Bhaddā was a true original. An ascetic, a philosopher, and a murderer, who became one of the best-loved of all the bhikkhunis. Here is a vivid re-imagining of her story: a Buddhist nun like you’ve never seen before.
The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is the most influential scripture in Buddhist meditation. It is the foundation text for the modern schools of ‘vipassanā’ or ‘insight’ meditation. The well-known Pali discourse is, however, only one of many early Buddhist texts that deal with mindfulness. This is the first full-scale study to encompass all extant versions of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, taking into account the dynamic evolution of the Buddhist scriptures and the broader Indian meditative culture. A new vision emerges from this groundbreaking study: mindfulness is not a system of ‘dry insight’ but is the ‘way to convergence’ leading the mind to deep states of peace.
Why are there so many schools of Buddhism? Are the differences just cultural, or do they have fundamentally different visions of Dhamma? This work assesses the claims of the traditions, and takes into account to findings of modern scholarship. It pays special attention to the origins of the monastic orders. If we are to understand the differences, and sometimes tensions, between the schools of Buddhism today, we must examine more closely the forces that spurred their formation.
Enchanting, powerful, horrific, beautiful, wise, deadly, compassionate, seductive. Women in Buddhist story and image are all these things and more. She takes the signs of the ancient goddess – the lotus, the sacred grove, the serpent, the sacrifice – and uses them in astonishing new ways. Her story is one of suffering and great trials, and through it all an unquenchable longing to be free. This beautifully illustrated work is as layered and subversive as mythology itself. Based directly on authentic Buddhist texts, and informed with insights from psychology and comparative mythology, it takes a fresh look at how Buddhist women have been depicted by men and how they have depicted themselves.
Serenity and insight are the two great wings of Buddhist meditation. They each have a special role to play in the path to Awakening. While some modern approaches seek to marginalize serenity in favor of ‘dry’ insight, the Buddha’s own discourses place serenity right at the center of the path. This book collects virtually all the significant passages on this topic that are found in the early discourses, carefully elucidated for the modern reader.
Although historically marginalized, Buddhist nuns are taking their place in modern Buddhism. Like the monks, Buddhist nuns live by an ancient system of monastic law, the Vinaya. This work investigates various areas of uncertainty and controversy in how the Vinaya is to be understood and applied today.
Generations of scholars, from the inception of the modern study of Buddhism, have established a long-lasting and relatively stable consensus regarding the texts and history of early Buddhism. While inevitably subject to the usual kinds of uncertainty, incompleteness, and evolution, this consensus has provided a framework for the positive development of our understanding of the Buddha, his teachings, and his community. This consensus has been challenged by the prominent Amercian academic, Gregory Schopen. His essays have been the most influential reassessment in the history of Buddhist studies. Many of his ideas are regarded as virtually canonical in modern academia, and have permeated far beyond the normal reach of Buddhist academic work. However, his arguments are far better regarded among non-specialists than among those who actually study early Buddhism. This essay shows a number of flaws and problems with Schopen’s work on early Buddhism, by implication supporting the traditional consensus.
Devadatta is depicted as the archetypal villain in all Buddhist traditions. Reginald Ray has argued for a radical reassessment of Devadatta as a forest saint who was unfairly maligned in later monastic Buddhism. His work has been influential, but it relies on omissions and mistaken readings of the sources. Ray’s claim that ‘there is no overlap between the Mahāsaṅghika treatment [of Devadatta] and that of the five [Sthavira] schools’ is untrue. On the contrary, the manner in which Devadatta is depicted in the Mahāsaṅghika is broadly similar to the Sthavira accounts. Such differences as do exist are literary rather than doctrinal. The stories of Devadatta’s depravity became increasingly lurid in later Buddhism, but this is a normal feature of the mythologizing process, and has nothing to do with any antagonism against forest ascetics. In any case, the early sources are unanimous in condemning Devadatta as the instigator of the first schism in the Buddhist community.
Below I offer two translations of the standard passage on the seven awakening-factors. These passages occur in the suttas translated in the BSR. In both cases, however, the translators seem not to have recognized this very common passage – an indication of the problems with the text. In the second version, indeed, the omission of ‘energy’ …
The Ekottara Agama (EA) is one of the major collections of early Buddhist discourses. Although it was originally written in an Indian language, today this collection only survives in a Chinese translation made by Gautama Sanghadeva between 397 and 398 and called 增壹阿含經 (zeng-yi ah-han jing, T 125). The Ekottara Agama is so-called because it is organized …