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Becoming a Buddhist monk in Thailand has for a long time provided the opportunity for access to a good education and to social advancement, both to bright, poor rural youths and to members of the urban elite whose youth often become monks for a few months as a rite of passage into adulthood. Moreover, although women are not allowed to become fully fledged monks, recent developments have encouraged a special status akin to nuns for many devout Thai Buddhist women. All this has resulted in large numbers of well-educated, well-motivated Buddhist religious people, keen both to engage in religious contemplation and also determined to contribute to this-worldly social, economic, educational and medical development goals. This book, by a leading authority on the subject, considers the role of Thai Buddhist religious people in development within Thailand. It discusses how Thai Buddhism has evolved philosophically and in its organisation to allow this, examines various examples of Buddhist people's engagement in development projects, and assesses how the situation is likely to unfold going forward. In addition, the book considers the relationship between science and religion in Thai Buddhism and also some aspects of the parallel situation in Sri Lanka.
This volume examines several theoretical concerns of embodiment in the context of Asian religious practice. Looking at both subtle and spatial bodies, it explores how both types of embodiment are engaged as sites for transformation, transaction and transgression. Collectively bridging ancient and modern conceptualizations of embodiment in religious practice, the book offers a complex mapping of how body is defined. It revisits more traditional, mystical religious systems, including Hindu Tantra and Yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Bon, Chinese Daoism and Persian Sufism and distinctively juxtaposes these inquiries alongside analyses of racial, gendered, and colonized bodies. Such a multifaceted subject requires a diverse approach, and so perspectives from phenomenology and neuroscience as well as critical race theory and feminist theology are utilised to create more precise analytical tools for the scholarly engagement of embodied religious epistemologies. This a nuanced and interdisciplinary exploration of the myriad issues around bodies within religion. As such it will be a key resource for any scholar of Religious Studies, Asian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, and Gender Studies.
This book examines the importance of the topic of 'feeling tone' (vedana) as it appears in early Buddhist texts and practice, and also within contemporary, secular, mindfulness-based interventions. The volume aims to highlight the crucial nature of the 'feeling tone' or 'taste of experience' in determining mental reactivity, behaviour, character, and ethics. In the history of Buddhism, and in its reception in contemporary discourse, vedana has often been a much-neglected topic, with greater emphasis being accorded to other meditational focuses, such as body and mind. However, 'feeling tone' (vedana) can be seen as a crucial pivotal point in understanding the cognitive process, both in contemporary mindfulness and meditation practice within more traditional forms of Buddhism. The taste of experience, it is claimed, comes as pleasant, unpleasant, and neither pleasant nor unpleasant - and these 'tones' or 'tastes' inevitably follow from humans being embodied sensory beings. That experience comes in this way is unavoidable, but what follows can be seen in terms of reactivity or responsiveness. This book was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Buddhism.
Based on detailed ethnographic research, this book explores the varied experiences of women who have converted to Buddhism in contemporary Britain and analyses the implications of their experiences for understanding the translation and transference of Buddhist practices temporally and geographically. This book examines how women initially engage with Buddhist groups, their perspectives on religious discipline, and their relationships to ideas of gender equality and feminism. Whilst the recent study of Buddhism outside Asia has tended to emphasise the transnational and the global, this book de-centres this, highlighting the significance of locality and immediate community in contemporary women's faith practices. Showcasing the narratives and life stories of 25 ordained women across seven different Buddhist groups connected to Britain, the research in this book challenges uncritical assumptions made about 'Western' women who engage with Buddhist practices, and provides a new framing of contemporary ordination through a detailed and holistic examination of a group of Buddhist practitioners that have received little focused attention. The first multi-tradition study of ordained Buddhist women in Britain, this book will be of interest to academics working in the fields of Buddhist studies, religious studies, gender studies, Asian studies and the sociology of religion.
