OBC Connect

A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 
 

 More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 67
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring   Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:56 am

FATHERING YOUR FATHER: The Zen of Fabrication in Tang Buddhism by Alan Cole –

This book offers a provocative rereading of the early history of Chan Buddhism (Zen). Working from a history-of-religions point of view that asks how and why certain literary tropes were chosen to depict the essence of the Buddhist tradition to Chinese readers, this analysis focuses on the narrative logics of the early Chan genealogies--the seventh-and eighth-century lineage texts that claimed that certain high-profile Chinese men were descendants of Bodhidharma and the Buddha.

This book argues that early Chan's image of the perfect-master-who-owns-tradition was constructed for reasons that have little to do with Buddhist practice, new styles of enlightened wisdom, or "orthodoxy," and much more to do with politics, property, geography, and, of course, new forms of writing.

THE MYSTIQUE OF TRANSMISSION: On an Early Chan History and Its Context by Wendi L. Adamek

free download here -- http://58.192.114.227/humanities/sociology/htmledit/uploadfile/system/20101006/20101006004433246.pdf.

The Mystique of Transmission is a close reading of a late-eighth-century Chan/Zen Buddhist hagiographical work, the Lidai fabao ji ( Record of the Dharma-Jewel Through the Generations), and is its first English translation. The text is the only remaining relic of the little-known Bao Tang Chan school of Sichuan, and combines a sectarian history of Buddhism and Chan in China with an account of the eighth-century Chan master Wuzhu in Sichuan.

Chinese religions scholar Wendi Adamek compares the Lidai fabao ji with other sources from the fourth through eighth centuries, chronicling changes in the doctrines and practices involved in transmitting medieval Chinese Buddhist teachings. While Adamek is concerned with familiar Chan themes like patriarchal genealogies and the ideology of sudden enlightenment, she also highlights topics that make Lidai fabao ji distinctive: formless practice, the inclusion of female practitioners, the influence of Daoist metaphysics, and connections with early Tibetan Buddhism.

The Lidai fabao ji was unearthed in the early twentieth century in the Mogao caves at the Silk Road oasis of Dunhuang in northwestern China. Discovery of the Dunhuang manuscripts has been compared with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as these documents have radically changed our understanding of medieval China and Buddhism. A crucial volume for students and scholars, The Mystique of Transmission offers a rare glimpse of a lost world and fills an important gap in the timeline of Chinese and Buddhist history.
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 67
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring   Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:48 am

THE EMINENT MONK: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography by John Kieschnick –

This study of medieval Chinese monks is solid and well written. The author has gone through all the basic sources and divided medieval monastic life into three main categories: asceticism, thaumaturgy, and scholarship. He probes each of these in detail, revealing complexities and contradictions in monastic identity. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in medieval Chinese Buddhism.

BUDDHISM AND TAOISM FACE TO FACE: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China by Christine Mollier –

Christine Mollier reveals in this volume previously unexplored dimensions of the interaction between Buddhism and Taoism in medieval China. While scholars of Chinese religions have long recognized the mutual influences linking the two traditions, Mollier here brings to light their intense contest for hegemony in the domains of scripture and ritual.

Drawing on a far-reaching investigation of canonical texts, together with manuscript sources from Dunhuang and the monastic libraries of Japan--many of them studied here for the first time--she demonstrates the competition and complementarity of the two great Chinese religions in their quest to address personal and collective fears of diverse ills, including sorcery, famine, and untimely death. In this context, Buddhist apocrypha and Taoist scriptures were composed through a process of mutual borrowing, yielding parallel texts, Mollier argues, that closely mirrored one another. Life-extending techniques, astrological observances, talismans, spells, and the use of effigies and icons to resolve the fundamental preoccupations of medieval society were similarly incorporated in both religions. In many cases, as a result, one and the same body of material can be found in both Buddhist and Taoist guises.

