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Wisdom of the East Buddhist Psalms translated from the Japanese of Shinran Shonin   By: (1173-1263)

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First Page:

WISDOM OF THE EAST

BUDDHIST PSALMS

TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE

OF

SHINRAN SHŌNIN

BY S. YAMABE AND L. ADAMS BECK

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

LAUDING THE INFINITE ONE

OF PARADISE

CONCERNING THE GREAT SUTRA

CONCERNING THE SUTRA OF THE MEDITATION

CONCERNING THE LESSER SUTRA

OF THE MANY SUTRAS CONCERNING THE INFINITE ONE

CONCERNING THE WELFARE OF THE PRESENT WORLD

OF THANKSGIVING FOR NAGARJUNA, THE GREAT TEACHER OF INDIA

OF THANKSGIVING FOR VASUBANDH, THE GREAT TEACHER OF INDIA

OF THANKSGIVING FOR DONRAN, THE GREAT TEACHER OF CHINA

CONCERNING UNRIGHTEOUS DEEDS

CONCERNING DOSHAKU ZENJI

CONCERNING ZENDO DAISHI

CONCERNING GENSHIN SOZU

CONCERNING HŌNEN SHŌNIN

OF THE THREE PERIODS

CONCERNING BELIEF AND DOUBT

IN PRAISE OF PRINCE SHOTOKU

WHEREIN WITH LAMENTATION I MAKE MY CONFESSION

ADDITIONAL PSALMS

INTRODUCTION

BY L. ADAMS BECK

It is a singular fact that though many of the earlier Buddhist Scriptures have been translated by competent scholars, comparatively little attention has been paid to later Buddhist devotional writings, and this although the developments of Buddhism in China and Japan give them the deepest interest as reflecting the spiritual mind of those two great countries. They cannot, however, be understood without some knowledge of the faith which passed so entirely into their life that in its growth it lost some of its own infant traits and took on others, rooted, no doubt, in the beginnings in India, but expanded and changed as the features of the child may be forgotten in the face of the man and yet perpetuate the unbroken succession of heredity. It is especially true that Japan cannot be understood without some knowledge of the Buddhism of the Greater Vehicle (as the developed form is called), for it was the influence that moulded her youth as a nation, that shaped her aspirations, and was the inspiration of her art, not only in the written word, but in every art and higher handicraftsmanship that makes her what she is. Whatever centuries may pass or the future hold in store for her, Japan can never lose the stamp of Buddhism in her outer or her spiritual life.

The world knows little as yet of the soul of Mahayana Buddhism, though much of its outer observance, and for this reason a crucial injustice has been done in regarding it merely as a degraded form of the earlier Buddhism—a rank off shoot of the teachings of the Gautama Buddha, a system of idolatry and priestly power from which the austere purity of the earlier faith has passed away.

The truth is that Buddhism, like Christianity, in every country where it has sowed its seed and reaped its harvest, developed along the lines indicated by the mind of that people. The Buddhism of Japan differs from that of Tibet as profoundly as the Christianity of Abyssinia from that of Scotland—yet both have conserved the essential principle.

Buddhism was not a dead abstraction, but a living faith, and it therefore grew and changed with the growth of the mind of man, enlarging its perception of truth. As in the other great faiths, the ascent of the Mount of Vision reveals worlds undreamed, and proclaims what may seem to be new truths, but are only new aspects of the Eternal. Japanese Buddhists still base their belief on the utterances of the Buddhas, but they have enlarged their conception of the truths so taught, and they hold that the new flower and fruit spring from the roots that were planted in dim ages before the Gautama Buddha taught in India, and have since rushed hundred armed to the sun. Such is the religious history of mankind, and Buddhism obeys its sequence.

The development of Mahayana Buddhism from the teaching of the Gautama Buddha has been often compared with that of the Christian faith from the Jewish, but it may be better compared with the growth of a sacerdotal system from the simplicities of the Gospel of St. Mark... Continue reading book >>




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