First published in 1914, this is a fascinating investigation of the origins of Buddhism, drawing on a wealth of evidence relating to the life and teachings of the Buddha. First considering how the study of the Buddhist doctrine can be used to critique religious systems such as Christianity, Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire proceeds to discuss Buddhism at three different periods of its history: the life and legend of the Buddha as demonstrated within canonical works, Buddhism in India during the seventh century, and finally, Buddhism in Sri Lanka (formally 'Ceylon') at the start of the twentieth century. Principally a philosophical study surrounding the origins and principles of Buddhism, this reissue will be of particular value to students researching contemporary perceptions of the Buddhist faith.
Learn how to cultivate your own joy through the Happiness & Contentment Workbook, with 70 writing exercises and plenty of space to delve into and reflect upon each one. Full of practical meditations, guided explorations of your inner psyche, and wonderful analogies, this workbook covers topics such as: Removing limiting beliefs Looking at the bigger picture Befriending your inner critic Embracing unhappiness Rediscovering your wild energy Unhooking from negative thoughts Slowing down Being present ... and much more. This book contains the wisdom and guidance of The Happy Buddha who has been teaching people how to tap into their innate happiness for several decades. Imagine a large ice cube. Trapped in the centre of the ice cube is a beautiful, glittering jewel that represents our innate happiness and joy. How do you access it? Simply place the ice in the warmth of the sun, and let it melt...Overflowing with charming illustrations, chasmic analogies, and thought-provoking activities to help you on the path to conscious contentment, The Happiness & Contentment Workbook is a book to work and melt into.
Moving beyond the original bodhi tree where the historical Buddha attained enlightenment, Buddhism spread throughout Asia and in more recent history has become ubiquitous in America and other Western nations as it marches into the status of a major global religion. During its history westward, it has changed, adapted to new cultures, and offered spiritual help to those looking for answers to the problems of life. Buddhism is studied in institutions of higher education, practice by many people worldwide, and its literature is translated in numerous languages. Historical Dictionary of Buddhism, Second Edition contains a chronology, an introduction, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has more than 900 cross-referenced entries on important personalities as well as complex theological concepts, significant practices, and basic writings and texts. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Buddhism.
In this volume of memoirs we find Sangharakshita after twenty years in the East arriving back in England at the invitation of the English Sangha Trust. He expects to stay no more than a few months, but the months become years and, as he comes to know the then small world of British Buddhism, he realizes that after all it is here that he may best be able to work for the good of Buddhism , as one of his teachers had once exhorted him. After a farewell tour of his friends and teachers in India, he goes on to found a new Buddhist movement and to ordain twelve men and women into a new Buddhist Order. The answer to the question Why did Sangharakshita found a new Buddhist movement and Order? is in these pages. 'Moving Against the Stream' has for its backdrop 1960s Britain, with figures as diverse as Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and David Cooper, the anti-psychiatry psychiatrist. In the world of British Buddhism there is Christmas Humphreys, founder of the London Buddhist Society, and Maurice Walshe, translator of the Digha Nikaya, and many others. Here also is the story of a friendship that was to be deeply significant for Sangharakshita. As he and Terry Delamare drive across Europe visiting the sites of ancient Greece and the churches, museums and great works of art of Renaissance Italy, Sangharakshita makes vivid the role that higher culture can play in spiritual life. This volume includes '1970 - A Retrospect' in which Sangharakshita tells of a year that begins with lectures in Paris, continues with three months at Yale University as a visiting lecturer, and concludes back in Britain as he resumes his work for the Buddhist movement. A new phase is beginning.
This volume, which introduces the sequence of Complete Works volumes that include Sangharakshita's commentaries on a range of traditional Buddhist texts, begins with The Eternal Legacy, an introduction to the canonical literature of Buddhism, which succinctly and with great feeling gives the context for the commentaries to follow. Next comes Sangharakshita's talk 'The Glory of the Literary World', which considers how the Buddhist canon is to be approached, in a broad consideration of the literary traditions of both East and West. This is followed by an introduction to one of the earliest works of the Pali canon, the Udana, newly edited from a 1975 seminar for this Complete Works volume under the title Buddhism before Buddhism. Here we trace the Buddha's life from the period just after his Enlightenment to the time of his approaching death, and Sangharakshita (studying the text with members of what was in 1975 a very young Buddhist movement) draws out the newness and freshness of the Buddha's vision - so new, indeed, that words could scarcely be found to express it. And this volume concludes fittingly with Wisdom Beyond Words, Sangharakshita's much-loved commentary on several Perfection of Wisdom texts, another way of seeing how, in Asvaghosa's words, 'We use words to get free of words until we reach the pure wordless essence.'
