"The Teaching of Buddha"

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Kim O'Hara
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"The Teaching of Buddha"

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:06 pm

I came across "The teaching of Buddha" on a book exchange shelf (amongst all the Danielle Steele and Clive Cussler novels - how on earth it got there I don't know!) and recognised it as the "Japanese Gideon's Bible", the scripture compilation which hotel guests find on their bedside tables. (See http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1621 ... _of_Buddha if you've never heard of it.)
I knew of it but didn't know it, so I took it home and read it. :reading: :reading:

I was quite impressed by it. It's readable and well organised (the major sections are Buddha - Dharma - Practice - The Brotherhood) and pleasingly non-sectarian (more on that in a minute). As I read, I recognised phrases and whole chunks of text. They were not especially marked off but I knew them as verses from the Dhammapada and various sutras, and when I got to the end I found an index listing sources for each section - and the whole text is a string of quotations from sutras: Mahaparinibbana, Avatamsaka, Suramgama, Lankavatara, Itivuttaka, MN, AN, Jatakas and many more.
Drawbacks? Some of the translations are a bit odd or clumsy - they really feel like translations from the Japanese, which is not ideal. And there's a lot of repetition - but then, most hotel guests wouldn't read the whole book straight through as I did, so repeating the essentials might help make sure everyone did see them.

Back to the 'non-sectarian' question: Amida Buddha and his Pure Land are given quite a lot of space, and the bodhisattva ideal gets a good mention, but the only times the reader is encouraged to go to a temple, a Zen temple is mentioned as though it is the only choice. Is this characteristic of Japanese Buddhism, or is it a quirk of the compilation or the charity which publishes the book?

:namaste:
Kim

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石正 Marcus
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Re: "The Teaching of Buddha"

Post by 石正 Marcus » Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:05 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Back to the 'non-sectarian' question: Amida Buddha and his Pure Land are given quite a lot of space, and the bodhisattva ideal gets a good mention, but the only times the reader is encouraged to go to a temple, a Zen temple is mentioned as though it is the only choice. Is this characteristic of Japanese Buddhism, or is it a quirk of the compilation or the charity which publishes the book?
Yes, the latter. The emphasis on Amida Buddha is because it comes from the Pure Land Jodo Shinshu tradition, though it doesn't promote any particular school of Buddhism. Wonderful book isn't it?!

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Re: "The Teaching of Buddha"

Post by Admin_PC » Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:16 pm

There's also the fact that Amitabha features pretty heavily in the Avatamsaka and Surangama Sutras that you mention that were quoted.

I think the Zen temple preference may be due to the fact that most westerners who became interested in Japanese Buddhism, became interested in Zen.
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法然上人

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