A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
“Raises timely and important questions about what religious freedom in America truly means.”
“A must-read for anyone interested in the implacable quest for civil liberties, social and racial justice, religious freedom, and American belonging.”
On December 7, 1941, as the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, the first person detained was the leader of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist sect in Hawai‘i. Nearly all Japanese Americans were subject to accusations of disloyalty, but Buddhists aroused particular suspicion. From the White House to the local town council, many believed that Buddhism was incompatible with American values. Intelligence agencies targeted the Buddhist community, and Buddhist priests were deemed a threat to national security.
In this pathbreaking account, based on personal accounts and extensive research in untapped archives, Duncan Ryūken Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.
“A searingly instructive story…from which all Americans might learn.”
“Williams’ moving account shows how Japanese Americans transformed Buddhism into an American religion, and, through that struggle, changed the United States for the better.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer
“Reading this book, one cannot help but think of the current racial and religious tensions that have gripped this nation—and shudder.”
—Reza Aslan, author of Zealot
An ethically-based approach to human relations for the media age.
Otherness, alterity, the alien--over the course of the past fifty years many of us have based our hopes for more ethical relationships on concepts of difference. Combining philosophy, literary criticism, fiction, autobiography, and real and imagined correspondence, Ann Weinstone proposes that only when we stop ordering the other to be other--whether technological, animal, or simply inanimate--will we truly become posthuman.
Posthumanism has thus far focused nearly exclusively on human-technology relations. Avatar Bodies develops a posthumanist vocabulary for human-to-human relationships that turns our capacities for devotion, personality, and pleasure. Drawing on both the philosophies and practices of Indian Tantra, Weinstone argues for the impossibility of absolute otherness; we are all avatar bodies, consisting of undecidably shared gestures, skills, memories, sensations, beliefs, and affects.
Weinstone calls her book a "tantra"--by which she means a set of instructions for practices aimed at sensitizing the reader to the inherent permeability of self to other, self to world. This tantra for posthumanism elaborates devotional gestures that will expose us to more unfettered contacts and the transformative touch.
Ann Weinstone is assistant professor of literature and new media at Northwestern University and the winner of the 1994 Chelsea Award for Fiction.
They may shave their heads, don simple robes, and renounce materialism and worldly desires. But the women seeking enlightenment in a Buddhist nunnery high in the folds of Himalayan Kashmir invariably find themselves subject to the tyrannies of subsistence, subordination, and sexuality. Ultimately, Buddhist monasticism reflects the very world it is supposed to renounce. Butter and barley prove to be as critical to monastic life as merit and meditation. Kim Gutschow lived for more than three years among these women, collecting their stories, observing their ways, studying their lives. Her book offers the first ethnography of Tibetan Buddhist society from the perspective of its nuns.
Gutschow depicts a gender hierarchy where nuns serve and monks direct, where monks bless the fields and kitchens while nuns toil in them. Monasteries may retain historical endowments and significant political and social power, yet global flows of capitalism, tourism, and feminism have begun to erode the balance of power between monks and nuns. Despite the obstacles of being considered impure and inferior, nuns engage in everyday forms of resistance to pursue their ascetic and personal goals.
A richly textured picture of the little known culture of a Buddhist nunnery, the book offers moving narratives of nuns struggling with the Buddhist discipline of detachment. Its analysis of the way in which gender and sexuality construct ritual and social power provides valuable insight into the relationship between women and religion in South Asia today.
In this much-needed examination of Buddhist views of death and the afterlife, Carl B. Becker bridges the gap between books on death in the West and books on Buddhism in the East.
Other Western writers have addressed the mysteries surrounding death and the afterlife, but few have approached the topic from a Buddhist perspective. Here, Becker resolves questions that have troubled scholars since the beginning of Buddhism: How can Buddhism reconcile its belief in karma and rebirth with its denial of a permanent soul? What is reborn? And when, exactly, is the moment of death?
By systematically tracing Buddhism’s migration from India through China, Japan, and Tibet, Becker demonstrates how culture and environment affect Buddhist religious tradition.
