NEW BOOK> BDK : Three Short Treatises by Vasubandhu, Sengzhao, and Zongmi

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ISBN: 978-1-886439-66-5

This volume contains three short texts:

  • A Mahayana Demonstration on the Theme of Action by Vasubandhu (Taishō 1609), translated by John P. Keenan.
  • Essays of Sengzhao (Taishō 1858), translated by Rafal Felbur.
  • Treatise on the Origin of Humanity by Zongmi (Taishō 1886), translated by Jan Yün-hua.

From the back cover:

Despite its brevity, A Mahayana Demonstration on the Theme of Action (Karmasiddhi-prakaraṇa), attributed to Vasubandhu and translated into Chinese by the scholar-monk Xuanzang, is a densely packed philosophical argumentation on the correct interpretation of scriptural references about the three kinds of actions of body, speech, and mind. The text reflects Yogācāra philosophy, including discussion of the storehouse consciousness (ālayavijñāna).

Sengzhao’s Essays (Zhao lun), comprising an introductory chapter, four essays, and an exchange of letters, can be seen as an extended meditation on sagehood, a perennial theme in Chinese religio-philosophical thought. These writings offer an original response to a set of concerns unique to Sengzhao, his community, and his times, and are an important voice in the religious speculation of early medieval China.

The Treatise on the Origin of Humanity (Yuanren lun) by the Huayan patriarch Zongmi classifies various teachings of Buddhism on a scale of relative profundity, and specifically critiques the weaknesses of the teachings of Confucianism and Daoism, which he regards as inferior to Buddhism. This work formed the basis for some of the arguments in later East Asian history on the relationship of the three teachings.

Available now from BDK America.