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Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra One of the most important texts of Mahayana Buddhism, In which almost all its principal tenets are presented, including the teaching of Zen

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Item Code: IDC909
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Edition: 1998
ISBN: 8121508339
Pages: 496
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 6.0" x 7.6"
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Book Description
About the Book
The Lankavatara Sutra is one of the most important Mahayana texts, and the Napalese Buddhists consider it to be one of the nine canonical texts. The text contains almost all the main ideas, both philosophical and theological, of Mahayana Buddhism. The Yogacara School of Mahayana considers this text to be its fundamental text, as it contains all those ideas of idealism, like Mind-only, store-house-consciousness, which would form the basis of the philosophy of this school.

As the text is terse, difficult to under- stand, and complex insofar as the presentation of ideas is concerned, the author . has tried his best to explain the basic ideas of the Lankauatdra in the context of historical evolution of Buddhism, which culminated in the emergence of Mahayana. In the first part of the book the author has made a textual study of the text in the context of various translations that were carried out in China.

Simultaneously the author also has' pointed out the impact of the text exerted upon Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, and particularly upon the Zen. In the rest of the book the author has engaged himself in explaining the complex philosophical ideas that are to be found in the text, and how these ideas were made use of by various Buddhist schools.

The author also points out the intimate relationship that exists between the Lankauatara and Zen Buddhism. Al- though not exclusively a Zen text, yet its impact upon Zen cannot be denied. The non-Zen ideas of the text, particularly those pertaining to the Yogacara, have been discussed by the author in the third part of the book.

The author has prepared a glossary of Sanskrit terms for the benefit of Chinese and Japanese readers. The book, thus, has been written for all those who are deeply interested in Buddhist thought and philosophy. The Studies in the Lankauatara Sutra is the first attempt ever made at studying systematically the philosophical ideas and religious practices that are to be found in the Lankauatara Sutra. Those interested in Mahayana Buddhism will greatly benefit from the scholarly study of Prof. Suzuki of this important text.

While preparing a second series of Essays in Zen Buddhism, the author thought it desirable for the reader to know something more about the Lankavatara than had been sketched out in the First Series To do this he had to study the sutra more thoroughly, and as he was doing so, his interest in it grew stronger and wider. Then, he came to the conclusion that his study of the Lankavatara might be published independently and even prior to the second series of Zen Essays. The result is this book now before the reader.

The Lankavatara is a Mahayana text difficult in more than one way to understand perfectly as to its meaning and also in its proper historical .setting. But its importance as giving most of the fundamental tenets of Mahayana Buddhism has urged the author to publish whatever results he has gained so far in his study. They are no doubt short of being quite satisfactory from a strictly scholarly point of view, but the author's earnest wish is to open the way, if he could so hope, for further study and more thorough- going investigation of the text. Mahayana Buddhism is just beginning to be known in the West As to the appreciation of its full significance we have to wait patiently for some years yet to come.

The first two parts of these Studies were already published in The Eastern Buddhist, but in the present work they have been revised fully and inaccuracies corrected as far as available. The third part is entirely new. As the Studies were not planned out as a whole from the beginning but have grown progressively in the author's mind, some repetitions have become inevitable. The second part dealing with the Lankavatara containing the philosophy of Zen Buddhism was written first. As it was being revised after its publication in The Eastern Buddhist, Volume IV, Nos. 3-4, for 1928, the thought suggested itself that the sutra must be studied also textually since there are still three Chinese and one (or two) Tibetan translations. The result was the first part of the present work, which appeared as an in- dependent article in The Eastern Buddhist, Volume V, No. 1, for 1929.

The Lankavatara does not belong exclusively to' the Zen school of Buddhism, it is also the common property of the Mahayana. When it is studied apart from Zen, some of the important conceptions developed in the sutra, which do not necessarily belong to the philosophy of Zen, are to be ex- pounded, however briefly. Hence the third part of the present Studies, entitled "Some of the Important Theories Expounded in the Lankavatara."

The author has prepared for the benefit principally of his Japanese and Chinese readers a glossary of the Sanskrit technical terms found in the book. This he hopes to be of use in their perusal of Sanskrit Buddhist literature and at the same time illustrative of the methods of the Indian- Chinese translators.

It is the pleasant duty on the part of the author to ac- knowledge all the help given him in various ways by the following friends: Mr. Dwight Goddard of Vermont, U.S.A., who typed the whole manuscript while he was staying in Japan last winter; Professor Hokei Idzumi who gave valuable information whenever the author met with grammatical difficulties in reading the Sanskrit text; Mr. Bunkyo Sakurabe who collected facts concerning the Tibetan translations of the Laiakavatara; Professor Shizusato Sugihira and Mr. Kensei Yokogawa who read the proofs for typographical errors.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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