Synopses & Reviews
Part of the "Religious Life in History Series," this comprehensive anthology provides translations of texts illustrative of Buddhist philosophy and doctrine as well as descriptive, concrete accounts of Buddhist practices, rituals, and experiences. Author John Strong gives careful consideration to many key aspects of the religion in a wide range of geographic and cultural arenas, from Asia to the United States, and gives students a sense of Buddhism's historical evolution in each area. In addition, this new edition of THE EXPERIENCE OF BUDDHISM uniquely offers students a list of pertinent bibliographic suggestions after each reading, giving them the opportunity to both enhance their understanding of the material and streamline their research and paper-writing process.
Todd Lewis, College of the Holy Cross: "I like this text and use it. It is skillful and insightful in trying not to fall into old nonsense and has brought important texts into discussion".
About the Author
John S. Strong is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Religion at Bates College. He received an M.A. from Hartford Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His research and teaching focuses on the History of Religions, Asian Religions, and Buddhist Studies.
Table of Contents
Preface. Part One: The Experience of Buddhism in South Asia. 1. The Life Story of the Buddha and its Ramifications. 1.1 The Eight Commemorative Shrines. 1.2 A Royal Pilgrim Retraces the Life of the Buddha. 1.3 The Great Departure and Enlightenment. 1.4 Remembering Past Lives. 1.4.1 Planting the Seeds of the Buddhahood. 1.4.2 The Last Past Life: The Story of Vessantara. 1.5 Viewing the Cosmos. 1.5.1 The Hierarchy of Beings. 1.5.2 Karma and the Six Realms of Rebirth. 1.6 Realizing the Four Noble Truths. 1.7 The "Death" and Parinirvana of the Buddha. 1.8 A Story of a Buddha Image. 1.9 The Future of Buddha Maitreya. 2. The Experience of the Sangha. 2.1 Tales of Conversion. 2.1.1 The First Disciples of the Buddha. 2.1.2 The Laywoman Sujata. 2.1.3 The Conversion of Sariputra and Maudgalyayana. 2.1.4 The Acceptance of Women into the Order. 2.1.5 The Conversion of Patacara. 2.1.6 The Conversion of a Lynch Mob. 2.2 Rites of Passage. 2.2.1 Passage Denied: The Naga Who Tried to Become a Monk. 2.2.2 Passage Achieved: Joining the Order. 2.3 The Regulation of the Sangha. 2.3.1 Recitation of the Rules. 2.3.2 The Interpretation of the Rules. 2.3.3 Rules and Right Attitudes. 2.4 Sangha Situations. 2.4.1 Nagasena Disobeys His Master and Preaches to a Layman. 2.4.2 Walls Make Good Neighbors. 2.4.3 The Community at Kitagiri. 2.5 The Laity and the Sangha: Commonalities and Differences. 2.5.1 Why Not Remain a Layperson? 2.5.2 Meditation in the Midst of Daily Life. 2.5.3 Making and Sharing Merit. 2.5.4 Mohamaudgalyayama Brings About the Conversion of His Mother. 2.6 Buddhism and the State: The King and the Community. 2.6.1 The Two Wheels of Dharma: A Parable. 2.6.2 King Udena and the Elder Pindola. 2.6.3 Some Edicts of Asoka. 3. The Dharma: Some Perspectives of Mainstream Buddhism. 3.1 Preliminaries: The Loss and Preservation of the Dharma. 3.2 Suffering, Impermanence, and No-Self. 3.2.1 Impermanence. 3.2.2 Milinda and the Chariot. 3.2.3 Vajira's Reply to the Mara. 3.2.4 The Buddha's Silence. 3.2.5 Channa Is Taught the Middle Way. 3.2.6 The Man Who Lost His Body. 3.3 The Arising Suffering. 3.3.1 Interdependent Origination. 3.3.2 The Evolution of the World. 3.4 The Cessation of Suffering. 3.4.1 Nirvana, Nirvana. 3.4.2 Milinda Asks About Nirvana. 3.4.3 The Attainment of Two Arhats. 3.5 The Path. 3.5.1 The Refuges and the Precepts. 3.5.2 Moral Conduct of Monks. 3.5.3 Sayings On the Path. 3.5.4 Mindfulness. 3.5.5 The Practice of Meditation. 3.5.6 How to Walk on Water and Fly Through the Air. 3.5.7 The Trance of Cessation. 3.6 Doctrinal Issues. 3.6.1 A Theravadin Claim to Orthodoxy. 3.6.2 The Sarvastivadins on Time. 3.6.3 The Mahasamghikas on the Buddha. 4. The Dharma: Some Mahayana Perspectives. 4.1 Preliminary: The Parable of the Burning House. 4.2 Basic Perspectives: The Perfection of Wisdom. 4.2.1 Rahulabhadra's Verses in Praise of Perfect Wisdom. 4.2.2 The Heart Sutra. 4.2.3 The Perfection of Wisdom and the Middle Way. 4.3 Philosophical Formulations. 4.3.1 Nagarjuna: Verses on the Noble Truths and on Nirvana. 4.3.2 The Ongoing Dialectic. 4.3.3 Vasubandhu: Types of Consciousness. 