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1. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
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2. The Heart Sutra
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3. The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha
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4. The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries
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5. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
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6. The Lotus Sutra
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7. The Concealed Essence of the Hevajra
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8. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Sacred
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9. Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary
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10. The Diamond Sutra and the Sutra
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11. Integral Yoga: The Yoga Sutras
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12. The Knitting Sutra : Craft as
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13. The Essence of Yoga: Reflections
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14. Shaping The Lotus Sutra: Buddhist
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15. The Lankavatara Sutra: A Mahayana
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16. The Ultimate Dimension: An Advanced
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17. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth
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18. The Flower Ornament Scripture
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19. The Sutra of Hui-Neng: Grand Master
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20. The Supreme Source: The Fundamental

1. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
by B. K. S. Iyengar
list price: $21.95
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Asin: 0007145160
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Thorsons Publishers
Sales Rank: 68973
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book provided readers with a fresh and accessible translation of this ancient text. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The theory behind the practice
There was yoga before the time of Patanjali but it was not written down, or at least no text survives. We find elements of the practice in the Upanishads and of course in the Bhagavad Gita. But before Patanjali's codification there was no systematic text to guide the aspirant. Since then Patanjali's sutras have been translated into many languages along with commentary to elucidate the concise text, with Vyasa's commentary from the ninth century--upon which Iyengar makes some reliance--being the most important.

With the publication of this book a decade ago, B.K.S. Iyengar laid his claim to being one of the world's foremost experts not only on the practice of yoga--which he certainly is--but on its theory as well. Mark well that the bulk of what we call yoga stems from these pithy aphorisms first written down by the Indian sage Patanjali some eighteen hundred years ago.* One can see in this authoritative, comprehensive--indeed, nearly exhaustive--translation and commentary that Iyengar aspires to take his place among the great yogis of history.

For each of the 196 aphorisms (most texts have 195 omitting number 3.22 as superfluous, which Iyengar includes), Iyengar gives first the Sanskrit, then the Sanskrit in transliteration. Then he breaks down the expression into its individual words and gives an English translation of each word. Indeed he often gives several possible English equivalents for each Sanskrit word. Then he gives his English translation of the aphorism. In this way the reader can judge the fidelity of Iyengar's expression. Better yet, the reader can have reference to another translation (I have Ernest Wood's, Alistair Shearer's and Barbara Stoler Miller's in front of me, but there are many others) and compare the results, and in doing so, come to a fuller appreciation of Patanjali's sometimes enigmatic words.

Finally there are Iyengar's commentaries on each of the aphorisms, some of which cover several pages. Occasionally Iyengar gives tables for further clarification; indeed there are 18 tables and diagrams spread throughout the text. The sutras and commentary are framed with an Introduction, an Epilogue and four Appendices. There is a Glossary and an Index.

To be candid, there is more in this book than can be assimilated by most persons interested in yoga. Even the most sincere practitioners will find the information and interpretation given by Iyengar daunting. Some may also object to Iyengar's non-secular presentation. While he stops short of calling yoga a religion, it is only the word "religion" that is left out! Iyengar makes his position clear from the opening sutra which he translates as "With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga." Usually this opening statement is rendered simply as, "Now, instruction in yoga." In the Sanskrit there are only three words. Iyengar even identifies Patanjali as "an evolved soul incarnated of his own will to help humanity" who has "assumed human form, experienced our sorrow and joys, and learned to transcend them." (p. 1)

Clearly Iyengar is taking a more spiritual position in this book than he took in his famous treatise on hatha yoga, Light on Yoga, first published in 1965, although even there he calls yoga "the true union of our will with the will of God."

Personally, I have no problem with this. Properly understood, yoga is a religion if one so desires; and properly understood yoga is not a religion if that is what is appropriate. Most authorities believe that yoga works best as an adjunct to religion so that one can practice yoga and remain devout in one's own faith; in fact this is the usual practice. Furthermore, the emphasis here, as in all of Iyengar's work, is on the practical and the non-sectarian so that Iyengar's yoga is accessible and appropriate for persons of all faiths, and is in negation of none.

I should add that from the spiritual yogi's point of view the idea of God is not personal. Although Patanjali refers to Isvara as our Lord and as God, many authorities believe that this is an inexplicit augmentation of his text that one may take or leave as one sees fit. Indeed most yogis who embrace God embrace a God similar to the God of the Vedas; that is a God that is Ineffable about which nothing can be said, a God beyond any human comprehension, a God without any attributes that we could name.

By the way, Patanjali's yoga is often referred to as astanga yoga (astanga meaning "eight-limbed") because there are eight limbs or steps leading to liberation. It is also called raja yoga, the so-called king's yoga that comes after one has mastered the preliminaries of hatha yoga. More correctly however, hatha yoga and raja yoga are both integral parts of Patanjali's program with the purely physical aspects including asana and pranayama being mentioned but without any exposition. It wasn't until the middle ages and such works as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama that hatha yoga gained prominence as something separate.

There are four other yogas that have come down to us from ancient times that should not be confused with Patanjali's yoga. They are bhakti yoga, the yoga of faith and devotion; karma yoga, the yoga of selfless work; jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge; and tantric yoga, the mystical yoga of self-indulgence. All but the latter are mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita.

*Iyengar identifies Patanjali with the grammarian who lived some four hundred years earlier, but this is more of a traditional understanding than it is historical; most scholars including Georg Feuerstein and Mircea Eliade believe that Patanjali the grammarian and Patanjali the author of the Yoga Sutras are different persons who lived at different times.

