Studies in Comparative Religion
The First English Journal on Traditional Studies - established 1963
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Type TitleAuthor/
Reviewed Author*
Author 2/
Book Review
This in-depth review is of the World Wisdom book "Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World" (by Samdhong Rinpoche, edited by Donovan Roebert). The author was recognized to be the reincarnation of the Fourth Samdhong Rinpoche and he was later elected to be the Kalon Tripa or Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The reviewer, Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, summarizes the intent of the various wide-ranging sections of the book and he frequently provides quotes from the Rinpoche to illustrate the themes and tone of the book. The review concludes that "These dialogues with Samdhong Rinpoche will provide substantial support to spiritual seekers as they challenge the very assumptions that are crucial to the current era. In fact [Samdhong Rinpoche] makes it clear that the crisis of the post-modern world is no longer isolated in the West alone; it has become a global issue of paramount concern to all peoples."
Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World: Tibetan Buddhism and Today’s WorldRinpoche, Samdhong *Bendeck Sotillos, Samuel 2009 - Web Edition Buddhism
Cup of ImmortalityPerry, Clara Vol. 17, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1985) Buddhism
Buddhism and the Vedanta—Two Surfaces of the Mirrorde Jesse, Bruno Vol. 17, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1985) Buddhism
Tibetan Texts Taken from the “Rosary of Precious Stones” by the Guru GampopaGampopa, Guru Vol. 16, No. 3 and 4. ( Summer-Autumn, 1984) Buddhism
Ossendowskyi's SourcesPallis, Marco Vol. 15, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1983) Buddhism
Nembutsu as RemembrancePallis, Marco Vol. 12, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1978) Buddhism
Three Short Poems by Han-ShanHan-Shan, (in Japan: "Kanzan") Vol. 11, No. 2. ( Spring, 1977) Buddhism
Atta and AnattaHorner, Isaline B. Vol. 7, No. 1. ( Winter, 1973) Buddhism
For centuries, the recitation of the Nembutsu has been one of the central practices in the Pure Land tradition of Buddhism. Shojun Bando explains how this practice was selected by Honen, whose message was in turn transmitted by Shinran in the form of the Kyo-Gyo-Shin-Sho. Throughout the course of his discussion, Bando summarizes each of the six parts of this classic work, using the teachings of Shinran as a framework for a broader explanation of the fundamental doctrines of Pure Land thought.
Significance of the NembutsuBando, Shojun Vol. 6, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1972) Buddhism
One of the great interpreters of Buddhism, particularly in its Tibetan form, was Marco Pallis. In this extended essay, Pallis devotes himself to demonstating the traditional concept that "both these principles must be brought into play and harmoniously blended if ever spirituality is to ripen its proper fruit in enlightenment" In the first, more general part of the essay, Pallis surveys a number of doctrines, tells stories from Tibetan culture, explains Buddhist symbols, considers spiritual virtues, and finds common ground in the ideas and practices of several religions. In the second part, he examines "a number of examples, all based on personal observation or experience in the Tibetan world, of how the conjoint principle of Wisdom and Method operates in various circumstances of spiritual life."
The Marriage of Wisdom and MethodPallis, Marco Vol. 6, No. 2. ( Spring, 1972) Buddhism
Author Shojun Bando introduces us to Jodo Buddhism, little known to many, through a more familiar form: Zen Buddhism. His purpose is to correct the "deplorable fact that Jodo Buddhism has long been misunderstood by many people as being something little different from Christianity." His intention is to "describe the character of Jodo Buddhism in contrast with the Zen way of attaining the Buddhist principle, sūnyatā" (non-substantiality). Bando's work here ultimately clears up a number of simplistic misunderstandings about both forms of Buddhism and gives us a greater appreciation of both.
Jodo Buddhism in the Light of ZenBando, Shojun Vol. 6, No. 2. ( Spring, 1972) Buddhism
Author Marco Pallis here presents a detailed and comprehensive explanation of the fundamental Buddhist concept of karma. In order to accomplish this, he also explains such related terms as samsara, dharma, "selfhood," "rebirth," and "Buddhahood." Although the emphasis is clearly upon the Buddhist perspective, Pallis finds ways to make points about spiritual states of mind, human actions, and eschatological states that apply equally to Christians and practitioners of other faiths.
