The Lotus Sutra proclaims that a unitary intent underlies the diversity of Buddhist teachings and promises that all people without exception can achieve supreme awakening. Establishing the definitive guide to this profound text, specialists in Buddhist philosophy, art, and history of religion address the major ideas and controversies surrounding the Lotus Sutra and its manifestations in ritual performance, ascetic practice, visual representations, and social action across history. Essays survey the Indian context in which the sutra was produced, its compilation and translation history, and its influence across China and Japan, among many other issues. The volume also includes a Chinese and Japanese character glossary, notes on Western translations of the text, and a synoptic bibliography.
About the Author
Stephen F. Teiser is D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies at Princeton University. His research focuses on the interaction between Buddhism and Chinese forms of religion. His book Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Temples received the Stanislas Julien Prize from the Institut de France.Jacqueline I. Stone is professor of Japanese religions at Princeton University. Her primary research centers on medieval Japanese Buddhism, especially the Tendai and Nichiren Buddhist traditions. Her book Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion (Historical Studies).
Table of Contents
Foreword, by Sheng Yen
Preface, by Stephen F. Teiser and Jacqueline I. Stone
1. Interpreting the Lotus Sutra, by Stephen F. Teiser and Jacqueline I. Stone
2. Expedient Devices, the One Vehicle, and the Life Span of the Buddha, by Carl Bielefeldt
3. Gender and Hierarchy in the Lotus Sutra, by Jan Nattier
4. The Lotus Sutra and Self-Immolation, by James A. Benn
5. Buddhist Practice and the Lotus Sutra in China, by Daniel B. Stevenson
6. Art of the Lotus Sutra, by Willa Jane Tanabe
7. Bodily Reading of the Lotus Sutra, by Ruben L. F. Habito
8. Realizing This World as the Buddha Land, by Jacqueline I. Stone
Translations of the Lotus Sutra in European Languages
Cross-References to Citations of the Lotus Sutra
What People are Saying About This
Readings of the Lotus Sutra is well conceived and balanced, and all of the major areas and issues are covered. I would not hesitate to use this volume for classroom teaching. Indeed, I would structure my undergraduate teaching around it. We need more volumes like this.
Stephen F. Teiser and Jacqueline I. Stone have done us a great service with this endeavor. The Lotus Sutra is arguably the most influential of all of the Mahayana sutras, and an understanding of it and its themes is essential to the study of East Asian Buddhist doctrine and practice. The contributors' previous scholarship on the subjects treated in these chapters has been excellent and is very well regarded in the field of Buddhist studies. While a considerable amount has been written in English on the Lotus Sutra, almost all of the existing work is pitched to upper-level students and other scholars. True to the mission of the series, this collection will give students the basic knowledge they need to read the text.
In English, an important hiatus remained before this volume: we had no good general critical work on the context, contents, and connotations of the Lotus Sutra and its most important doctrines and chapters. Particularly for students reading the text in translation, there was a marked absence of good secondary readings on the work with which to provide them. This volume goes a long way toward meeting that need.