The Lotus Sutraby Burton Watson
Pub. Date: 07/01/1993
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound… See more details below
Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature. Conceived as a drama of colossal proportions, the text takes on new meaning in Burton Watson's translation. Depicting events in a cosmic world that transcends ordinary concepts of time and space, the Lotus Sutra presents abstract religious concepts in concrete terms and affirms that there is a single path to enlightenment - that of the bodhisattva - and that the Buddha is not to be delimited in time and space. Filled with striking imagery. memorable parables, and countless revelations concerning the universal accessibility of Buddhahood, the Lotus Sutra has brought comfort and wisdom to devotees over the centuries and stands as a pivotal text in world literature. As Watson notes, "The Lotus Sutra is not so much an integral work as a collection of religious texts, an anthology of sermons, stories and devotional manuals, some speaking with particular force to persons of one type or in one set of circumstances, some to those of another type or in other circumstances. This is no doubt one reason why it has had such broad and lasting appeal over the ages and has permeated so deeply into the cultures that have been exposed to it."
Table of Contents
|3||Simile and Parable||47|
|4||Belief and Understanding||80|
|5||The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs||97|
|6||Bestowal of Prophecy||107|
|7||The Parable of the Phantom City||117|
|8||Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples||143|
|9||Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts||154|
|10||The Teacher of the Law||160|
|11||The Emergence of the Treasure Tower||170|
|15||Emerging from the Earth||212|
|16||The Life Span of the Thus Come One||224|
|17||Distinctions in Benefits||233|
|18||The Benefits of Responding with Joy||245|
|19||Benefits of the Teacher of the Law||251|
|20||The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging||265|
|21||Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One||272|
|23||Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King||280|
|24||The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound||290|
|25||The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds||298|
|27||Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment||312|
|28||Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy||319|
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This is a very good translation of one of Mahayana Buddhism's greatest sutras/canon. I find it to be well written, easy to follow and understand (although not so easy to comprehend--will explain later), and a pleasure to read. Each chapter entails some fascinating tales and fables (as in the chapters that discuss the lost son searching for his father, the expedient methods our beloved Buddha use to deliver and rescue us from our burning house (an analogy for this suffering world that we live in) along with the myriad of the virtues and conducts of some of the Great Bodhisattvas such as Guan Yin/Avalokiteshvara (aka Contemplator of the World's Sounds). Like all of Mahayana Buddhism's scriptures, you will find that the meanings and intents of the original author(s) conveyed in this sacred literature are much more profound than what seem to be provided at the surface. Therefore, if you are like most people, this is not a book that you would want to read just once. Repeated readings will help the readers understand all the different metaphors and analogies, and especially the intent, provided by the Buddha when he first preached the doctrines contained in this wonderful sutra. Kudos to Burton Watson for the excellent English translation.
This is perhaps the best translation/rendition of The Lotus Sutra that I have ever read!!!! Having studied Buddhism in many forms for the last 40 years, I have come across many eloquent translations of The Lotus Sutra; but this translation by Burton Watson is by far the best & most authoritative. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeking to learn the very essence of the Buddha's teachings.
Waston did an excellent job in the translation of this sutra. If you are looking to pick up a copy of the Lotus, I'd choose either this one or the version by Leon Hurvitz. I would recommend any translation by Mr. Watson.