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Inquiry Into the Origin of Humanity: An Annotated Translation of Tsung-Mi's Yuan Jen Lun with a Modern Commentary (Classics in East Asian Buddhism) Paperback – November 1, 1995

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Inquiry Into the Origin of Humanity: An Annotated Translation of Tsung-Mi's Yuan Jen Lun with a Modern Commentary (Classics in East Asian Buddhism) + In Search of the Dharma: Memoirs of a Modern Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim (SUNY Series in Buddhist Studies) (Suny Series, Buddhist Studies)
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Product Details

  • Series: Classics in East Asian Buddhism
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; Text is Free of Markings edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824817648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824817640
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,892,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Wonderwheel on July 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Review of "Inquiry Into the Origin of Humanity", translated with commentary by Peter N. Gregory.

Peter Gregory's book, "Inquiry Into the Origin of Humanity", has a wealth of information about the Buddhist and Chinese cultural context in which Guifeng Zongmi (Gregory uses the Wade-Giles form Kuei-feng Tsung-mi)(780-841) wrote his famous treatise. As truth in advertising, Gregory informs the reader that the book is intended for college students already acquainted with Buddhism or Chinese thought and for scholars of other fields. His goal is to use the framework of Zongmi's treatise to construct a general introduction to Chinese Buddhist thought. As such, Gregory generally succeeds in his aim of presenting explanatory material to the academically minded interested in Buddhism. Though not intended for those with no background in either Buddhism or Chinese thought, I think Gregory's commentary gives even those unacquainted with Buddhism enough context to feel moderately oriented.

Gregory's forte is in providing references and quotes from other texts, especially those by Zongmi and the classics of Confucian and Taoist schools, which relate to Zongmi's text. Yet, however well Gregory meets his aim of providing a contextual introduction to Chinese Buddhism, the reader should be aware that Gregory is, after all, an academic scholar whose frame of reference appears confined to the academy. For all of Gregory's many and insightful connections between texts, Gregory's overall result is that he misses the forest for focusing on the trees. His greatest error is that he fails to see that the essence and purpose of Zongmi's work is to present a manifesto of One Vehicle (Ekayana) Buddhism.
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