In addition to discussing historical Buddhism, Becker shows how Buddhism resolves controversial current issues as well. In the face of modern medicine’s trend toward depersonalization, traditional Buddhist practices imbue the dying process with respect and dignity. At the same time, Buddhist tradition offers documented precedents for decision making in cases of suicide and euthanasia.
This volume seeks to answer the question of how the Buddhist monks in today's Sri Lanka—given Buddhism's traditionally nonviolent philosophy—are able to participate in the fierce political violence of the Sinhalese against the Tamils.
In the late 1800s, Japanese leaders invited Unitarian missionaries to Japan to further modernization. Mohr looks at the debates sparked by the encounter between Unitarianism and Buddhism and considers how the idea of “universal truth” was used by both missionaries and by Japanese intellectuals and religious leaders to promote their own agendas.
Buddhist Revitalization and Chinese Religions in Malaysia tells the story of how a minority community comes to grips with the challenges of modernity, history, globalization, and cultural assertion in an ever-changing Malaysia. It captures the religious connection, transformation, and tension within a complex traditional belief system in a multi-religious society. In particular, the book revolves around a discussion on the religious revitalization of Chinese Buddhism in modern Malaysia. This Buddhist revitalization movement is intertwined with various forces, such as colonialism, religious transnationalism, and global capitalism. Reformist Buddhists have helped to remake Malaysia’s urban-dwelling Chinese community and have provided an exit option in the Malay and Muslim majority nation state. As Malaysia modernizes, there have been increasing efforts by certain segments of the country’s ethnic Chinese Buddhist population to separate Buddhism from popular Chinese religions. Nevertheless, these reformist groups face counterforces from traditional Chinese religionists within the context of the cultural complexity of the Chinese belief system.
Burma's Mass Lay Meditation Movement: Buddhism and the Cultural Construction of Power describes a transformation in Buddhist practice in contemporary Burma. This revitalization movement has had real consequences for how the oppressive military junta, in power since the early 1960s, governs the country.
Drawing on more than ten years of extensive fieldwork in Burma, Ingrid Jordt explains how vipassanā meditation has brought about a change of worldview for millions of individuals, enabling them to think and act independently of the totalitarian regime. She addresses human rights as well as the relationship between politics and religion in a country in which neither the government nor the people clearly separates the two. Jordt explains how the movement has been successful in its challenge to the Burmese military dictatorship where democratically inspired resistance movements have failed.
Jordt's unsurpassed access to the centers of political and religious power in Burma becomes the reader's opportunity to witness the political workings of one of the world's most secretive and tyrannically ruled countries. Burma's Mass Lay Meditation Movement is a valuable contribution to Buddhist studies as well as anthropology, religious studies, and political science.
In this highly original study of sexuality, desire, the body, and women,
Liz Wilson investigates first-millennium Buddhist notions of
spirituality. She argues that despite the marginal role women played in
monastic life, they occupied a very conspicuous place in Buddhist
hagiographic literature. In narratives used for the edification of
Buddhist monks, women's bodies in decay (diseased, dying, and after
death) served as a central object for meditation, inspiring spiritual
growth through sexual abstention and repulsion in the immediate world.
Taking up a set of universal concerns connected with the representation
of women, Wilson displays the pervasiveness of androcentrism in Buddhist
literature and practice. She also makes persuasive use of recent
historical work on the religious lives of women in medieval
Christianity, finding common ground in the role of miraculous
This lively and readable study brings provocative new tools and insights
to the study of women in religious life.
Over the past century, Buddhism has come to be seen as a world religion, exceeding Christianity in longevity and, according to many, philosophical wisdom. Buddhism has also increasingly been described as strongly ethical, devoted to nonviolence, and dedicated to bringing an end to human suffering. And because it places such a strong emphasis on rational analysis, Buddhism is considered more compatible with science than the other great religions. As such, Buddhism has been embraced in the West, both as an alternative religion and as an alternative to religion.
This volume provides a unique introduction to Buddhism by examining categories essential for a nuanced understanding of its traditions. Each of the fifteen essays here shows students how a fundamental term—from art to word—illuminates the practice of Buddhism, both in traditional Buddhist societies and in the realms of modernity. Apart from Buddha, the list of terms in this collection deliberately includes none that are intrinsic to the religion. Instead, the contributors explore terms that are important for many fields and that invite interdisciplinary reflection. Through incisive discussions of topics ranging from practice, power, and pedagogy to ritual, history, sex, and death, the authors offer new directions for the understanding of Buddhism, taking constructive and sometimes polemical positions in an effort both to demonstrate the shortcomings of assumptions about the religion and the potential power of revisionary approaches.
