Two new releases in the Contemporary Issues in Buddhist Studies series

Richard Payne  |  October 30, 2013

Two new releases in the Contemporary Issues in Buddhist Studies series are:

Charles Willemen, A Collection of Important Odes of the Law: The Chinese Udānavarga

The Udānavarga is a thematically organized collection of important sayings in verse form used to teach the Buddhadharma. It is a key example of an important genre of Buddhist literature, the best known of which is the Dhammapada. While the latter is associated with the Theravāda school, and is preserved in Pāli, the Udānavarga is associated with the Sarvāstivāda school, and has been preserved in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese. It provides us with an understanding of how Buddhism was being represented in its early transmission to China. Charles Willemen’s heavily annotated translation of the Chinese version of the Udānavarga originally appeared in 1978. In addition to revising the text, he has updated the introduction to reflect the intervening three and a half decades of scholarship on the Sarvāstivāda. This edition also brings the translation together with the glossary, which had originally been published separately.

Charles Willemen: Obtained his Ph.D. in Belgium in 1971. Studied in Japan under H. Nakamura. Fullbright-Hayes Visiting Scholar at Harvard, East Asian Languages and Civilisations. Taught at many universities, including Banaras Hindu University, University of Calgary, Fudan University (Shanghai), International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies (Tokyo). Presently Rector of the International Buddhist College in Thailand, Nakhon Ratchasima. Publications: The Essence of Scholasticism. Abhidharmahṛdaya; The Chinese Hevajratantra; Defining The Image. Measurements in Image-making; Etc.


Fabio Rambelli, Zen Anarchism: The Egalitarian Dharma of Uchiyama Gudō

with an introduction by Sallie B. King

These essays from the fin de siècle Japanese Zen priest Uchiyama Gudō— collected, translated and introduced here by Fabio Rambelli—provide us entry into an aspect of Buddhist history that is otherwise little known, the relations that can be constructed between the buddhadharma and radical political critique and action. Uchiyama resisted the oppression and exploitation of his own parishioners by the political powersthat eventually led Japan into military adventurism and empire building. The importance of these works, however, reaches beyond the history of Buddhism in modern Japan to deepen our appreciation of the complexity of the tradition as a source for resisting modernity’s seemingly ever more pervasive forms of social control. For the adaptation of Buddhism to the present day, Uchiyama’s vision of Buddhism as a social critique may serve to confront the conformism, complacent self-satisfaction and narcissism of the consumerist appropriation of Buddhism as yet another commodity in the religio-therapeutic marketplace.

Fabio Rambelli obtained his Ph.D. in Italy in 1992. Studied in Japan under Yamaguchi Masao. Presently professor of Japanese religions and intellectual history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he holds the International Shinto Foundation Chair in Shinto Studies Publications include: Buddhas and Kami in Japan (with Mark Teeuwen); Vegetal Buddhas, Buddhist Materiality; Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (with Eric Reinders); and A Buddhist Theory of Semiotics. Currently working on representations of India in premodern Japan and on the history of the development of Shinto as related to global intellectual networks and their impact on Japanese culture.

Cross posted from Critical Reflections on Buddhist Thought.