The Flower of Chinese Buddhism

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The Third Volume in the Soka Gakkai History of Buddhism series tells the fascinating story of the transformation of Buddhism into a world religion as it traveled from India, the land of the Buddha's birth, to China and beyond.

The wisdom and insight of key figures, including the great translator Kumarajiva and the Buddhist leader Tiantai Zhiyi, come vividly to the foreground in The Flower of Chinese Buddhism, illuminating the role of Buddhism in Chinese society and, by ...

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Overview

The Third Volume in the Soka Gakkai History of Buddhism series tells the fascinating story of the transformation of Buddhism into a world religion as it traveled from India, the land of the Buddha's birth, to China and beyond.

The wisdom and insight of key figures, including the great translator Kumarajiva and the Buddhist leader Tiantai Zhiyi, come vividly to the foreground in The Flower of Chinese Buddhism, illuminating the role of Buddhism in Chinese society and, by extension, in human society in general, charting a course that religion must follow to respond to the needs of the times, then and now.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834803930
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1997
  • Pages: 216

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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2000

    The Remarkable History of Buddhism in China

    This book, 'The Flower of Chinese Buddhism,' the story of the introduction of Buddhism to China, is a fascinating account of the meeting of two great civilizations of Asia: India, the land of the Buddha's birth, and China, where Buddhism was transformed into a world religion, and from where the Buddha's teachings eventually spread to Japan. Picking up where his earlier volume, The Living Buddha, leaves off, Dr. Ikeda spins a lively narrative of the great Buddhist missionaries and translators, the first Chinese Buddhist leaders, the domestication of Buddhism and the development of distinctly Chinese schools of Buddhism - with special emphasis on the T'ien-t'ai school, which was later so influential in Japan - and the eventual decline of the religion after harsh persecution in the tenth century. Dr. Ikeda describes the career and achievements of Kumarajiva, famed for his excellent renditions of the sutras, among them the Lotus Sutra, and the philosophical treatises that form the core of East Asian Buddhist literature. The careers and major works of the great Chinese T'ien-t'ai masters Hui-ssu, Chih-i, and Chan-jan are outlined, making this a useful introduction to the T'ien-t'ai school of Buddhism that became so influential in Japan, where its ultimate fruition came about in the teachings of Nichiren. 'The Flower of Chinese Buddhism' is an illuminating and well-told account of one of the most interesting chapters of world religious history. Burton Watson, scholar and translator of Chinese literature, including Buddhist masterpieces like 'The Lotus Sutra,' has translated this lucid and valuable contribution to the history of Buddhism.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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