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The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra: T'ien-T'ai Philosophy of Buddhism (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: HAI337
Publisher: Originals, Delhi
Author: Haiyan Shen
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 8188629413
Pages: 864
Other Details 9.00 X 5.50 inch
Weight 1.24 kg
Book Description

About the Author

This book makes an initial investigation into T'ien-t'ai Chih-i's masterpiece The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra (Hsuan-i) in an endeavor to unravel his systematic approach to elaborating Buddhism and his Buddhist philosophy in religious salvation. This book is divided into two volumes. Volume one concentrates on the uniqueness of the Hsuan-i and Chih-i's achievements in the Hsuan-i. As the embodiment of Chih-i's own philosophy, the coherent and integrated nature of his text fully displays his perfect and harmonizing philosophy. Closely related to the first volume is the second volume of this book. In order to make the assessment of Chih-i's system, thoughts and achievements comprehensible in the context of the Hsuan-i, volume two launches an unprecedented exploration of this gigantic text Hsuan-i, giving a delineation of the whole work by outlining, explaining and analyzing its complicated structure, its rich content, and its sophisticated theories. The textual study of this book brings into light a new perspective of understanding the depth of Chih-i's philosophy, and contributes to the field of study of T'ien-t'ai Buddhism.


Since I became interested in Buddhism ten years ago, T'ien-t'ai' Buddhism has irresistibly attracted my attention. It was the first Buddhist school in China marking the developmental transition from Indian Buddhism to Chinese versions of Buddhism in the 6 century the Common Era. The establishment of the T'ien-t'ai system of classification and methods of concentration and contemplation laid the theoretical and practical foundation for Chinese Buddhism. Because T'ien-t'ai Buddhism is distinctively influenced by Chinese epistemology, it helped pave the way for the development of different Buddhist schools in China. The key figure is the founder of the T'ien-t'ai school, one of the greatest Buddhist masters, Chih-i or "the greatest of all Chinese Buddhist philosophers." Hence, I came to concentrate on his work.

The most important works of Chih-i are called "Three Great Works of T'ien-t'ai" (T'ien-t'ai San-ta-pu). They are: Miao-fa Lien-hua Ching Wen-chu (Textual Commentary on the Lotus Sutra, ten fascicles) (T.34. No.1718), Miao-fa Lien-hua Ching Hsuan-i or Fa-hua Hsuan-i (The Subtle Meaning of the Lotus Sutra, ten fascicles, hereafter abbreviation as Hsuan- 1) (T.33, No.1716), and Mo-ho Chih-kuan (Great Concentration and Contemplation, ten fascicles) (T.46, No.1911). Each of these works focuses on a particular subject, the first on the detailed sentence-by- sentence textual commentary on the Lotus Sutra; the second on presenting Chih-i's own comprehensive system of Buddhism by means of exposing the theme and the subtle meaning of the Lotus Sutra; and the last on Chih-i's own practical system of concentration and contemplation based on his interpretation of the Lotus Sutra. Among the three of them, the Hsuan-i is Chih-i's most innovative work in which he systematizes the whole Buddhist canon available at his time with his interpretative method of reconstructing, reformulating, and redefining Buddhist concepts and notions imported to China from India, and in which he laid the foundation for the development of Chinese Buddhism.


Out the nine well known Mahayana Buddhist sacred texts known as "Vaipulya Sutras", the Saddharmapundarika Sutra is the most important, the most representative and extraordinarily popular work. It is considered to be the last and the supreme teaching of the Buddha. It is at once the foundation and the culmination of the Buddhist thought and practices. It declares itself as the "King of all Sutras. It is regarded as the quintessence and the most comprehensive of the teachings of the Buddha. It glorifies and divinizes the Buddha and extols the life of a bodhisattva. It promises that following the Buddhist way of life enables one to get enlightenment and to reach the final goal, the summum bonum, of life. It presents Buddhism as a Salvationist or liberating religion and that is why it has provided solace and succor to millions of people throughout Asia. This also accounts for its prominence. Its language is highly symbolic, suggestive and evocative. Ideas are expressed, doctrines are propounded and messages are communicated through parables and analogies the implications of which need to be drawn out.


There are several scholarly studies available in English, in Japanese and in Chinese concerning the life of Chih-i, the central concept of his thought, and its relationship to the Madhyamika, and so forth. The most important ones are the works of Leon Hurvitz, Ando Toshio, Mo Tsung- san, David Chappell, Paul Swanson, Neal Donner, NG Yu-Kwan, Ch'en Ying-shan, Pan Guiming, Lee Chih-fu, Thomas Cleary, and so on." Nevertheless, there have been very few studies focusing on a single text Chih-i. Neal Donner's The Great Calming and Contemplation: A Study and Annotated Translation of the First Chapter of Chih-i's Mo-ho Chih-Kuan is the study of the first chapter of one of Chih-i's major works, Mo-ho Chih-kuan. Thomas Cleary's Stopping and seeing: a comprehensive course in Buddhist meditation are English Selections of the Mo-ho Chih-kuan translated by Cleary. Lee Chih-fu's Miao-fa Lien- hua-ching Hsuan-i Yen-chiu is a compilation focusing on the work Miao- fa Lien-hua-ching Hsuan-i, indicating various sources of quotations from scriptures Chih-i mentions in the Miao-fa Lien-hua-ching Hsuan-i, and a collection of existing references of annotations and commentaries on this text.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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