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Buddhadharma : Fall 2012
FALL 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 83 breakthroughs in the natural and social sciences, and that this proposed health regime is drawn from a timeless sci- ence, not dependent on the cultural trappings of Indian or Tibetan Buddhism. The pro- gram includes detailed analy- sis of tantric exercises, including the self-creation of the Kalachakra deity, or what is referred to as the Archetype of Sustainable Happiness. At times throughout the book, Loizzo admits to gulfs between Buddhist tantric views of the body and those of contemporary science, yet at each juncture seeks ways to correct and reconcile such differences in the pursuit of offering a cure to what he refers to as the diseases of civilization. Buddha’s Daughters (Peacock Titles 2011) is one of a growing number of books on the role of women and female figures in the formation of Buddhism, particularly in the Indian and Tibetan tradi- tions. Author Kate Blickhahn presents the life stories of fifty Buddhist women, many of whom have been obscured by patriarchal historical records. Though there are numerous goddesses and nonhuman bodhisattvas repre- sented, the majority of personalities represent mothers, consorts, nuns, sisters, queens, and courtesans. With each short biography, the lives of these Buddhist women are drawn further out of obscurity, giving a fuller appreciation for how women have practiced Buddhism and how their practice has helped shape the religion. In Readings of the Platform Sutra (Columbia 2012) scholars examine various aspects of this eighth-century text, which describes the secret appointment of the illiterate and unsophisticated sage Huineng (638–713) as the Sixth Patriarch of Chan Buddhism. The sutra itself also contains a record of Huineng’s provocative discourse on nonduality and buddhanature, along with excerpts from his deathbed conversations. The essays in this collection edited by Morten Schlütter and Stephen Teiser probe themes central to early Chan, such as the idea of sudden enlightenment, the role of precepts and dharma transmission, and the influence of Chinese philosophy on Buddhism. Reading through these essays, one gains both a sense of how Bodhidharma’s lineage took root in East Asia as well as the dynamics at play between the early Chinese Buddhist masters. Dharma talks given by the Tibetan master Gampopa (1079–1153), Milarepa’s foremost disciple, are now available along with expla- nation by Ringu Tulku in Confusion Arises as Wisdom (Shambhala 2012). Originally delivered by Gampopa to his community of close disciples in their mountain hermit- age in southern Tibet, these teachings maintain the Kagyu line of oral instructions on Mahamudra that stem from their Indian yogi forefathers, Tilopa and Naropa. Pithy and to the point, Gampopa’s heart advice to his assembly captures in poetic fashion the importance of see- ing the mind as it is, recognizing pitfalls along the path, visualizing the tantric deity, and listening to the dharma. Much of this advice is directed toward experienced meditators in retreat, and though Gampopa’s verses on the intricacies of meditation are concentrated, Ringu Tulku adds water with his stories and commentary, making these teachings vibrant and refreshing for prac- titioners of Mahamudra. Zen Master Dae Gak, a teacher in the Korean Zen lineage of Master Seung Sahn, describes himself in Upright with Poise and Grace (Gno- mon 2012) as the son of a Shriner’s clown and a child of rock and roll. In this compilation of vignettes and poems, Dae Gak offers per- sonal observations, recounts Zen tales, unpacks koans, and comments on seemingly ordinary experiences. Many of the chapters read like they are drawn directly from Dae Gak’s retreat journal while sitting on Furnace Mountain in eastern Kentucky; others come from his early life memories. The topics—rang- ing from true lovemaking to childhood sum- mer camp to father-son passages to grief and trauma—are interspersed with recollections of sighting a baby owl and impressions left by sit- ting next to a stranger in zazen session. As the author states in his introduction, each of these seemingly random vignettes is to remind the reader to drop opinions and “embrace their own unfolding lives.” ALSO NEW AND NOTEWORTHY: Brains, Buddhas, and Believing by Dan Arnold (Columbia) The Hundred Tertons by Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Taye translated by Yeshe Gyamtso (KTD) The Splendid Vision: Reading a Buddhist Sutra by Richard S. Cohen (Columbia) Signs from the Unseen Realm by Robert Ford Campany (Hawaii) Historical Dictionary of Tibet by John Powers and David Templeman (Scarecrow) The Seven Tengu Scrolls by Haruko Wakabayashi (Hawaii) Bodhisattva Attitude by Lama Zopa Rinpoche (LYWA) If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break by James Ishmael Ford (Wisdom) Everything is the Way by Elihu Genmyo Smith (Shambhala) Ratnakirti’s Proof of Momentariness by Positive Correlation translated by Joel Feldman and Stephen Phillips (Columbia) Groundless Paths by Karl Brunnhölzl (Snow Lion) Lama Chopa: The Guru Puja translated by Robert Preece (Sumeru)