Following the tradition of Critical Terms for Religious Studies, this volume is not only an invaluable resource for the classroom but one that belongs on the short list of essential books for anyone seriously interested in Buddhism and Asian religions.
Curators of the Buddha is the first critical history of the study of Buddhism in the West and the first work to bring the insights of colonial and postcolonial cultural studies to bear on this field.
After an overview of the origins of Buddhist studies in the early nineteenth century, the essays focus on important "curators of the Buddha," such as Aurel Stein, D. T. Suzuki, and Carl Jung, who, as they created and maintained the discipline, played a significant role in disseminating knowledge about Buddhism in the West. The essays bring to life many of the important but unexamined social, political, and cultural conditions that have shaped the course of Buddhist studies for more than a century—and have frequently distorted the understanding of a complex set of traditions. Contributors Charles Hallisey, Gustavo Benavides, Stanley Abe, Luis Gómez, Robert Sharf, and Donald Lopez challenge some of the most enduring ideas in Buddhist studies: that Zen Buddhism is, above all, an experience; that Tibetan Buddhism is polluted, or pristine; that the Buddha image is of Greek or Roman origin; that the classical text supersedes the vernacular, as the manuscript supersedes the informant; and many others.
The Dalai Lama at MIT
Anne Harrington Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress BF51.D35 2006 | Dewey Decimal 294.33615
Their meeting captured headlines; the waiting list for tickets was nearly 2000 names long. If you were unable to attend, this book will take you there. Including both the papers given at the conference, and the animated discussion and debate that followed, The Dalai Lama at MIT reveals scientists and monks reaching across a cultural divide, to share insights, studies, and enduring questions.
Is there any substance to monks’ claims that meditation can provide astonishing memories for words and images? Is there any neuroscientific evidence that meditation will help you pay attention, think better, control and even eliminate negative emotions? Are Buddhists right to make compassion a fundamental human emotion, and Western scientists wrong to have neglected it?
The Dalai Lama at MIT shows scientists finding startling support for some Buddhist claims, Buddhists eager to participate in neuroscientific experiments, as well as misunderstandings and laughter. Those in white coats and those in orange robes agree that joining forces could bring new light to the study of human minds.
For centuries, Buddhist teachers and laypeople have used stories, symbols, cultural metaphors, and anecdotes to teach and express their religious views. In this introductory textbook, Carl Olson draws on these narrative traditions to detail the development of Buddhism from the life of the historical Buddha to the present. By organizing the text according to the structure of Buddhist thought and teaching, Olson avoids imposing a Western perspective that traditional texts commonly bring to the subject.
The book offers a comprehensive introduction to the main branches of the Buddhist tradition in both the Mahayana and Theravada schools, including the Madhyamika school, the Yogacara school, Pure Land devotionalism, Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and village folk Buddhist traditions. Chapters explore the life and teachings of the Buddha in historical context, the early development and institutionalization of Buddhism, its geographic spread across Asia and eventually to the United States, philosophy and ethics, the relationship between monks and laity, political and ethical implications, the role of women in the Buddhist tradition, and contemporary reinterpretations of Buddhism.
Drawn from decades of classroom experience, this creative and ambitious textcombines expert scholarship and engaging stories that offer a much-needed perspective to the existing literature on the topic.
The Early 20th Century Resurgence of the Tibetan Buddhist World is a cohesive collection of studies by Japanese, Russian and Central Asian scholars deploying previously unexplored Russian, Mongolian, and Tibetan sources concerning events and processes in the Central Asian Buddhist world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Set in the final days of the Qing empire when Russian and British empires were expanding into Central Asia, this work examines the interplay of religious, economic and political power among peoples who acknowledged the religious authority of Tibet's Dalai Lama. It focuses on diplomatic initiatives involving the 13th Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist hierarchs during and after his exile in Mongolia and China, as well as his relations with Mongols, and with Buriat, Kalmyk, and other Russian Buddhists. It demonstrates how these factors shaped historical processes in the region, not least the reformulations of both group identity and political consciousness.
