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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight is Paul Swanson’s English translation of the Mohe zhiguan (Jpn., Maka shikan; liter- ally, “great calming and insight”), a massive compendium on Buddhist practice by the Tiantai master Zhiyi (538–597), compiled by his disciple Guanding. No single work, one might argue, has more profoundly shaped the development of East Asian Buddhism. The Mohe zhiguan is not only foundational to the Tiantai (Kor., Cheontae; Jpn., Tendai) and Nichiren schools but has also influenced Chan (Zen), Huayan, Pure Land, and esoteric traditions. Its vastness and complexity, however, have long hindered appreciation of its content. Swanson’s meticulous, readable, and superbly annotated translation, the product of some thirty years’ labor, makes the whole of this magisterial work available for the first time in a Western language. Zhiyi was a master of synthesis, celebrated for his holistic grasp of Buddhist teachings. Because Buddhist texts were intro- duced to China at random from India and Central Asia, as their translation and study advanced, inconsistencies, even contradic- tions, among them came to light. Today, we recognize these Zhiyi’s Deep Imprint on East Asian Buddhism Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight by Paul L. Swanson University of Hawai‘i Press 2,256 pages (3 volumes); $90 REVIEW JACQUELINE STONE opposite | Zhiyi Late Heian period Takisanji Temple Aichi Prefecture, Japan BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 103