Pure Lands in Asian Texts and Contexts: An Anthology (Pure Land Buddhist Studies)
Hardcover – March 31, 2019
This diverse anthology of original Buddhist texts in translation provides a historical and conceptual framework that will transform contemporary scholarship on Pure Land Buddhism and instigate its recognition as an essential field of Buddhist studies. Traditional and contemporary primary sources carefully selected from Buddhist cultures across historical, geopolitical, and literary boundaries are organized by genre rather than chronologically, geographically, or by religious lineage―a novel juxtaposition that reveals their wider importance in fresh contexts. Together these fundamental texts from different Asian traditions, expertly translated by eminent and up-and-coming scholars, illustrate that the Buddhism of pure lands is not just an East Asian cult or a marginal type of Buddhism, but a pan-Asian and deeply entrenched religious phenomenon.
The volume is organized into six parts: Ritual Practices, Contemplative Visualizations, Doctrinal Expositions, Life Writing and Poetry, Ethical and Aesthetic Explications, and Worlds beyond Sukhāvatī. Each part is introduced and summarized, and each translated piece is prefaced by its translator to supply historical and sectarian context as well as insight into the significance of the work. Common and less-common issues of practice, doctrine, and intra-religious transfer are explored, and deeper understandings of the meaning of “pure lands” are gained through the study of the celestial, cosmological, internal, and earthly pure lands associated with various buddhas, bodhisattvas, and devotional figures. The introduction by the volume editors ties the diverse themes of the book together and provides a historical background to Pure Land Buddhist studies. Scholars of Buddhism and Asian religion, including graduate and post-graduate students, as well as Buddhist practitioners, will appreciate the range of translated materials and accompanied discussions made accessible in one essential collection, the first of its kind to center on the formerly-neglected topic of Buddhist pure lands.