+Pre-order from Rest of the World External Link
Kim explores the dynamic relationship between Korean and Japanese Buddhists in the years leading up to the Japanese annexation of Korea. Conventional narratives portray Korean Buddhists as complicit in the religious annexation of the peninsula, but this view fails to account for the diverse visions, interests, and strategies that drove both sides.
Sorcery has long been associated with the "dark side" of human development. Along with magic and witchcraft, it is assumed to be irrational and antithetical to modern thought. But in The Feast of the Sorcerer, Bruce Kapferer argues that sorcery practices reveal critical insights into how consciousness is formed and how human beings constitute their social and political realities.
Kapferer focuses on sorcery among Sinhalese Buddhists in Sri Lanka to explore how the art of sorcery is in fact deeply connected to social practices and lived experiences such as birth, death, sickness, and war. He describes in great detail the central ritual of exorcism, a study which opens up new avenues of thought that challenge anthropological approaches to such topics as the psychological forces of emotion and the dynamics of power. Overcoming both "orientalist" bias and postmodern permissiveness, Kapferer compellingly reframes sorcery as a pragmatic, conscious practice which, through its dynamic of destruction and creation, makes it possible for humans to reconstruct repeatedly their relation to the world.
The founder of the Hare Krishna movement (or International Society for Krishna Consciousness / ISKCON) was the Indian guru, Swami Bhaktivedanta, who during the last years of his life brought a Hindu denomination to the West. He represented the Bengali (Gaudiya) school of Vaisnavism—devotion to Vishnu and Krishna—which he molded somewhat to the times when he arrived in New York in the 1960s. Since then, ISKCON has evolved along more conventional—by Western standards—denominational lines with a largely middle-class, lay membership.
When Bhaktivedanta arrived in America, it was a bold step because historically a guru who ventured outside of India was stripped of his Brahman status. However, the effort bore fruit—not the least of which was the type of intercultural understanding promoted by the current authors through their study of ISKCON’s place within the religion and culture of India.
In arriving at the heart of Buddhist philosophy, Nolan Pliny Jacobson attempts to eliminate some of the confusion in the West (and perhaps in the East as well) concerning the Buddhist view of what is concrete and ultimately real in the world.
Jacobson presents Nāgārjuna, the Plato of the Buddhist tradition, as the major exemplar of the Buddhist expression of life. In his comparison of Buddhism and Western theology, Jacobson demonstrates that some efforts in Western religious thought approach the Buddhist empirical stance.
Theravada is one of the three main branches of Buddhism. In Asia it is practiced widely in Thailand, Laos, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. This fascinating ethnography opens a window onto two communities of Theravada Buddhists in contemporary America: one outside Philadelphia that is composed largely of Thai immigrants and one outside Boston that consists mainly of white converts.
Wendy Cadge first provides a historical overview of Theravada Buddhism and considers its specific origins here in the United States. She then brings her findings to bear on issues of personal identity, immigration, cultural assimilation, and the nature of religion in everyday life. Her work is the first systematic comparison of the ways in which immigrant and convert Buddhists understand, practice, and adapt the Buddhist tradition in America. The men and women whom Cadge meets and observes speak directly to us in this work, both in their personal testimonials and as they meditate, pray, and practice Buddhism.
Creative and insightful, Heartwood will be of enormous value to sociologists of religion and anyone wishing to understand the rise of Buddhism in the Western world.
The Dalai Lama has said that Tibetans consider themselves “the child of Indian civilization” and that India is the “holy land” from whose sources the Tibetans have built their own civilization. What explains this powerful allegiance to India? In The Holy Land Reborn¸ Toni Huber investigates how Tibetans have maintained a ritual relationship to India, particularly by way of pilgrimage, and what it means for them to consider India as their holy land.
Focusing on the Tibetan creation and recreation of India as a destination, a landscape, and a kind of other, in both real and idealized terms, Huber explores how Tibetans have used the idea of India as a religious territory and a sacred geography in the development of their own religion and society. In a timely closing chapter, Huber also takes up the meaning of India for the Tibetans who live in exile in their Buddhist holy land.