Temples are everywhere in Chiang Mai, filled with tourists as well as saffron-robed monks of all ages. The monks participate in daily urban life here as elsewhere in Thailand, where Buddhism is promoted, protected, and valued as a tourist attraction. Yet this mountain city offers more than a fleeting, commodified tourist experience, as the encounters between foreign visitors and Buddhist monks can have long-lasting effects on both parties. These religious contacts take place where economic motives, missionary zeal, and opportunities for cultural exchange coincide. Brooke Schedneck incorporates fieldwork and interviews with student monks and tourists to examine the innovative ways that Thai Buddhist temples offer foreign visitors spaces for religious instruction and popular in-person Monk Chat sessions in which tourists ask questions about Buddhism. Religious Tourism in Northern Thailand also considers how Thai monks perceive other religions and cultures and how they represent their own religion when interacting with tourists, resulting in a revealing study of how religious traditions adapt to an era of globalization.
Many people have the compassionate wish to benefit others, but few understand how to accomplish this effectively in daily life. Bodhisattvas are friends of the world who have such strong compassion they are able to transform all their daily activities into methods to benefit others. The path of the Bodhisattva was exquisitely explained in the universally loved poem Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life by the 8th century master Shantideva. With this commentary by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, the effectiveness and profundity of this way of life are clearly revealed and made practical for our modern world.
First published in 1978, Christmas Humphrey's autobiography presents the fascinating history of a life rich and varied in both private and in public. Spanning seven decades it touches on many events of historical interest in which he was personally involved. Among them the abdication of Edward VIII, the Japanese War Trials and his time with the Dalai Lama after his flight from Tibet. The author gives a graphic portrait of life behind the Bar and on the Bench - of what it is like to prosecute and to defend, and of the immense difficulties which face a judge when passing sentence. Here too are recollections of many famous cases of the twentieth century, and of the many murder trials in which he appeared as prosecuting counsel or judge. Of equal interest is his fifty years' of work in the field of English Buddhism. In 1924 he and his wife founded the Buddhist Society, which would become hugely influential in the spread of Buddhism throughout the West. Both Sides of the Circle is rich in humour and humanity. There is the joyful account of the author's Edwardian Boyhood followed by the tragedy of his brother's death in World War 1, which lead to the awakening of his interest in Buddhism and Theosophy. He speaks freely of his encounters with the Dalai Lama, with D.T. Suzuki, with Jung and with the Royal families of Thailand, Sikkim and Nepal, as well as his travels throughout the Europe and in the Orient. Both sides of the Circle is more than autobiography - it is also a spiritual odyssey whose reissue will be of great interest to those who've enjoyed Christmas Humphreys' other work and wish to know more about his brilliant career. It will also be very welcome to those wanted to learn about Buddhism in general, and the origins of English Buddhism in particular.
