- and seventh- century Chinese Buddhism (James a. Benn) and premodern Japanese Buddhism (d. Max Moerman)—and three essays on the relationship and interaction between the living and the dead: in seventeenth-century Tibet (Bryan J. Cuevas), contemporary sri Lanka (John Clifford holt), and in the leg- end of Maudgalyayana in its Chinese and Tibetan reception (Matthew T. Kapstein). The final three essays are concerned with “social and physical locations of the Bud- dhist dead,” beginning with ancient and medieval Japan (hank Glassman) and moving on to contemporary Japan (Mark Rowe) and contemporary Burma (Jason a. Carbine). although i read them all with inter- est, it would go beyond the scope of my Dearly DeparTeD the buddhiSt deAd: practices, discourses, representations edited by bryan J. cuevas and Jacqueline Stone university of hawaii press, 2007 491 pages; $65 (hardcover) reviewed by rita langer expertise (and this review) to comment on all fourteen papers in any meaning- ful way. i shall, however, share some thoughts on two of them. John strong (“The Buddha’s Funeral”) starts off the volume by taking a fresh look at the most famous Buddhist funeral, the cremation of the Buddha, as related in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra (one of the long discourses of the Buddha). he compares different accounts of what happened and draws on various legends as well as sec- courTeSTyofyaTadera,naraprefecTure The bodhisattva Jizo rescuing a sinner in the hells.