A Buddhist Bible

( 8 )

Overview

Dwight Goddard's collection of translations of a cross-section of Buddhist traditions was a fundamental part of the importation of Buddhism into the USA and then, through the work of the Beat Poets that the book influenced, throughout the West as a whole.

Goddard had originally been an engineer but after his wife's death, when he was twenty-nine years old, he entered the Hartford Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1894 and was sent to China as a Congregational missionary. ...

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A Buddhist Bible

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Overview

Dwight Goddard's collection of translations of a cross-section of Buddhist traditions was a fundamental part of the importation of Buddhism into the USA and then, through the work of the Beat Poets that the book influenced, throughout the West as a whole.

Goddard had originally been an engineer but after his wife's death, when he was twenty-nine years old, he entered the Hartford Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1894 and was sent to China as a Congregational missionary. He was interested in non-Christian religions and as a result of this curiosity began to study various denominations of Buddhism.

In 1928, at the age of sixty-seven, Goddard encountered Japanese Zen Buddhism for the first time while in New York City. He was so impressed with it that he moved to Japan where he met D. T. Suzuki and studied for eight months with him at the Yamazaki Taiko Roshi of Shokoku Monastery in Kyoto.

His time spent in China and Japan made him feel that lay religious practice was not enough and would lead to worldly distractions and he decided to establish a male-only monastic movement named, 'the Followers of Buddha'.

It was situated on forty acres in southern California adjacent to the Santa Barbara National Forest and also on rural land in Thetford, Vermont. The religious 'followers' who participated in the fellowship commuted between the centers in a van, spending winters in California and summers in Vermont. The venture was short lived and closed due to lack of followers.
His book, A Buddhist Bible, was published in 1932. Translated from writings Goddard found of worth in the traditions of Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, Tibetan and other Buddhists schools of thought, the book soon became popular and it contributed to the spread of Buddhism in the USA in the 1930's and 1940's.

But it was in the 1950's that A Buddhist Bible was to make its most lasting impact.
By the end of 1953 the famous writer Jack Kerouac had been living with fellow 'Beat Poets' Neal and Carolyn Cassady in a menage a trois situation and the relationship had become untenable for all of those concerned. It had become obvious that it was time for Jack to move on and Neal recommended that Jack read A Buddhist Bible as a way of finding some much-needed spiritual inspiration. Legend has it that Kerouac headed down to the San Jose library and stole a copy before heading back 'out on the road'!

It was natural that Kerouac, who had always battled with his Catholic ideologies and his lifestyle of heavy drinking and womanizing, would find some peace through the principles of Buddhism and this came out in his seminal The Dharma Bums which detailed Kerouac and fellow Beat Gary Snyder's differing takes on the Buddhist way of life.

Although at first dismissive of his fellow Beats new found outlook, Allen Ginsberg soon followed suit and A Buddhist Bible, together with the collective writings of the Beat Generation on Buddhism, had a big influence on the American generations that followed.

Dwight Goddard was unaware of his new-found fame as he died on his seventy-eighth birthday in 1939.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This is the book that introduced Jack Kerouac to Buddhism. Originally published in 1932 and then republished in its present, enlarged form in 1938, this edition contains a fine new introduction by Robert Aitken and covers a wide selection of readings from Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, and modern sources intended to provide the reader with a foundation in classical Buddhist thought. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781428633773
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Pages: 692
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.52 (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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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Editor's Preface
Selections from Pali Sources
The Historic Buddha, Narasu 3
The Word of the Buddha, Nyanatiloka 22
Tevigga Sutta, Rhys-Davids 61
118th Discourse, Chao Kung 73
Selections from Sanskrit Sources
Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya, Goddard 85
The Diamond Sutra, Wai-tao 87
The Surangama Sutra, Wai-tao 108
Lankavatara Scripture, Suzuki and Goddard 277
The Awakening of Faith, Wai-tao 357
Selections from Chinese Sources
Tao-teh-king, Wai-tao 407
Dhyana for Beginners, Wai-tao 437
Sutra Spoken by the Sixth Patriarch, Wong Mou-lam 497
Selections from Tibetan Sources
The Life and Hymns of Milarepa, Evans-Wentz 561
The Supreme Path, Evans-Wentz 600
Selections from Modern Sources
Homeless Brothers, Yamabe 625
Practising the Seventh Stage, Goddard 634
Summary of Buddha's Dharma 615
Appendix 659
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Excellent book. Just like other books, this book is meant for pe

    Excellent book. Just like other books, this book is meant for people to relate their problems and get involved in it (for instance, the Lord of the Rings). Unlike as the title states, it is not a 'holly book.' Nor is is meant for people to turn to another belief. Buddhism is purely a way of life, not a belief. It doesn't preach to believe in one entity, nor does it ask to read only one book. There was no such thing as 'you' or 'me'; nor was there such thing as religion in Buddhism until others came along and started nosing in and started spreading hate.

    Overall, a great book if you are willing to read it. Remember, it is purely a book like any other book that you might read. Nothing special here. Don't let people who can't spell or write properly stop you from reading it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2009

    Well done!

    This is just the text I was looking for.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 2, 2013

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    Posted December 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

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