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A Buddhist Bible Paperback – June 23, 2011
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About the Author
One American who attempted to establish an American Buddhist movement was Dwight Goddard (1861–1939). Goddard was a Christian missionary to China when he first came in contact with Buddhism. In 1928, he spent a year living in a Zen monastery in Japan. In 1934, he founded "The Followers of Buddha, an American Brotherhood," with the goal of applying the traditional monastic structure of Buddhism more strictly than Senzaki and Sokei-an had previously. The group was largely unsuccessful, as no Americans were recruited to join as monks and attempts failed to attract a Chinese Chan (Zen) master to come to the United States. However, Goddard's efforts as an author and publisher bore considerable fruit: in 1930, he began publishing ZEN: A Buddhist Magazine. In 1932, he collaborated with D. T. Suzuki on a translation of the Lankavatara Sutra. That same year, he published the first edition of A Buddhist Bible," an anthology of Buddhist scriptures focusing on those used in Chinese and Japanese Zen. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was first published in 1938(!) when there was nothing quite like it. There is Still nothing like it. Despite the tsunami of Buddhist publishing over the last seven decades, many of the dated translations found here are still in print separately with prettier covers.
This is surprising at first; but when you think about it... The Sutras are not exactly the most riveting reading. In East Asian monasteries the Sutras were monotonously chanted like endless mantras, often in a language that was difficult or impossible for the monks to understand. In the West people are happy to read all kinds of books on Buddhism: except the Sutras - which are meant to be where you Start from.
The selections from Tibetan and Theravada (South-East Asian) Buddhism can be ignored: so many excellent texts and compilations have now been translated from these sources.
So it's mainly for those interested in Zen. ( I know, the Zen Masters said, Burn the Sutras, but, you know, they Said stuff like that. If you're going to take Everything that people tell you literally...) Most Sutras important to Zen are in here: the triple-distilled Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Lankâvatâra-Sûtra, the Shûrangama-Sûtra, the Sutra of Hui-Neng.
You really should read the Sutras. Yes, they're as dry as talcum powder and at times you feel you're going to scream if you have to read through one more mind-numbing litany of repetitions. Part philosophical text, part meditation guide, part visionary narrative, they are unique creations, and the effort it takes to read them is intrinsic.
You'll also find some interesting meditation texts and the important "Awakening of Faith in the Mahâyâna". Though it creaks with age and is unsatisfactory in several ways, there is nothing even resembling a substitute for this book.