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Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm Over Critical Buddhism

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0824819491
ISBN-10: 0824819497
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 548 pages
  • Publisher: Ateneo De Manila Univ Pr (February 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824819497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824819491
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,377,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a difficult book to review, because the primary issue at stake - the abuse or misuse of Buddhist doctrine does need to be addressed (viz. the substitution of nationalist or dubious self-serving agendas) - but, I question the wisdom of locating the problem in Buddhist doctrine per se, as Hakamaya Noriaki and Matsumoto Shiro would have it. Messrs Hakamaya and Matsumoto - have found a ready body of supporters in the halls of academia - and, the essays in this book are an attempt to put the issue in clearer perspective.

I would be happy if the problematic issue central to this book were simply an academic one - but, it isn't. If Hakayama and Matsumoto are right in their assumptions, there is a serious flaw running through our received perception of Mahayana and Zen Buddhism etc. - arguably the Buddhist schools which have been the most influencial in the West. In short, if Hakamaya and Matsumoto are correct, we have embodied a fallacious distortion of Buddhism.

Needless to say, this is a strong claim to make, and not everyone agrees with it. The essays by Sallie B. King, Peter Gregory, Yamabe Nobuyoshi et al. - go some way to revise the rather harsh strictures delivered by the 'Critical Buddhist' fraternity. Regrettably, the case made by Hakamaya, Matsumoto -amplified again by their supporters in this book, seems to have been based on generalisations - even a dogmatic refusal to see that the key terms in question (e.g. Dharmadhatu, Dhatu-vada, Tathagata-garbha, Hongaku etc.) - admit of alternative interpretations. Peter Gregory's carefully written chapter - 'Is Critical Buddhism Really Critical'? - fairly turns the tables on Hakamaya and Matsumoto, pointing out that their arguments are - paradoxically, a kind of 'substantialism' and thus self-defeating.
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Format: Paperback
Although Buddhist thought is ostensibly grounded in a refusal to admit the reality of underlying, permanent "essences," such as a self (atman), the Buddhist tradition has continually struggled against the re-emergence of atman-like concepts in other forms. This tendency has been noted in the context of the notions of Tathagatagarbha and Buddha-nature, which came to hold great sway in East Asian Buddhism. The question is, does the appearance of such concepts represent a real break from the orthodox Buddhist tradition? Or does the East Asian tradition possess its own paradigms that allow such concepts to operate in an acceptably Buddhist manner? The editors have here selected a number of articles by leading Buddhist scholars treating this issue from various angles--an unusual treat for scholars of Buddhist thought. Please read this work for yourself, and take the chance to form your own views on this seminal problematic Buddhist issue. by Charles Muller, author of "The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment
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By jiko on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
After reading this book, I understand what happened when I was at a Zendo. If you've had some problems with a Japanese teacher I would suggest that you try reading this book. Some of the Dharma is open for discussion, but the racism is very much present at zendos.
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