Living One's KarmaPallis, Marco Vol. 6, No. 1. ( Winter, 1972) Buddhism
T'an-luan (Jp: Donran), who lived from 476-542, was a Chinese Buddhist monk credited by Honen as the founder of Pure Land Buddhism in China. T'an-luan is also considered the Third Patriarch in Japanese Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Though he lived many centuries before the founder of Jodo Shinshu, Shinran, his writings survived and were influential on Honen and his student, Shinran. This essay surveys the history of the development of Jodo Shinshu thought, informing students of this branch of Buddhism of the critical role T'an-luan's played in forming central Shin concepts.
Shinran’s Indebtedness to T’an-luanBando, Shojun Vol. 5, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1971) Buddhism
In this essay Frithjof Schuon clarifies common misconceptions among Westerners concerning the apparently "absurd" and "paradoxical" nature of the koan in Zen Buddhism. Its essential nature is not its "absurdity" or illogicality. Its role, rather, is to express "the spiritual experience of a given master in a symbolical—and intentionally paradoxical—form, the significance of which is only verifiable by undergoing the selfsame experience" of satori (illumination). The fundamental intention of Zen and the koan is thus the supernatural perception of things in the "Eternal Present", a state wherein the mind "finds itself rooted in the Absolute, both intellectually and existentially". As a corrective to current individualistic and anti-traditional misunderstandings of Zen in the West, Schuon also emphasizes the essential relationship between traditional Zen practice and the use of canonized sacred texts taught and read within the community of Buddhist practitioners.
Remarks on the Enigma of the KoanSchuon, Frithjof Vol. 5, No. 2. ( Spring, 1971) Buddhism
The goal of this essay is, as author Harold Talbott puts it, that by "sketching a few features of the first lesson in Dharma as a Lama might present it using the device of the Round of Existence, we can describe the first activity of the path, hearing Dharma expounded." The other two activities of the Buddhist spiritual path, Pondering and Meditation, also are treated in passing, but the focus of this piece is on the means by which the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition utilizes the "teaching presence of realized masters" as the necessary catalyst in all spiritual learning, or "hearing." This means that whether the activity be the study of scripture or the contemplation of sacred art, the influence of a Lama is, in the end, central to the efficacy of the activity. Talbott uses the traditional Tibetan diagram of the "Round of Existence" as the organizing scheme by which he explains the precepts, principles, and virtues that the aspirant must actualize on the path to Wisdom in the Vajrayana tradition.
The Round of ExistenceTalbott, Harold Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Buddhism
Book Review
Reviewer J. C. Cooper finds this book by Arnaud Desjardins to be a well-balanced mix of background on Buddhism (with "an excellent exposition on some of the misunderstandings of Tantrayana and of its true meaning"), and the observations of author Desjardins upon the cultural differences between the traditional Tibetan culture that he encountered there during the course of making a film, and the West. The reviewer seems particularly impressed with the observations on the temperament of children and the differences in their respective educational formation.
The Message of the TibetansDesjardins, Arnaud *Cooper, J.C. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Buddhism
Book Review
In this review, Cooper discusses the work of Professor Johansson. Johansson is primarily concerned with how the Buddhist concept of Nirvana is perceived—is it a psychological, metaphysical, or ethical state, or a combination of them all? Cooper goes on to discuss and evaluate Johansson’s approach to his research.
The Psychology of NirvanaJohansson, Rune *Cooper, J.C. Vol. 4, No. 2. ( Spring, 1970) Buddhism
Citing examples from Islamic, Christian, and Buddhist doctrine, Schuon discusses various concepts of Reality, Goodness, Manifestation, the Absolute, Infinity, and All Possibility: “If in our daily experience we are confronted by things that are real at their own level—if ‘such and such’ realities actually exist in the world—this is because before all else there is Reality ‘as such’, which is not the world but by which the world comes to be. And if the world exists, it is because Reality as such, or the Absolute, includes Infinity or All-possibility, from which the world is a consequence and of which it is a content.”
