Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Samadhi of direct encounter with the Buddhas of the present
Anyone who is serious about Pure Land studies must have this title. Not only is this book one of the foundation texts used in China to begin and resurgence of Pure Land Buddhism from India, it is incredibly detailed for visual meditations to actually view the Pure Lands, Buddha's, and Bodhisattvas. Another key teaching point that expands this above the two normal Pure Land Shoter and Longer Sukhavativyuha Sutras is the basis of moral teachings to set up guidelines for sangha practice and foundations, almost like the Theravada Vinaya
This tomb is vastly more complicated than the shorter/longer sutras but is much more detailed on personal practice and moral obligations as a follower of the Dharma where as many pure land schools pass over this very basic principle for the more simplified and less academic practice. Faith alone is a foundations but more from the basis of a school and lineage teachings, not the Buddha's. Faith needs a vehicle and this sutra grants that availability of scripture to create and full pure land practice without any holes or worse, personal interpretation of what to do in this "branch" of Buddhism.
This sutra also sets up the practice for solitary students that wish to be as intense as they could ever hope to be. All levels are accomplished through this teaching. Even as Pure Land priest myself, I found this more unrecognized sutra as the most complete sutra on Pure Land I have ever read.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism to the Trikaya Theory
This book presents an analysis of one of the fundamental Mahayana Buddhist teachings, namely the three bodies of the Buddha (the Trikaya Theory), which is considered the foundation of Mahayana philosophy. The author examines how and why from the historical human buddha the philosophical concept of three bodies was formed, particularly the Sambhogakaya, which is the Buddha to be worshipped by all Mayahanists. This work is an outstanding research text for students and scholars of Mayahana Buddhism and anyone interested in Buddhist philosophy.
Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book
The very idea that the teachings of meditation can be mastered will arouse controversy within Buddhist circles. Even so, Ingram insists that enlightenment is an attainable goal, once our fanciful notions of it are stripped away, and we have learned to use meditation as a method for examining reality rather than an opportunity to wallow in “self-absorbed mindnoise”.
Ingram sets out concisely the difference between concentration-based and insight (vipassana) meditation; he provides example practices; and most importantly he presents detailed maps of the states of mind we are likely to encounter, and the stages we must negotiate as we move through clearly-defined cycles of insight. It’s easy to feel overawed, at first, by Ingram’s assurance and ease in the higher levels of consciousness, but consistently he writes as a down-to-earth and compassionate guide—to the practitioner willing to commit themselves this is a glittering gift of a book.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud - Sun Shuyun
10,000 miles without a cloud, is a Buddhist saying. It signifies the search for a mind clear of doubts: a perfect title for this remarkable book on a journey of discovery and faith. Son Shuyun grew up in China during the dark night of the Cultural Revolution, when it was more important to learn the right attitudes than to study. Her father was an ardent communist and a veteran of the Long March, her grandmother (with whom she shared a room) a Buddhist. By the time Sun Shuyun reached university, she had witnessed the bitter disillusionment of both her father - for whom Mao's brand of communism had failed to deliver on its promises - and her classmates. Scarcely surprising then, given the influence of her grandmother, that she turned to Buddhism for inspiration, and specifically to Xuanzang, a true Chinese hero waiting to be rediscovered. Xuanzang lived in the seventh century AD - a golden period in Chinese history. He was a man of extraordinary qualities, who travelled from China through Central Asia to India in search of enlightenment. Sun Shuyun set out to discover what gave Xuanzang such phenomenal strength and purpose and, above all, to find a faith for herself, a faith that could replace the false god of communism. In retracing Xuanzang's steps, Sun Shuyun makes a journey, both literal and metaphorical, through four landscapes - historical, cultural, spiritual and personal. In so doing, she presents us with a vivid and fascinating insight into China and its people, past and present. Though sparsely illustrated, this is a book whose rich, descriptive language is marvellously evocative. Moving and original, it is both a fine introduction to Chinese Buddhism, and an extraordinary voyage of the soul
Cave in the Snow (2002)
This documentary is based on Vicky MacKenzie’s book Cave in the Snow, and features Diane Perry, born in 1946 in England. Ever since she was a child, she wanted to find truth. At 21, she became a Buddhist nun in India, where she was given the name Tenzin Palmo. She lived for 12 years in a cave high up in the Himalayas, in a lonely retreat. In the film she clearly explains the importance of such retreats. She is now working to establish a monastery for nuns in India, where the nuns will be able to receive the highest education, which for cultural reasons has only been available to men in many Buddhist traditions. She has the full support of her teacher Khamtrul Rinpoche and HH the Dalai Lama in this work. In order to make her mission a reality, this woman who has spent so many years alone in retreat, is travelling around the world to raise funds for the monastery and to teach thousands of followers and other interested people.
Streaming (Bring your Microscope)