A major contribution to the study of Buddhism, The Holy Land Reborn describes changes in Tibetan constructs of India over the centuries, ultimately challenging largely static views of the sacred geography of Buddhism in India.
Illuminating the Life of the Buddha investigates an outstanding eighteenth-century samut khoi, a type of beautifully illustrated, folded book found in Southeast Asia and popular as a repository for the Buddha’s teachings. Written in Pali and produced in Siam, the samut khoi features finely executed paintings on khoi paper portraying key stories from the Buddha’s past lives. These stories, known as the Jatakas, were the principal means by which Buddhist teachings were communicated and were thus a favored theme for samut khoi. However, this samut khoi stands out for its extensive series of paintings from the last life of the Buddha, including his final awakening and teaching, which are distinctive to the region.
Affording readers immense insight into a spectacular eighteenth-century manuscript, and Thai Buddhist manuscripts and temple culture as a whole, this book will be of great interest to art historians and scholars of Buddhism and Southeast Asia.
In Praise of Copying
Marcus Boon Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress BD225.B66 2010 | Dewey Decimal 153
This book is devoted to a deceptively simple but original argument: that copying is an essential part of being human, that the ability to copy is worthy of celebration, and that, without recognizing how integral copying is to being human, we cannot understand ourselves or the world we live in.
In spite of the laws, stigmas, and anxieties attached to it, the word “copying” permeates contemporary culture, shaping discourse on issues from hip hop to digitization to gender reassignment, and is particularly crucial in legal debates concerning intellectual property and copyright. Yet as a philosophical concept, copying remains poorly understood. Working comparatively across cultures and times, Marcus Boon undertakes an examination of what this word means—historically, culturally, philosophically—and why it fills us with fear and fascination. He argues that the dominant legal-political structures that define copying today obscure much broader processes of imitation that have constituted human communities for ages and continue to shape various subcultures today. Drawing on contemporary art, music and film, the history of aesthetics, critical theory, and Buddhist philosophy and practice, In Praise of Copying seeks to show how and why copying works, what the sources of its power are, and the political stakes of renegotiating the way we value copying in the age of globalization.
Key Words in Buddhism
Ron Geaves Georgetown University Press, 2006 Library of Congress BQ130.G43 2006 | Dewey Decimal 294.303
Daily political events and the steady inevitability of globalism require that informed students and citizens learn something about religious traditions foreign to their own. Designed for both classroom and general use, these handy Key Words guidebooks are essential resources for those who want clear and concise explanations of common terms and unfamiliar concepts of major world religions.
Each pocket-sized volume contains definitions for over 400 terms from religious principles and significant periods to noteworthy figures.
Brahma Viharas: The four sublime states of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and evenness of mind achieved by the practice of bhavana (see bhavana, metta, karuna, mudita, upekkha).
Jaramarana: Old age and death. The final link in the causal chain of existence which arises from jati or birth. The Buddha left his palace to search for enlightenment after experiencing the shock of seeing old age, sickness and death (see jati, Siddharta Gotma,. nidanas, samsara).
A Monastery in Time is the first book to describe the life of a Mongolian Buddhist monastery—the Mergen Monastery in Inner Mongolia—from inside its walls. From the Qing occupation of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the Cultural Revolution, Caroline Humphrey and Hürelbaatar Ujeed tell a story of religious formation, suppression, and survival over a history that spans three centuries.
Often overlooked in Buddhist studies, Mongolian Buddhism is an impressively self-sustaining tradition whose founding lama, the Third Mergen Gegen, transformed Tibetan Buddhism into an authentic counterpart using the Mongolian language. Drawing on fifteen years of fieldwork, Humphrey and Ujeed show how lamas have struggled to keep Mergen Gegen’s vision alive through tremendous political upheaval, and how such upheaval has inextricably fastened politics to religion for many of today’s practicing monks. Exploring the various ways Mongolian Buddhists have attempted to link the past, present, and future, Humphrey and Ujeed offer a compelling study of the interplay between the individual and the state, tradition and history.