Dharmakara's VowSchuon, Frithjof Vol. 4, No. 1. ( Winter, 1970) Buddhism
Bando discusses the Buddhist concept of jōbutso, also known as Enlightenment or the attainment of Buddhahood. He argues that Shinran’s Pure Land teaching differs in its conception of jōbutso in that in the Pure Land teaching, one cannot achieve Buddhahood in life, due to an inability to detach ourselves from the “defilement” of earthly life.
Soteriology in Shin Buddhism and its Modern SignificanceBando, Shojun Vol. 4, No. 1. ( Winter, 1970) Buddhism
Book Review
In this review, J.C. Cooper summarizes and supports this book by of Trungpa on the Buddhist emphasis on the experience of truth versus education via books and teachers alone. Cooper outlines the theme of Trungpa’s book in this accessible and short review. She praises the author’s use of allegories and parables, and ends the review with this praise: "In these days of so much pinchbeck Hindu and Buddhist writing, it is a relief and a privilege to be given the real gold."
Meditation in ActionTrungpa, Chogyam *Cooper, J.C. Vol. 4, No. 1. ( Winter, 1970) Buddhism
Book Review
The reviewer Marco Pallis praises the authors’ work in creating such a well-laid out book, according to Pallis this book provides a clear account of the daily life of Tibetans, including their clothing, housing and food. The arts and crafts of Tibet are also a main topic of the book, with a particular emphasis on handmade Tibetan rugs. The history of Tibet is also discussed in this book, up to the 20th century when Tibet became more affected by the British. The reviewer concludes that “A work like the present one is not merely a pointer to past Tibetan glories; indirectly it is a call to self questioning on the part of all who will read with attention, wherever they may belong.”
A Cultural History Of Tibetauthor(s), various *Pallis, Marco Vol. 3, No. 3. ( Summer, 1969) Buddhism
A short introductory note by the Editor describes this article as one whose interest is to “illustrates a normal characteristic of all traditional civilizations, namely the dependence of their arts (and sciences) on the religious principle.” “Sacred music was for the Tibetans an essential part of their spiritual endeavour,” the paper goes on to explain, giving a history of Tibetan spirituality and music and their intertwined nature.
Tibetan Music: Sacred and SecularLhalungpa, Lobsang Ph. Vol. 3, No. 2. ( Spring, 1969) Buddhism
“This idea of "grace," which translates a divine function, is by no means unintelligible in the light of traditional Buddhist teachings, being in fact implicit in every known form of spirituality, the Buddhist form included.” Marco Pallis attempts to reconcile the idea of grace within the Buddhist tradition, as well as delve into the Buddhist philosophies and compare these to other religions.
Is There Room for "Grace" in Buddhism?Pallis, Marco Vol. 2, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1968) Buddhism
G. J. Yorke’s discussion of Buddhist meditation begins with a brief history of Buddhism before delving into the practice of Buddhist meditation. Yorke outlines the various methods and practices within the tradition, and explains the philosophy behind the practices in simple, easy-to-understand language. Yorke also includes in his discussion both his personal experiences as well as guidelines for would be practitioners, making this article a useful resource for those wishing either a cursory introduction to Buddhism, or more advanced practitioners looking for direction.
Buddhist MeditationYorke, G.J. Vol. 2, No. 3. ( Summer, 1968) Buddhism
Responding to Donald H. Bishop’s article "Forgiveness in Religious Thought", Marco Pallis expands on the themes of mercy and forgiveness in the world religions, particularly in Buddhism. He discusses as well the necessary counterbalance of justice; the different manifestations of this principle in the world religions and some errors in perception regarding its role in the various religions.
Encounter of Mercy and JusticePallis, Marco Vol. 2, No. 3. ( Summer, 1968) Buddhism
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