This book, compiled from basic Buddhist writings, presents a survey of Buddhist thought in India, China, and Japan, covering the central doctrines and practices that has profoundly influenced human life in Asia. Developments in practical ethics, social attitudes, philosophical speculation, and religious and aesthetic contemplation are represented by selected excerpts from basic writings with succinct introductions and commentary. From these one may observe not only the remarkable vitality of Buddhism in its spread through Asia, but also the essential links between widely diverse forms, showing how the spiritual message of the Buddha found expression in different historical and cultural circumstances. Thus both its continuity in time and its wide range of influence mark Buddhism as a major spiritual force in the world. Buddha, as the Awakened One, has exemplified to millions of followers throughout the ages a living Truth, a dynamic wisdom and an active compassion. It is these qualities that have inspired hop and courage in men who were asked to face to the stark reality of man's condition: the inevitable involvement in suffering which arises from his persistent egoism and refusal to recognize his finitude.
The perfect companion to courses in Asian civilization and culture, Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics provides nonspecialists with essential background on frequently assigned texts. With essays addressing foundational materials in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese traditions, including Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, and early modern fictional classics up to the seventeenth century, this guide works in any classroom and with readers at all levels. It demonstrates the particular link between each text and its tradition and proves the global relevance of Asian classics to the humanities at large. Wm. Theodore de Bary combines reprinted and original essays on texts that have survived for centuries, if not millennia, through avid questioning and contestation. Recognized as perennial reflections on life and society, these works represent diverse historical periods and cultures and include the Laozi, the Xunxi, the Lotus Sutra, Tang poetry, the Pillow Book, The Tale of Genji, and the writings of Mencius, Chikamatsu, and Kaibara Ekken. Contributors explain the central and most commonly understood aspects of these works and how they operate within their traditions. They trace their reach and reinvention over the centuries and identify their ongoing value to modern life. With fresh interpretations of familiar readings, these essays inspire renewed appreciation and examination. In the case of some classics open to multiple interpretation, the guide features two complementary essays from different contributors. Expanding on debates concerning the challenges of teaching classics in the twenty-first century, several pieces speak to the value of Asia in the core curriculum and the necessity of reinforcing the significance of such works as the Analects. Indispensable for early scholarship on Asia and the development of global civilization, Finding Wisdom helps readers master the major texts of human thought.
This book, compiled from basic Hindu writings, is an exploration of the essential meaning of the Hindu tradition, the way of thinking and acting that has dominated life in India for the last three thousand years. Selections from religious, literary and philosophic works are preceded by introductory material that summarizes historical developments and cultural movements. While much attention is given to religion, many selections deal with social life, political relationships, and the Indian attitude to human love and passion. The arrangement of the material suggests the growth and development of Indian life through the centuries, and makes clear that Indian culture has never been static, but rather has been characterized at all times by a remarkable vitality and creativity.The selections range in time from the Rig Veda, composed around 1000 B.C., to the writings of Radhakrishnan, formerly the President of India. They illustrate both the continuity of the Hindu tradition and its vitality, for Hinduism is probably more vibrant and alive at the present time than it has been for many centuries. The ideals and values, the unquestioned assumptions and the persistent doubts that are presented here from the literature of the past are the fundamental ingredients of the life of modern India.From the Paperback edition.
"Sources of Japanese Tradition is part of a series introducing the civilizations of India, China, Korea, and Japan to general education, through source readings that tell us what these peoples have thought about themselves, the world they lived in, and the problems they faced living together."-Preface
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