Among the exorcistic, prophylactic, and therapeutic ritual methods explored here in detail are the "Heavenly Kitchens" that grant divine nutrition to their adepts, incantations that were promoted to counteract bewitchment, as well as talismans for attaining longevity and the protection of stellar deities. The destiny of the Jiuku Tianzun, the Taoist bodhisattva whose salvific mission and iconography were modeled on Guanyin (Avalokitesvara), is examined at length. Through the case-studies set forth here, the patterns whereby medieval Buddhists and Taoists each appropriated and transformed for their own use the rites and scriptures of their rivals are revealed with unprecedented precision.

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face is abundantly illustrated with drawings and diagrams from canonical and manuscript sources, together with art and artifacts photographed by the author in the course of her field research in China. Sophisticated in its analysis, broad in its synthesis of a variety of difficult material, and original in its interpretations, it will be required reading for those interested in East Asian religions and in the history of the medieval Chinese sciences, including astrology, medicine and divination
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 67
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring   Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:05 pm

KUAN-YIN: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara by Chun-Faung Yu

By far one of the most important objects of worship in the Buddhist traditions, the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is regarded as the embodiment of compassion. He has been widely revered throughout the Buddhist countries of Asia since the early centuries of the Common Era. While he was closely identified with the royalty in South and Southeast Asia, and the Tibetans continue to this day to view the Dalai Lamas as his incarnations, in China he became a she -- Kuan-yin, the "Goddess of Mercy" -- and has a very different history. The causes and processes of this metamorphosis have perplexed Buddhist scholars for centuries.

In this groundbreaking, comprehensive study, Chün-fang Yü discusses this dramatic transformation of the (male) Indian bodhisattva Avalokitesvara into the (female) Chinese Kuan-yin -- from a relatively minor figure in the Buddha's retinue to a universal savior and one of the most popular deities in Chinese religion.

Focusing on the various media through which the feminine Kuan-yin became constructed and domesticated in China, Yü thoroughly examines Buddhist scriptures, miracle stories, pilgrimages, popular literature, and monastic and local gazetteers -- as well as the changing iconography reflected in Kuan-yin's images and artistic representations -- to determine the role this material played in this amazing transformation. The book eloquently depicts the domestication of Kuan-yin as a case study of the indigenization of Buddhism in China
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 67
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring   Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:24 pm

STRANGE WRITING: Anomaly Accounts in Early Medieval China by Robert Ford Campany

Between the Han dynasty, founded in 206 B.C.E., and the Sui, which ended in 618 C.E., Chinese authors wrote many thousands of short textual items, each of which narrated or described some phenomenon deemed "strange."Most items told of encounters between humans and various denizens of the spirit-world, or of the miraculous feats of masters of esoteric arts; some described the wonders of exotic lands, or transmitted fragments of ancient mythology. This genre of writing came to be known as zhiguai ("accounts of anomalies").

Who were the authors of these books, and why did they write of these "strange" matters? Why was such writing seen as a compelling thing to do? In this book, the first comprehensive study in a Western language of the zhiguai genre in its formative period, Campany sets forth a new view of the nature of the genre and the reasons for its emergence. He shows that contemporaries portrayed it as an extension of old royal and imperial traditions in which strange reports from the periphery were collected in the capital as a way of ordering the world. He illuminates how authors writing from most of the religious and cultural perspectives of the times--including Daoists, Buddhists, Confucians, and others--used the genre differently for their own persuasive purposes, in the process fundamentally altering the old traditions of anomaly-collecting. Analyzing the "accounts of anomalies" both in the context of Chinese religious and cultural history and as examples of a cross-culturally attested type of discourse, Campany combines in-depth Sinological research with broad-ranging comparative thinking in his approach to these puzzling, rich texts.

