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Buddhist Wisdom: The Diamond Sutra and The Heart Sutra Paperback – April 24, 2001


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Buddhist Wisdom: The Diamond Sutra and The Heart Sutra + The Analects of Confucius (Translations from the Asian Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375726004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375726002
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Frank Anderton on March 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am familiar with Edward Conze's translations and comments on the Diamond and Heart Sutras primarily through the 1958 edition of this work. First of all, these are scholarly translations and commentaries. The commentaries are logical and precise, as they need to be to get at the heart of the teaching, in particular, of the Heart Sutra. Conze states, correctly, that to understand the Heart Sutra one has to understand something about Abhidharma concepts. The Abhidharma texts represent early schools of thought in India regarding consciousness and read like a Sears catalog of psychological elements put into a moral context and including conditioned and unconditioned dharmas. The Heart Sutra is in part a response to Abhidharma; one which goes beyond it. Abhidharma is considered the "dry bones" of Zen for good reason. Nevertheless, there are equally good reasons why Shunryu Suzuki told his students at San Francisco Zen Center to study with Conze (advice which was followed). The Heart Sutra is such a pure and intense condensation of wisdom that the effort to understand it is repaid tenfold by even small glimpses of its meaning. It is paradoxical that the teaching of "form is emptiness, emptiness is form,"etc., is amenable to a logical approach, yet Conze is very effective at demonstrating that, at least for those of us who have not attained wisdom-that-goes-beyond (prajna), this is precisely the path to take. His analysis of the Sanskrit in the context of Buddhist logic unlocks a very fruitful path for following the meaning of the Heart Sutra. An openminded approach to Conze's translation and commentaries, applied with some determination and perseverance, is well worth the effort, both with the Diamond and the Heart Sutras, though perhaps more so with the latter.Read more ›
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Two of the most well-known of Buddha's Sutras, the "Diamond Sutra" and "the Heart Sutra", are explained clearly and succintly in this concise volumne. Edward Conze translates directly from the original Sanskrit with care and insight, skillfully combining deeply obtuse concepts with a gentle, sensitive rye sense of humor. The piercing brevity of "The Heart Sutra" is an astonishingly remarkable 'tool' for helping us to change our behavior. It affords an opportunity for those seeking to return to their origin, to see and to understand their True Heart which is unsurpasssable, Perfected Wisdom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gordo on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Buddhism is intellectual, requires a certain capability for open mindedness, yet simple and really straight.forward. Edward Conzes' translation of these two basic "teachings" of the Buddha are extremely well written providing the novice reader with a basic understanding of their meaning.

As with any area in the study of Buddhism, learning is best conducted in a formal teaching environment with a mentor,
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By Brian C. on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra are two of the central texts of Mahayana Buddhism (which includes Zen Buddhism). They can be quite difficult and unapproachable for the Westerner who is not well versed in Buddhist terminology and Buddhist dialectics. That is why a volume like this has a great deal of value. Conze presents translations of the sutras and, interspersed with the translations, he offers his commentary.

In Conze's commentary he explains terms that the the reader might not already be familiar with, as well as background theories (such as the Abidhamma theories) that the texts take for granted. All of that is extremely helpful for the Western reader. It is important to realize, however, what this book is not. It is not a popular treatise on Buddhism. The reader who is looking for a basic introduction to Buddhism or a practical guide to meditation techniques should look elsewhere. This is a scholarly translation and commentary on the sutras.

I happen to think that the spread of Buddhism to the West is one of the most important historical events of the last century. Traditional religious belief, which tends to be based on some notion of a transcendent absolute, has been under attack from science, which tends to be based on an immanent worldview. This conflict between religion and science is profound and producing real and violent effects in the world. This is a problem that is demanding a solution.

I think that the Buddhist dialectic between the absolute and relative is the best chance we have at a genuine reconciliation between our deep religious impulses and yearnings and the insights of modern science. Ultimate reality, according to these sutras, is not a dharma or a no-dharma.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tepi on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Diamond Sutra and The Heart Sutra are highly condensed and extremely profound Mahayana Buddhist texts that are by no means easy to understand. In attempting to read them it soon becomes apparent that the author or authors of these texts were scholastics thoroughly schooled in the intricacies of Indian Buddhist thought.

It also becomes clear that they must have been spiritual aristocrats, persons who had in fact achieved Enlightenment and who, though scholars, were writing from the point-of-view of the Enlightened. Given this, the texts present us with certain problems.

Edward Conze (1904-1979) has been called "the foremost Western scholar of the Prajnaparamita literature" and it seems to me that he has in this edition gone as far as it is possible for a scholar to go in explaining these difficult sutras to a modern audience. I also feel that his translations far surpass most others in their beauty.
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