Ludwig Wittgenstein University of Chicago Press, 1979 Library of Congress B3376.W563N6 1979 | Dewey Decimal 193
This considerably revised second edition of Wittgenstein's 1914-16 notebooks contains a new appendix with photographs of Wittgenstein's original work, a new preface by Elizabeth Anscombe, and a useful index by E.D. Klemke. Corrections have been made throughout the text, and notes have been added, making this the definitive edition of the notebooks. The writings intersperse Wittgenstein's technical logical notations with his thoughts on the meaning of life, happiness, and death.
"When the first edition of this collection of remarks appeared in 1961 we were provided with a glimpse of the workings of Wittgenstein's mind during the period when the seminal ideas of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus were being worked out. This second edition provided the occasion to be struck anew by the breadth, rigor, and above all the restlessness of that mind."—T. Michael McNulty, S. J., The Modern Schoolman
Though contemporary European philosophy and critical theory have long had a robust engagement with Christianity, there has been no similar engagement with Buddhism—a surprising lack, given Buddhism’s global reach and obvious affinities with much of Continental philosophy. This volume fills that gap, focusing on “nothing”—essential to Buddhism, of course, but also a key concept in critical theory from Hegel and Marx through deconstruction, queer theory, and contemporary speculative philosophy. Through an elaboration of emptiness in both critical and Buddhist traditions; an examination of the problem of praxis in Buddhism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis; and an explication of a “Buddhaphobia” that is rooted in modern anxieties about nothingness, Nothing opens up new spaces in which the radical cores of Buddhism and critical theory are renewed and revealed.
Here is one of the most entertaining masterpieces of Sanskrit literature rendered in an English translation that fully captures the original's artistry and charm.
Written most probably in the fourth century A.D., the Jatakamala is generally considered the masterpiece of Buddhist literature in Sanskrit. In elegant, courtly style, Arya Sura retells thirty-four traditional stories about the Buddha in his previous incarnations, human and animal. Whether as a king, a brahmin, a monkey, or a hare, the Great One is shown in assiduous pursuit of virtue and compassion. Though primarily intended as exemplary tales illustrating the Buddhist virtues, these stories also provide a vivid picture of life at a high point in ancient Indian culture—city life in ordinary households or at the royal court, and country life against a backdrop of mountain, desert, and jungle.
Fresh study of the Sanskrit manuscripts, now scattered in libraries all over the world, has enabled Peter Khoroche to make this new translation faithful to the original in both style and content. His explanatory notes will assist student and general reader alike in appreciating this classic from an ancient and exotic civilization.
“The general reader will be highly grateful for this new translation which, besides being beautifully printed, is rounded off with a very informative and reliable introduction.”—Renate Söhnen-Thieme, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
“One would be a fool not to welcome the chance to read this book.”—Richard Gombrich, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Bringing together essential materials on the origins and development of Buddhist traditions from India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, China, and Japan, this anthology provides the broadest selection of primary source Buddhist literature available to date.
The volume is divided into two major parts: Theravada and Mahayana forms of Buddhism. The first section presents selections that explore major themes in Buddhist thought such as causality, Four Noble Truths, the doctrine of non-self, nibbana, meditation, and ethics, as well as literature about monastic life and regulations, women, and hagiography.
The second part includes selections from so-called wisdom literature and texts that represent the three major schools of Mahayana Buddhism: Pure Land, Madhyamika, and Yogacara. Selections also include sources from some of the major Chinese Buddhist schools such as Hua-yen, T'ien T'ai, Pure Land, and Ch'an. Readings by thinkers such as Tantric Buddhist reformer Tsong Khapa, Pure Land leaders Honen, Shinran, and Nichiren, as well as Zen Buddhists Dogen and Hakuin provide a perspective on regional and national traditions.
In addition to the general introduction, each major section is introduced by an essay that places the selections within the context of Buddhist history. This comprehensive reader stands on its own as an indispensable anthology of original textual sources for courses in Buddhism, while also serving as a companion volume to the text The Different Paths of Buddhism: A Narrative-Historical Introduction.
