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Sudden and Gradual (Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought)

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-8120808195
ISBN-10: 8120808193
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8120808193
  • ISBN-13: 978-8120808195
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,664,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book deserves more than the grudging review granted to date. It may not be everyones cup of tea, especially if seduced by simplistic accounts of 'pop Zen.' Make no mistake about it, the topic which forms the central focus of this book - viz. the tension between the claims made in the name of 'sudden enlightenment' - and the 'gradualist' elements which, ironically, seem to be required in other respects - to make practical sense of it, will engage anyone who takes Zen practice seriously. This problem engaged the attention of Tsung-mi, an eminent Chinese Ch'an Buddhist who lived in the formative years of the Ch'an/Zen tradition, when the ideas at stake were current and needed to be resolved. In a sense, those of us engaged with Zen in the West are in an analogous position, such issues therefore being much more than 'dead history.'

Peter Gregory edited the material provided by a number of contributors - and gave us the chapter dealing with Tsung-mi.

In my view, this was the strongest chapter of the whole book and would have made it worth buying, anyway. As it is, the other chapters have much to offer - and, all in all, this book repays careful reading. I list the chapter headings for reference. It gives you a better idea of what's in store. I don't propose to review all the material, but note the chapters that struck me as significant.

The Sudden and Gradual Debates

The Mirror of the Mind. Paul Demieville.

Sudden Illumination or Simultaneous Comprehension: Remarks on Chinese and Tibetan Terminology.@ R.A.Stein.

Purifying Gold.@The Metaphor of Effort and Intuition in Buddhist Thought and Practice.@ Luis O. Gomez.

Sudden and Gradual Enlightenment in Chinese Buddhism.
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