The Flower of Chinese Buddhism

( 2 )

Overview

Beginning with the introduction of the religion into China, this chronicle depicts the evolution of Buddhism. The career and achievements of the great Kumarajiva are investigated, exploring the famed philosophical treatises that form the core of East Asian Buddhist literature. Providing a useful and accessible introduction to the influential Tien-t’ai school of Buddhism in Japan as well as the teachings of the 13th-century monk Nichiren, this examination places special emphasis on the faith of the Lotus Sutra and...

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Overview

Beginning with the introduction of the religion into China, this chronicle depicts the evolution of Buddhism. The career and achievements of the great Kumarajiva are investigated, exploring the famed philosophical treatises that form the core of East Asian Buddhist literature. Providing a useful and accessible introduction to the influential Tien-t’ai school of Buddhism in Japan as well as the teachings of the 13th-century monk Nichiren, this examination places special emphasis on the faith of the Lotus Sutra and the major works of masters such as Hui-su, Chih-i, and Chanjan. From the early translations of the Buddhist scriptures to the persecution of the T'ang dynasty, this exploration illuminates the role of Buddhism in Chinese society, and by extension, in humanity in general.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Daisaku Ikeda is the president of the Soka Gakkai International and the founder of the Soka University of America. He is the author of For the Sake of Peace, Unlocking the Mysteries, and The Way of Youth. Burton Watson is a former professor at Columbia, Stanford, and Kyoto Universities. His translations include Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings, The Lotus Sutra, Mo Tzu: Basic Writings, Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan, Saigyo: Poems of a Mountain Home, and The Vimalakirti Sutra.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Note ix

Preface to the English Edition xi

Translator's Note xiii

1 From India to China 1

Buddhism as a World Religion 1

The Introduction of Buddhism to China 3

Possible Earlier Contact with Buddhism 7

The Situation in Central Asia 11

2 Early Chinese Translations of Buddhist Scriptures 15

Seeking Knowledge of Buddhism 15

Monk-Translators from Central Asia 18

A Priceless Cultural Legacy 23

3 Kumarajiva and His Translation Activities 29

The Unparalleled Monk-Translator 29

Kumarajiva's Parentage 30

The Period of Youthful Study 33

The Road to Chang'an 39

The Nature of Kumarajiva's Translations 43

The Translation of the Lotus Sutra 45

4 Efforts to Systematize the Teachings 53

Transitions in the History of Chinese Buddhism 53

The Activities of Kumarajiva's Disciples 57

5 Travelers in Search of the Law 65

Pilgrimages of Chinese Monks to India 65

Faxian's Account of His Travels and Its Importance 68

Over Endless Mountains and Rivers 72

Visiting the Sacred Sites of Buddhism 78

6 Huisi and the Veneration of the Lotus Sutra 83

The Beginnings of the Tiantai School 83

Huisi and His Understanding of the Lotus Sutra 84

The Lotus Meditation 87

Coming Face to Face with the Buddha 91

Huisi and the Concept of the Latter Day of the Law 94

7 Tianti Zhiyi and His Three Major Writings 99

Master Interpreter of the Lotus Sutra 99

Encounter with Huisi 102

The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra 106

The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra 111

Great Concentration and Insight 114

8 Xuanzang and His Journey to India 119

Tang Culture and Xuanzang's Place in It 119

Background and Motives for the Journey to India 120

To theCrossroads of Civilization 123

The Beginning of the Sectarian Period 129

9 Tang Buddhism and the Achievement of Miaole Zhanran 135

Buddhism in the Reign of Emperor Xuanzong 135

Doctrinal Profundity and the Problem of Propagation 140

Zhanran's Achievements and Their Importance 143

10 The Buddhist Persecutions 151

The Suppression of Buddhism in Wartime 151

The Background of the Buddhist Persecutions 155

The Characteristics of Chinese Buddhism 162

Glossary 167

Appendix: Romanization Table 175

Index 181

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2014

    Excellent

    Beautifully written, easy to read

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    Great history lesson!!!

    I've been a student/practictioner of Buddhism for many years and this book illuminated facets of Chinese Buddhist history that were hidden from the general public. Only by research & study into the vast fabric of Chinese Buddhist history was the author able to bring out the marvelous growth of one of the worlds' great religions.

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