The Lotus Sutra

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, 1993 - Religion - 359 pages
3 Reviews
Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature. Conceived as a drama of colossal proportions, the text takes on new meaning in Burton Watson's translation. Depicting events in a cosmic world that transcends ordinary concepts of time and space, the Lotus Sutra presents abstract religious concepts in concrete terms and affirms that there is a single path to enlightenment - that of the bodhisattva - and that the Buddha is not to be delimited in time and space. Filled with striking imagery. memorable parables, and countless revelations concerning the universal accessibility of Buddhahood, the Lotus Sutra has brought comfort and wisdom to devotees over the centuries and stands as a pivotal text in world literature. As Watson notes, "The Lotus Sutra is not so much an integral work as a collection of religious texts, an anthology of sermons, stories and devotional manuals, some speaking with particular force to persons of one type or in one set of circumstances, some to those of another type or in other circumstances. This is no doubt one reason why it has had such broad and lasting appeal over the ages and has permeated so deeply into the cultures that have been exposed to it."
 

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User Review  - anthonywillard - LibraryThing

This is a translation into English prose and verse, from the Chinese, of The Lotus Sutra (Sanskrit: Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, Chinese: Miaofa Lianhua Jing). It is a literary translation. There is a ... Read full review

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A capital, epochal translation of what happens to be technically the first book in human history, and the most relevant scripture of Buddhist world in the last three millenia.
Burton Watson's work is
apalling, authoritative and in line with the spirit of the original, which is even more apalling and wondrous.
A source of joy, inspiration, thought and inner search for millions and millions, cradle of civilizations and a text worshipped and love by common people in the East, and now finally in the West.
A great treasure, both for the scholar and the general reader, and a stunningly beautiful piece of oral literature recorded by the Buddha's students and closes followers.
Its compelling voice will surely remain in readers' hearts for months and years after being read.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
Expedient Means
21
Simile and Parable
45
Belief and Understanding
78
The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs
95
Bestowal of Prophecy
105
The Parable of the Phantom City
115
Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples
141
Distinctions in Benefits
231
The Benefits of Responding with Joy
243
Benefits of the Teacher of the Law
249
The Bodhisattva Never Disparaging
263
Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One
270
Entrustment
275
Former Affairs of the Bodhisttva Medicine King
278
The Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound
288

Prophecies Conferred on Learners and Adepts
152
The Teacher of the Law
158
The Emergence of the Treasure Tower
168
Devadatta
180
Encouraging Devotion
188
Peaceful Practices
194
Emerging from the Earth
210
The Life Span of the Thus Come One
222
The Universal Gateway of the Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Worlds Sounds
296
Dharani
305
Former Affairs of King Wonderful Adornment
310
Encouragements of the Bodhisattva Universal Worthy
317
Glossary
323
Index
341
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About the author (1993)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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