4.3.4 In Praise of the Bodies of the Buddha. 4.3.5 Queen Srimala Explains the Womb of the Tathagata. 4.3.6 Sudhana's Vision of the Cosmos. 4.4 The Bodhisattva Path. 4.4.1 The Necessity of Compassion. 4.4.2 Developing the Thought of Enlightenment. 4.4.3 The Practice of the Perfections. 4.4.4 The Skillful Menas of Vimalakirti. 5. Saviors and Siddhas: The Mahayana Pantheon and Tantric Buddhism. 5.1 The Life Span of the Tathgata. 5.2 Savior Bodhisattvas. 5.2.1 The Compassion of Avalokitesvara. 5.2.2 The Multiple Forms of Tara. 5.2.3 Samantabhadra and the Reciters of the Lotus Sutra. 5.3 Savior Texts. 5.4 Celestial Buddhas and Pure Lands. 5.4.1 Amitabha and His Pure Land. 5.4.2 The Twelve Vows of the Healing Buddha. 5.4.3 How to Be Reborn in Aksobhya's Land. 5.5 Tantric Buddhism or the Vajrayana. 5.5.2 The Perfection of Nonduality. 5.5.2 Worship in a Tantric Context. 5.5.4 The Mediator Becomes the God. 5.5.5 Offering the World-Mandala to One's Guru. 5.5.6 Songs of a Mad Saint. 5.5.7 The Story of the Yogini Manibhadra. Part Two: The Development of Buddhism Outside India. 6. Buddhists and the Practice of Buddhism: Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. 6.1 Mythic Histories. 6.1.1 The Buddha's Visit to Sri Lanka and the Conversion of King Tissa. 6.1.2 The Relic at Harpunjaya. 6.2 Interactions and Syncretism: Buddhism and the Worship of the Phi at a Festival in Laos. 6.3 Divisional Issues. 6.3.1 Practice Versus Study. 6.3.2 The Great Robes Controversy. 6.4 Regulation and Reform: The Efforts of King Parakramabahu. 6.5 Rituals and Festivals. 6.5.1 The Funeral of a Northern Thai Saint. 6.5.2 A Festival of Relics in Phnom Penh. 6.5.3 Magical Rites: The Chanting of Pirit. 6.6 Meditational Endeavors: Visualizing the Victor's Cage. 6.7 Women and the Sangha: A Twentieth-Century Case. 6.8 Sangha and Society. 6.8.1 Monks and Money. 6.8.2 Leaving the Sangha. 6.8.3 Monks and Politics: The Views of Walpola Rahula. 7. Buddhists and the Practice of Buddhism: The Tibetan Cultural Area. 7.1 Mythic History: Subduing the Demons of Tibet. 7.2 Interactions and Syncretism: Buddhism, Shamanism, and Bon in Nepal. 7.3 Divisional Issues: Sudden Versus Gradual Enlightenment. 7.4 Regulation and Reform: The Efforts of Atisa. 7.5 Rituals and Festivals. 7.5.1 Pilgrimage to Mount Kailasa. 7.5.2 Magical Rites: Casting Spells. 7.6 Meditational Endeavors: Milarepa's Quest. 7.7 Women and the Sangha: The Abbeses of Samding and Ani Lochen. 7.8 Sangha and Society. 7.8.1 Dalai Lamas, Regents, China, and Tibet. 7.8.2 Life at Drepung Monastery. 7.8.3 A Monk and a Beggar. 8. Buddhists and the Practice of Buddhism: China. 8.1 Mythic History: The First Monk, the First Temple and the Emperor Ming. 8.2 Interactions and Syncretism: Buddhism and Filial Piety. 8.3 Divisional Issues: Do All Beings Have the Buddha-Nature? 8.4 Regulation and Reform: An Apocryphal Monastic Code. 8.5 Rituals and Festivals: Ordination at Pao-hua Shan. 8.6 Meditational Endeavors. 8.6.1 The Platform Sutra on Meditation and Wisdom. 8.6.2 Constantly Sitting and Constantly Walking. 8.7 Women and the Sangha. 8.7.1 The Arrival of the Sri Lankan Nuns. 8.7.2 The Legend of Miao-shan. 8.7.3 A Buddhist Attack on Sexism. 8.8 Sangha and Society: The Commercialization of Services. 9. Buddhists and the Practice of Buddhism: Japan. 9.1 Mythic History: The Legend of Prince Shotoku. 9.2 Interactions and Syncretism: The Monk Myoe Visits a Shinto Shrine. 9.3 Divisional Issues: The Recitation of Amida's Name, Once or Many Times. 9.4 Regulation and Reform: Saicho's Deathbed Admonitions. 9.5 Rituals and Festivals: Rites in Tenth-Century Japan. 9.6 Meditational Endeavors: Koans and Hakuins First Satori. 9.7 Women and the Sangha: Nichiren on Chanting and Menstruation. 9.8 Sangha and Society. 9.8.1 "Dear Abbot" Letters from Heian Japan. 9.8.2 Monks and Marriage in Korea. 10. Buddhists and the Practice of Buddhism: The West. 10.1 Mythic Histories. 10.1.1 Smokey the Bear Sutra. 10.1.2 Huck and Tom's Buddhist Adventure. 10.2 Interactions and Syncretism: The Experience of a Jewish-Buddhist. 10.3 Divisional Issues: The Question of Rebirth. 10.4 Regulation and Reform: Towards an Androgynous Reconstruction of Buddhism. 10.5 Rites and Festivals: The Buddha's Birthday in Los Angeles. 10.6 Meditational Endeavors. 10.6.1 Telephone Mindfulness. 10.6.2 A Guided Meditation. 10.7 Women and the Sangha: Living as a Nun in the West. 10.8 Sangha and Society: Engaged Buddhists in California.