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Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitabha (Studies in East Asian Buddhism)

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0824825782
ISBN-10: 0824825780
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard K. Payne is dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Kenneth K. Tanaka is professor of Buddhist studies at Musashino Women's University, Tokyo.

Contributors: Daniel A. Getz, Jr.; Hank Glassman; Richard Jaffe; Charles B. Jones; Matthew T. Kapstein; Todd T. Lewis; Richard K. Payne; Fabio Rambelli; James H. Sanford; Jacqueline I. Stone.


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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in East Asian Buddhism (Book 17)
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824825780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824825782
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on August 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Usually when we think of Pure Land Buddhism, the exclusive sectarian movements in Japan pioneered by Honen and Shinran come to mind. And indeed these are prominent traditions, but "Approaching the Land of Bliss" amply demonstrates that they're not the whole story by a long shot. The focus of this book then is on other forms of religious belief and praxis focused on Amitabha/Amida Buddha and rebirth in his Pure Land, ones that may surprise us by not conforming to our usual images and characterizations of this aspect of Buddhism. The first surprise for me anyway was the very existence of Pure Land motifs in Tibet and Nepal, since usually such are presented as if particular only to East Asia (apparently the authors were initially taken by surprise as well). These motifs though tend to be non-sectarian, part and parcel of a larger encompassing program of Buddhist religiosity, which turns out to be mostly true also in Song Dynasty China and late 20th-century Taiwan--and, surprisingly, also in Japan itself once one gets beyond the Jodo and Jodo Shinshu Schools, which this book does in style.

Despite the wide range of articles, the quality is remarkably even, combining a reliably high caliber of scholarly expertise with reasonable readability. Each also contributes fully to the overall theme without feeling shoehorned in, the venial sin of many such a collection. One may not agree with the approach of every single article, of course, and in my case one selection seemed rather too anachronistically and dogmatically Leftist (not to mention overly reliant on the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin); still, there's not a one that's not thought-provoking and interesting, and not a one that doesn't challenge common assumptions in intriguing and compelling ways. Highly recommended.
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