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1878. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... sufficient material before us for a correct knowledge of the work in question. I should not under these circumstances have undertaken to produce another translation bearing the same title, but for the fact that no copy of Dhammapada has hitherto been known to exist in China. It has been my good fortune to have had brought under my immediate examination the great body of books comprising the Chinese Buddhist Canon. Amongst these I found there were four copies of a work bearing the title of Law verses or Scriptural texts, which on examination were seen to resemble the Pali version of Dhammapada in many particulars. Supposing that some knowledge of these books would be acceptable to the student, I have undertaken the translation1 of the simplest of them, and with such notices of the other copies as are suggested by a brief comparison of them one with the other, I now offer my book for candid consideration. 1 It may here be stated, in order literal translation of the Chinese to disarm unfriendly criticism, that Text, but only such an abstract of it I do not profess to have produced a as seemed necessary for my purpose. PEEFACE TO THE CHINESE VERSION OF DHAMMAPADA. There are four principal copies of Dhammapada in Chinese. The first, approaching most nearly to the Pali, was made by a Shaman Wei-chi-lan (and others), who lived during the Wu dynasty, about the beginning of the third century of the Christian era. As this is the earliest version, we will consider it first. The title by which it is known is Fa-hheu-King DEGREES that is, The Sutra of Law Verses. The symbol kheu ('fej) does not necessarily mean a verse, but is applied to any sentence or phrase: the rendering Law texts or Scripture texts would therefore be more correct were it not that in the Preface t...
Religion plays a central role in Thai society with Buddhism intertwined in the daily lives of the people. Religion also plays an important role in establishing gender boundaries. The growth in recent decades of self-governing nunneries and the increasing interest of Thai women in a Buddhist monastic life are notable changes in the religion-gender dynamic. This anthropological study addresses religion and gender relations, analysing this through the lens of the lives, actions and role in Thai society of Buddhist nuns (mae chii). It raises questions about how the position of Thai Buddhist nuns outside the Buddhist sangha affects their religious legitimacy and describes recent moves to restore a Theravada order of female monks.
First published in 1981, The Renewal of Buddhism in China broke new ground in the study of Chinese Buddhism. An interdisciplinary study of a Buddhist master and reformer in late Ming China, it challenged the conventional view that Buddhism had reached its height under the Tang dynasty (618-907) and steadily declined afterward. Chun-fang Yu details how in sixteenth-century China, Buddhism entered a period of revitalization due in large part to a cohort of innovative monks who sought to transcend sectarian rivalries and doctrinal specialization. She examines the life, work, and teaching of one of the most important of these monks, Zhuhong (1535-1615), a charismatic teacher of lay Buddhists and a successful reformer of monastic Buddhism. Zhuhong's contributions demonstrate that the late Ming was one of the most creative periods in Chinese intellectual and religious history. Weaving together diverse sources-scriptures, dynastic history, Buddhist chronicles, monks' biographies, letters, ritual manuals, legal codes, and literature-Yu grounds Buddhism in the reality of Ming society, highlighting distinctive lay Buddhist practices to provide a vivid portrait of lived religion. Since the book was published four decades ago, many have written on the diversity of Buddhist beliefs and practices in the centuries before and after Zhuhong's time, yet The Renewal of Buddhism in China remains a crucial touchstone for all scholarship on post-Tang Buddhism. This fortieth anniversary edition features updated transliteration, a foreword by Daniel B. Stevenson, and an updated introduction by the author speaking to the ongoing relevance of this classic work.
Soonil Hwang studies the doctrinal development of nirvana in the Pali Nikaaya and subsequent tradition and compares it with the Chinese aagama and its traditional interpretation. He clarifies early doctrinal developments of Nirvana and traces the word and related terms back to their original metaphorical contexts, elucidating diverse interpretations and doctrinal and philosophical developments in the abhidharma exegeses and treatises of Southern and Northern Buddhist schools. The book finally examines which school, if any, kept the original meaning and reference of Nirvana.
Vastly different in belief and practice, two new Buddhist religious movements in Thailand, namely the Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Santi Asoke emerged in Thailand in the 1970s at a time of political uncertainty, social change and increasing dissatisfaction with the Thai Sangha and its leadership. Examining these movements, which represent two distinctive trends within contemporary Buddhism in Thailand, this book explains why they have come into being, what they have reacted against and what they offer to their members. Both movements have a wide membership outside of Thailand, with temples in the UK, Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. New Buddhist Movements in Thailand will appeal to those interested in Buddhism's confrontation with modernity, and its responses to evolving social issues in Thailand, as well as to those interested in new religions in the broader context of religious studies.
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