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The Lotus Sutra (Translations from the Asian Classics) Hardcover – July 8, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Translations from the Asian Classics
  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (July 8, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023108160X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231081603
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A third-century Mahayana text, this is used and revered in several traditions. It contains the essential teachings of Mahayana, stressing the doctrine of the transcendental nature of the Buddha, the ideal of the Boddhisattva, and the possibility of universal liberation.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Watson's felicitous rendition of "The Lotus Sutra" captures superbly well the literary essence of the Chinese text. Considering the manifold complexities and beauties of the work, this is a stunning achievement." -- Victor Mair

Customer Reviews

He was over the moon to receive it and is now reading it cover to cover.
Marjorie
The translation: Watson's translation of the Lotus Sutra is the most widely read version in English, and for laypeople it certainly deserves that distinction.
Christopher Culver
Buddhism is a beautiful, appealing religion (or philosophy, if you wish), worthy of deep study and consideration.
David Barnhardt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The translation: Watson's translation of the Lotus Sutra is the most widely read version in English, and for laypeople it certainly deserves that distinction. Watson's English flows well and manages to avoid overuse of Sanskrit words, although a few generally understood Sanskrit terms are used. The layout of the book is attractive, and the typeface is extremely readable. I found the glossary in the back helpful to understand some of the Buddhist jargon (both English and Sanskrit) used in the translation.
The sutra: The Lotus Sutra more than any other work is responsible for the distinctiveness of East Asian Buddhism. Its peculiar theme is the promolgation of Mahayana Buddhism by explaining the principle of the Dharmakaya and the Boddhisattva ideal, although in doing so it sometimes takes cheap shots at Theravada Buddhism. The Lotus Sutra contains some of the most enthalling stories in Mahayana Buddhism, such as Buddha's parable of the phantom city. Most interesting, in this reviewer's opinion, is Buddha's prophecy of enlightment for Devadatta. Regarded as Buddhism's version of Judas, Devadatta tried numerous times to kill the Buddha and cause schism in the sangha. By telling this prophecy of enlightenment for even the most notorious sinner in all of Buddhist thought, Buddha is saying that the fundamental principle of the Dharmakaya can reach even the most deluded person.
Essential for understanding Mahayana Buddhism, I would recommend this version of the Lotus Sutra to anyone interested in this variety of Buddhism.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This new translation of the most important scripture in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition has a special value. Not only is it reliable, but Burton Watson's rendition all but sings. Translated directly from the Chinese Kumarajiva version, regarded as the most historically legitimate version, this complete and straightforward Lotus Sutra is recommended for its accessibility and its seriousness of purpose.
Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature.
Conceived as a drama of colossal proportions, the text takes on new meaning in Burton Watson's translation. Depicting events in a cosmic world that transcends ordinary concepts of time and space, The Lotus Sutra presents abstract religious concepts in concrete terms and affirms that there is a single path to enlightenment--that of the bodhisattva--and that the Buddha is not to be limited by time and space. Filled with striking imagery, memorable parables, and countless revelations concerning the universal accessibility of Buddhahood, The Lotus Sutra has brought comfort and wisdom to devotees over the centuries and stands as a pivotal text in world literature.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Morrell on May 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Lotus Sutra, or Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma (J., Myohorengekyo, Hokkekyo), the preeminent scripture in the Mahayana Buddhism of East Asia -- China, Tibet, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam -- is known primarily through the translation into Chinese of the Sanskrit Saddharma-pundarika-sutra by Kumarajiva in CE 406. (This 28-chapter version differs in organization and presentation from the 27-chapter Sanskrit text translated into English by H. Kern in 1884, and still available for sale; the two versions should not be confused.)

Although Kumarajiva's Lotus Sutra has influenced all of Japanese Buddhism in one way or another, it is the basic scripture for the great medieval Tendai (C., T'ien T'ai) sect, as well as the later Nichiren sect and its offshoots, especially Soka Gakkai and Rissho Koseikai, all three of which emphasize recitation of the "Nam' myohorengekyo" formula." The Lotus is NOT included in the scriptural canon of Southern Buddhism (Theravada) in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and other areas of SE Asia.

The Lotus Sutra is basically a statement of philosophical principles and should not be approached as literary entertainment. Its message has serious implications - today probably more so than any time in past history. But the reading takes patience and serious, quiet rumination. Its message is that all sentient beings have the potential for attaining Buddhahood, but conceptual illusion prevents them from realizing that this is their essential nature. Out of compassion, the Buddha(s) employs many devices (Skillful Means/Expedients; hoben) accommodated to their specific needs, to assist them in seeing through this illusion. (The notion is expressed through most of the sutra's Seven Parables.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By "heidisilver" on July 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This translation of the most important scripture in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition has a special value. Not only is it reliable, but Burton Watson's rendition all but sings.
Translated directly from the Chinese Kumarajiva version, regarded as the most historically legitimate version, this complete and straightforward Lotus Sutra is recommended for its accessibility and its seriousness of purpose.
Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature.
Conceived as a drama of colossal proportions, the text takes on new meaning in Burton Watson's translation. Depicting events in a cosmic world that transcends ordinary concepts of time and space, The Lotus Sutra presents abstract religious concepts in concrete terms and affirms that there is a single path to enlightenment--that of the bodhisattva--and that the Buddha is not to be limited by time and space.
Filled with striking imagery, memorable parables, and countless revelations concerning the universal accessibility of Buddhahood, The Lotus Sutra has brought comfort and wisdom to devotees over the centuries and stands as a pivotal text in world literature.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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The Lotus Sutra (Translations from the Asian Classics)
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