The Therīgāthā is one of the oldest surviving literatures by women, composed more than two millennia ago and originally collected as part of the Pali canon of Buddhist scripture. These poems were written by some of the first Buddhist women—therīs—honored for their religious achievements. Through imaginative verses about truth and freedom, the women recount their lives before ordination and their joy at attaining liberation from samsara. Poems of the First Buddhist Women offers startling insights into the experiences of women in ancient times that continue to resonate with modern readers. With a spare and elegant style, this powerful translation introduces us to a classic of world literature.
Post-cinema designates a new way of making films. It is time to ask whether this novelty is complete or relative and to evaluate to what extent it represents a unitary or diversified current. The book proposes to integrate the post-cinema question within the post-art question in order to study the new ways of making filmic images. The issue will be considered at three levels: the impression of post-art on "regular" films; the "relocation" (Casetti) of the same films that can be seen using devices of all kinds in conditions more or less removed from the dispositif of the theater; the integration of cinema into contemporary art in all kinds of forms of creation and exhibition, parallel to the integration of contemporary art in "regular" cinema.
Prisoners of Shangri-La is a provocative analysis of the romance of Tibet, a romance that, even as it is invoked by Tibetan lamas living in exile, ultimately imprisons those who seek the goal of Tibetan independence from Chinese occupation.
"Lopez lifts the veil on America's romantic vision of Tibet to reveal a country and a spiritual history more complex and less ideal than popular perceptions allow. . . . Lively and engaging, Lopez's book raises important questions about how Eastern religions are often co-opted, assimilated and misunderstood by Western culture."—Publishers Weekly
"Proceeding with care and precision, Lopez reveals the extent to which scholars have behaved like intellectual colonialists. . . . Someone had to burst the bubble of pop Tibetology, and few could have done it as resoundingly as Lopez."—Booklist
"Fascinating. . . [A] provocative exploration. Lopez conveys the full dizziness of the Western encounter with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism."—Fred Pheil, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
"A timely and courageous exploration. . . . [Lopez's] book will sharpen the terms of the debate over what the Tibetans and their observers can or should be doing about the place and the idea of Tibet. And that alone is what will give us all back our Shambhala."—Jonathan Spence, Lingua Franca Book Review
"Lopez's most important theme is that we should be wary of the idea . . . that Tibet has what the West lacks, that if we were only to look there we would find the answers to our problems. Lopez's book shows that, on the contrary, when the West has looked at Tibet, all that it has seen is a distorted reflection of itself."—Ben Jackson, Times Higher Education Supplement
Rebuilding Buddhism describes in evocative detail the experiences and achievements of Nepalis who have adopted Theravada Buddhism. This form of Buddhism was introduced into Nepal from Burma and Sri Lanka in the 1930s, and its adherents have struggled for recognition and acceptance ever since. With its focus on the austere figure of the monk and the biography of the historical Buddha, and more recently with its emphasis on individualizing meditation and on gender equality, Theravada Buddhism contrasts sharply with the highly ritualized Tantric Buddhism traditionally practiced in the Kathmandu Valley.
Based on extensive fieldwork, interviews, and historical reconstruction, the book provides a rich portrait of the different ways of being a Nepali Buddhist over the past seventy years. At the same time it explores the impact of the Theravada movement and what its gradual success has meant for Buddhism, for society, and for men and women in Nepal.
What happens when three hundred alleged squatters go head-to-head with an enormous city government looking to develop the place where they live? As anthropologist Michael Herzfeld shows in this book, the answer can be surprising. He tells the story of Pom Mahakan, a tiny enclave in the heart of old Bangkok whose residents have resisted authorities’ demands to vacate their homes for a quarter of a century. It’s a story of community versus government, of old versus new, and of political will versus the law.
Herzfeld argues that even though the residents of Pom Mahakan have lost every legal battle the city government has dragged them into, they have won every public relations contest, highlighting their struggle as one against bureaucrats who do not respect the age-old values of Thai/Siamese social and cultural order. Such values include compassion for the poor and an understanding of urban space as deeply embedded in social and ritual relations. In a gripping account of their standoff, Herzfeld—who simultaneously argues for the importance of activism in scholarship—traces the agile political tactics and styles of the community’s leadership, using their struggle to illuminate the larger difficulties, tensions, and unresolved debates that continue to roil Thai society to this day.
Why is Soka Gakkai one of the fastest-growing religions in the world today? Founded in post-World War II Japan, this Buddhist movement claims upwards of 15 million members, including more than a half million in North and South America. It sponsors two universities in the United States.
Professor Dobbelaere points to several reasons for its growth. Soka Gakkai emphasizes inner peace rather than rules of behavior or hierarchical allegiance. Sociologists describe it as “trans-modern,” meaning that it blends ancient and contemporary sensitivities such as Buddhist mysticism, science, art and music, a concern for the environment, and social activism.
Initially there was a reliance on aggressive proselyting, later replaced with a more moderate encouragement to share with friends. The movement now engages other faiths in cultural and intellectual exchanges and in pursuit of common ethical objectives. This adaptability and sincere concern for its membership and for society as a whole bode well for its future success.
If any anthropologist living today can illuminate our dim understanding of death’s enigma, it is Robert Desjarlais. With Subject to Death, Desjarlais provides an intimate, philosophical account of death and mourning practices among Hyolmo Buddhists, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people from Nepal. He studies the death preparations of the Hyolmo, their specific rituals of grieving, and the practices they use to heal the psychological trauma of loss. Desjarlais’s research marks a major advance in the ethnographic study of death, dying, and grief, one with broad implications. Ethnologically nuanced, beautifully written, and twenty-five years in the making, Subject to Death is an insightful study of how fundamental aspects of human existence—identity, memory, agency, longing, bodiliness—are enacted and eventually dissolved through social and communicative practices.
Nolan Pliny Jacobson Southern Illinois University Press, 1986 Library of Congress BQ4150.J33 1986 | Dewey Decimal 181.043
Jacobson presents Buddhism unencumbered by Western categories and concepts, free from the cognitive bias, from the concept-oriented, definition-minded preoccupations inherited from the ancient Greeks. It is an interpretation of the central ideas that have characterized all forms of Buddhism for 25centuries.
In the first study of its kind, David W. Johnson’s Watsuji on Nature reconstructs the astonishing philosophy of nature of Watsuji Tetsuro (1889–1960). Johnson situates Watsuji’s philosophy in relation to his reception of the thought of Heidegger and to his renewal of core ontological positions in classical Confucian and Buddhist philosophy. He shows that for Watsuji we have our being in the lived experience of nature, one in which nature and culture compose a tightly interwoven texture called fudo(<??). By fully unfolding Watsuji’s novel and radical claim that this is a setting that is neither fully external to human subjectivity nor merely a product of it, this book also sets out what still remains unthought in this concept, as well as in the relational structure that underwrites it. Johnson argues that what remains unarticulated is nothing less than the recovery of a reenchanted conception of nature and an elucidation of the wide-ranging implications of a relational conception of the self for questions about the disclosive character of experience, the distinction between fact and value, and the possibility of a place-based ecological ethics.
In an engagingly lucid and deft analysis, Watsuji on Nature radically expands our appreciation of twentieth-century Japanese philosophy and shows what it has to offer to a global philosophical conversation.
The Work of Kings
H. L. Seneviratne University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress BQ376.S46 1999 | Dewey Decimal 294.30954930904
The Work of Kings is a stunning new look at the turbulent modern history and sociology of the Sri Lankan Buddhist Monkhood and its effects upon contemporary society. Using never-before translated Sinhalese documents and extensive interviews with monks, Sri Lankan anthropologist H.L. Seneviratne unravels the inner workings of this New Buddhism and the ideology on which it is based.
Beginning with Anagarika Dharmapala's "rationalization" of Buddhism in the early twentieth century, which called for monks to take on a more activist role in the community, Seneviratne shows how the monks have gradually revised their role to include involvement in political and economic spheres. The altruistic, morally pure monks of Dharamapala's dreams have become, Seneviratne trenchantly argues, self-centered and arrogant, concealing self-aggrandizement behind a façade of "social service."
A compelling call for reform and a forceful analysis, The Work of Kings is essential to anthropologists, historians of religion, and those interested in colonialism, nationalism, and postcolonial politics.
In an engagingly lucid and deft analysis, Watsuji on Nature radically expands our appreciation of twentieth-century Japanese philosophy and shows what it has to offer to a global philosophical conversation.