Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Life of Buddhism - Frank Reynolds, Jason A. Carbine

The Life of Buddhism - Frank Reynolds, Jason A. Carbine

Bringing together fifteen essays by outstanding Buddhist scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America, this book offers a distinctive portrayal of the "life of Buddhism." The contributors focus on a number of religious practices across the Buddhist world, from Sri Lanka to New York, Japan to Tibet. The essays highlight not so much Buddhist doctrine or sacred texts, but rather the actual behavior and lived experience of Buddhist adherents.

A general introduction by Frank E. Reynolds and Jason A. Carbine provides a historical overview and briefly characterizes the three major variants of Buddhist tradition--the Hinayana/Theravada branch practiced in Sri Lanka and much of Southeast Asia; the Mahayana branch located most notably in East Asia; and the Vajrayana/Esoteric branch established in Tibet and Japan. It also takes note of a distinctive form of Buddhism that is now emerging among non-Asian practitioners in the West. The editors introduce each essay with a brief commentary that situates its contents within the Buddhist tradition as a whole.

The pieces offer concise depictions and analyses of particular aspects of Buddhist life, including temple architecture and iconography, the consecration of sacred objects, meditative practices, devotional expressions, exorcisms, and pilgrimage journeys. Topics discussed also include the construction of religio-political and religio-social hierarchies, gender roles, the management of asocial behavior, and confrontations with dying and death.

Includes: Creating and Disseminating the Sacred by Donald K.Swearer; a View of Temple Life and Practice by James Bissett Pratt; a Tooth Relic and the Legitimation of Power by Juliane Schober; Bun Phraawes by S.J. Tambiah; Ordination in the Chogye Order by Robert Buswell; Theravada Religious Women by Hiroko Kawanami; a Morning Star Meditation by Taiko Yamasaki; the Biography of a Nun by Hanna Havnevik; the Cremation of a Senior Monk by Charles F.Keyes; Lay Praxis in a Mahayana Context by Holmes Welch; Buddhist Secular Law: Doctrines in Context by Rebecca Redwood French; Yaktovil: the Role of the Buddha and Dhamma by Jason A.Carbine; a New Theravadin Liturgy by Richard Gombrich; Memorizing One's Mizuko by William LaFleur; and Transmitting the Dharma by Phillip Kapleau.


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