MAKING TRANSCENDENTS: Ascetics and Social Memory in Early Medieval China by Robert Ford Campany


By the middle of the third century B.C.E. in China there were individuals who sought to become transcendents (xian)—deathless, godlike beings endowed with supernormal powers. This quest for transcendence became a major form of religious expression and helped lay the foundation on which the first Daoist religion was built. Both xian and those who aspired to this exalted status in the centuries leading up to 350 C.E. have traditionally been portrayed as secretive and hermit-like figures. This groundbreaking study offers a very different view of xian-seekers in late classical and early medieval China. It suggests that transcendence did not involve a withdrawal from society but rather should be seen as a religious role situated among other social roles and conceived in contrast to them. Robert Campany argues that the much-discussed secrecy surrounding ascetic disciplines was actually one important way in which practitioners presented themselves to others. He contends, moreover, that many adepts were not socially isolated at all but were much sought after for their power to heal the sick, divine the future, and narrate their exotic experiences.

The book moves from a description of the roles of xian and xian-seekers to an account of how individuals filled these roles, whether by their own agency or by others’—or, often, by both. Campany summarizes the repertoire of features that constituted xian roles and presents a detailed example of what analyses of those cultural repertoires look like. He charts the functions of a basic dialectic in the self-presentations of adepts and examines their narratives and relations with others, including family members and officials. Finally, he looks at hagiographies as attempts to persuade readers as to the identities and reputations of past individuals. His interpretation of these stories allows us to see how reputations were shaped and even co-opted—sometimes quite surprisingly—into the ranks of xian.

Making Transcendents provides a nuanced discussion that draws on a sophisticated grasp of diverse theoretical sources while being thoroughly grounded in traditional Chinese hagiographical, historiographical, and scriptural texts. The picture it presents of the quest for transcendence as a social phenomenon in early medieval China is original and provocative, as is the paradigm it offers for understanding the roles of holy persons in other societies.
Back to top Go down
Jcbaran

avatar

Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 67
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: Re: More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring   Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:49 am

ENLIGHTENMENT IN DISPUTE: The Reinvention of Chan Buddhism in Seventeenth-Century China by Jiang Wu

Enlightenment in Dispute is the first comprehensive study of the revival of Chan Buddhism in seventeenth-century China. Focusing on the evolution of a series of controversies about Chan enlightenment, Jiang Wu describes the process by which Chan reemerged as the most prominent Buddhist establishment of the time. He investigates the development of Chan Buddhism in the seventeenth century, focusing on controversies involving issues such as correct practice and lines of lineage. In this way, he shows how the Chan revival reshaped Chinese Buddhism in late imperial China. Situating these controversies alongside major events of the fateful Ming-Qing transition, Wu shows how the rise and fall of Chan Buddhism was conditioned by social changes in the seventeenth century.

"Jiang Wu's Enlightenment in Dispute succeeds in its bold claim that the revival of Chan Buddhism deserves to be seen as playing a significant role in 17th-century Chinese history. Among Wu's many important findings are his specific tracing of Chan in late Ming thought and factionalism, thesignificance of Chan 'textual spirituality' in the intellectual questing of the time, the surprising use of the law in the adjudication of disputed Dharma transmissions, the intersections of Chan with Ming loyalist sentiments and actions, and the central part played by Yongzheng (first as prince andthen as emperor) in defining Chan doctrinal legitimacy and ultimately his own enlightenment. The book is a valuable addition to our studies of China's turbulent and formative 'long seventeenth century.'" --Jonathan Spence, author of The Search for Modern China and Return to Dragon Mountain
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring   

Back to top Go down
 
More books on the history / mythology of Chinese Zen -- worth exploring
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Soto Zen and Japanese Buddhist History -- beyond mythology - books of note
» The Elephant in the Zendo -- Books about Denial and Self-Deception
» Medical Palmistry: chinese hand chart!
» HD 173416 b - the first Japanese/Chinese exoplanet
» A Sort Of History of BMH Iserlohn

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
OBC Connect :: OBC Connect :: The Reading Corner-
Jump to: