A Modern Buddhist Bible: Essential Readings from East and West

Overview

The first book to bring together the key texts of modern Buddhism

In the last hundred years, the world, especially the West, has increasingly embraced the teachings of Buddhism. A Modern Buddhist Bible is the first anthology to bring together the writings from Buddhists, both Eastern and Western, that have redefined Buddhism for our era.

Forging a universal doctrine from the divergent traditions of China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Burma, Thailand, and ...

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Overview

The first book to bring together the key texts of modern Buddhism

In the last hundred years, the world, especially the West, has increasingly embraced the teachings of Buddhism. A Modern Buddhist Bible is the first anthology to bring together the writings from Buddhists, both Eastern and Western, that have redefined Buddhism for our era.

Forging a universal doctrine from the divergent traditions of China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Burma, Thailand, and Tibet, the makers of modern Buddhism saw it as a return to the origin, as renowned scholar Donald Lopez shows. Modern Buddhism is for them a homeward journey to the vision of Buddha himself. Putting far more stress on meditation and spirituality than on ritual and relics, it embraces the ordination of women and values of science, social justice, tolerance, and individual freedom.

A Modern Buddhist Bible includes writing by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, T'ai Hsu, Cheng Yen, Shaku Soen, D. T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, Gary Snyder, Shunryu Suzuki, and others who have played a role in the rich and complex movement that fused Eastern insight with Western consciousness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific Tibetan Buddhist scholar Lopez wonderfully advances his argument for framing a contemporary understanding of Buddhism that is rooted in history and pays attention to texts as well as practice. This "Bible" is a selection of 20th-century texts that have shaped modern Western-American Buddhism, which Lopez considers a sect in the same way that Thai or Tibetan Buddhism is a sect. The author of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West assembles a canon for modern Buddhism, noting the interconnection of influential figures who form a kind of Buddhist lineage. The cast of characters includes some surprises, such as Theosophist Helena Blavatsky, as well as such usual suspects as Paul Carus, Alan Watts and W.Y. Evans-Wentz, who made The Tibetan Book of the Dead an accessible text. The selections are themselves diverse. The earlier 20th century writers provide fascinating views of the beginnings of the modern Asian-Western encounter of belief systems in the context of evolving postcolonial political awareness. An astute essay by Watts from 1959 on "Beat Zen, Square Zen and Zen" might be worth the price of the book. Poems written by Allen Ginsberg about the death of maverick Tibetan Buddhist guru Trungpa Rinpoche simply resonate. The book is a great contribution to bridging the gap between the text-and-language camp of academic Buddhists and the practice, practice, practice camp of modern Buddhist adepts. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
"This intriguing new work does not, as the title suggests, present canonical texts of ancient Buddhism to modern readers. Rather, Lopez seeks to define "modern Buddhism" through the writing s of 31 authors who came to prominence between 1873 and 1980. . . . The interpretive introduction ties the diverse authors together into a "lineage" of modern Buddhism, seen by Lopez as a new sect neither bound by location nor the product of evolution but rather harking back some 2500 years to the Buddha's original vision. An important contribution to the literature of contemporary Buddhism..."
Library Journal
This intriguing new work does not, as the title suggests, present canonical texts of ancient Buddhism to modern readers. Rather, Lopez, an academic and author of the superb Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, seeks to define "modern Buddhism" through the writings of 31 authors who came to prominence between 1873 and 1980. From early seekers such as Madame Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott to more contemporary and recognizable sages such as Alan Watts, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Dalai Lama, illuminating extracts follow brief biographical sketches. The interpretive introduction ties the diverse authors together into a "lineage" of modern Buddhism, seen by Lopez as a new sect neither bound by location nor the product of evolution but rather harking back some 2500 years to the Buddha's original vision. An important contribution to the literature of contemporary Buddhism as explored in David Brazier's New Buddhism and Joseph Goldstein's One Dharma. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Asheville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807012437
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 601,889
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald S. Lopez, Jr. is professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies at the University of Michigan. His most recent books are The Story of Buddhism: A Concise Guide to Its History and Teachings and Prisoners of Shangri-La.
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