From Karma to the Four Noble Truths, Your Guide to Understanding the Principles of Buddhism
Author: Arnie Kozak
Pubpsher: Simon and Schuster
"Learn everything you need to know about Buddhism in this clear and straightforward new guide. This book highlights and explains the central concepts of Buddhism to the modern reader, with information on mindfulness, karma, The Four Noble Truths, the Middle Way, and more"--
"Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism" gives a new perspective on contemporary Japanese Zen Buddhism. Ideas, ritual practices, temples and interactions between the clergy, the laity and the institution are investigated as living representations of a unique and yet common Japanese religion.
History, Semiology, and Transgression in the Indian Traditions
Author: Christian K. Wedemeyer
Pubpsher: Columbia University Press
Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism fundamentally rethinks the nature of the transgressive theories and practices of the Buddhist Tantric traditions, challenging the notion that the Tantras were "marginal" or primitive and situating them instead—both ideologically and institutionally—within larger trends in mainstream Buddhist and Indian culture. Critically surveying prior scholarship, Wedemeyer exposes the fallacies of attributing Tantric transgression to either the passions of lusty monks, primitive tribal rites, or slavish imitation of Saiva traditions. Through comparative analysis of modern historical narratives—that depict Tantrism as a degenerate form of Buddhism, a primal religious undercurrent, or medieval ritualism—he likewise demonstrates these to be stock patterns in the European historical imagination. Through close analysis of primary sources, Wedemeyer reveals the lived world of Tantric Buddhism as largely continuous with the Indian religious mainstream and deploys contemporary methods of semiotic and structural analysis to make sense of its seemingly repellent and immoral injunctions. Innovative, semiological readings of the influential Guhyasamaja Tantra underscore the text's overriding concern with purity, pollution, and transcendent insight—issues shared by all Indic religions—and a large-scale, quantitative study of Tantric literature shows its radical antinomianism to be a highly managed ritual observance restricted to a sacerdotal elite. These insights into Tantric scripture and ritual clarify the continuities between South Asian Tantrism and broader currents in Indian religion, illustrating how thoroughly these "radical" communities were integrated into the intellectual, institutional, and social structures of South Asian Buddhism.
David Webster explores the notion of desire as found in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Beginning by addressing the idea of a 'paradox of desire', whereby we must desire to end desire, the varieties of desire that are articulated in the Pali texts are examined. A range of views of desire, as found in Western thought, are presented as well as Hindu and Jain approaches. An exploration of the concept of ditthi(view or opinion) is also provided, exploring the way in which 'holding views' can be seen as analogous to the process of desiring. Other subjects investigated include the mind-body relationship, the range of Pali terms for desire, and desire's positive spiritual value. A comparative exploration of the various approaches completes the work.
A founding member of the Theosophical Society, and perhaps the first well-known European to convert to Buddhism, Henry Steel Olcott made a lasting contribution with his Buddhist Catechism of 1881. Seeing Buddhism with a Westernized scientific eye, the work is given in the same question and answer structure used in the Christian Catechism. David McMahan wrote of Olcott that he "allied Buddhism with scientific rationalism in implicit criticism of orthodox Christianity, but went well beyond the tenets of conventional science in extrapolating from the Romantic and Transcendentalist influenced 'occult sciences' of the nineteenth century."