Bottom line: this is as close to an essential work on Patanjali as I have read. Any serious aspirant should have this book and study it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well intentioned
Mr. Iyengar's translation and commentary on the Sutras is heavilly weighted and biased by his lifetime focus on hatha yoga. As a result, his commentary has neither the completenes of Satchidananda's "Yoga Sutras" nor the insightfulness of McAfee's "Beyond the Siddhis". But it does shed a different light on the sutras that can be appreciated by most of his yoga followers.

Barring his leaning toward arcane yogic language, the book is well written and easy to read. For completeness, all serious yogis should have a copy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Definitive Guide for the Aspiring Student
In today's world, the main problem with acquiring the knowledge of a new subject is the lack of contact with a learned teacher. Between traveling, busy daily schedules or just living in a place where there is no access to a learning facility, it is very difficult to pursue the topic of interest. Where the subject of yoga is concerned, B.K.S. Iyengar, a master of yogic knowledge and methods of practice, helps the hopeful student transverse this barrier by bringing to the masses his knowledge and direction in a series of wonderful books. He further enables the aspirant to better practice the vidhya (science) by developing easy to learn techniques and availing props to help in the process of practicing the techniques.

This particular book, Light on the Yoga Sutras, is an in-depth exposition of the philosophy behind the science of Yoga. It provides the student with the original sutras (verses) as written by Patanjali, the Indian sage who compiled the knowledge of yoga into written form over 2,000 years ago. The book then offers a translation and explanation of these sutras, effectively filling in the gaps of knowledge left by the intensely compact form of the original sutras.

From all my research into the subject when I first wanted to learn more about yoga, I can definitely say that this is one of the best books on the subject I have ever come across. B.K.S Iyengar provided me with the guidance and knowledge I needed to confidently pursue the subject without becoming discouraged.

I would recommend B.K.S Iyengar's Light on Yoga in addition to this book, for where this book provides the theory; Light on Yoga provides the practical methodology.
It is essential to fully understand both the practical and the theory to fully reap the benefits of yoga.

For those who want to delve even deeper into the science of yoga, Light on Pranayama the Yogic Art of Breathing provides one with the techniques and insight into the methods of breathing. It is a good addition as a learning aid, but not necessary until you are at ease with the asanas (postures) and have a good grasp of the theory and knowledge of yoga and are ready for more.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite translation of the yoga sutras
This is my favorite translation and commentary on the yoga sutras. Mr. Iyengar's direct way of communicating, along with his decades of deep personal practice, provide an insight into the sutras that few others can offer.

The practice of yoga does not require one to follow any specific religious discipline or belief, and this book reflects this. As Mr. Iyengar says, the Yoga Sutras provide one of the clearest descriptions of the human psyche ever written. Those wishing to deepen their understanding of this, through the practice of yoga or not, can benefit from this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Central to Yoga
Yoga and meditation are brought forth by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and most modern Yoga systems and teachings are based on what Patanjali wrote.BKS Iyengar has been practicing and teaching Yoga for more than 60 years, so it is only natural that he should give us his work on the Sutras.As all readers who really delve into this book will find, the sutras are very dynamic, their interpretations changeable, deeper and richer as the reader matures.This is the kind of book that never has to leave your side.You will be surprised how something that you've read again and again all of a sudden has new meaning and gives new perspective to your life and hopes. ... Read more

2. The Heart Sutra
by Red Pine
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 1593760094
Catlog: Book (2004-10-10)
Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard
Sales Rank: 32800
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Book Description

The short text of The Heart Sutra is Buddhism in a nutshell. It has had the most profound and wide-reaching influence of any text in Buddhism. Its full title, Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutra, "The Sutra of the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom," explains that this sutra contains the essence of the Buddha's teaching, the core of perfect enlightenment. It is the source of the famous and puzzling declaration, "form is emptiness, emptiness is form." For this new translation into English, Red Pine, award-winning translator of Chinese poetry and religious texts, has utilized various Sanskrit and Chinese versions, refining the teachings of dozens of ancient teachers together with his own commentary to offer a profound word-for-word explication. The result is a wise book of deep teaching destined to become the standard edition of this timeless statement of Mahayana truth. ... Read more

3. The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha on Strategies for Managing Your Business and Your Life
list price: $23.95
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Asin: 0385497903
Catlog: Book (2000-02)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 100961
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Other Buddhist books offer you a path to happiness, Geshe Michael Roach offers a path to wealth. Roach, who while being a monk helped build a $100 million business, demonstrates how ancient notions in The Diamond Cutter sutra can help you succeed, and if you're in business that means to make money, a lot of it. Drawing on lessons he learned in the diamond business and years in Buddhist monasteries, Roach shows how taking care of others is the ultimate path to taking care of oneself, even--especially--in business. As he puts it, you have to engage in "mental gardening," which means doing certain practical things that will form new habits that will create an ideal reality for you. If this sounds a little outrageous, his very precise instructions are down to earth and address numerous specific issues common to the business/management world. Through this practice, you will become a considerate, generous, introspective, creative person of immense integrity, and that will be the key to your wealth. At first this book comes off like a gimmick and the writing isn't without rough patches, but page by page, as Roach introduces you to the practical details and real-life examples, his arguments become more convincing. A cross between the Dalai Lama's ethics and Stephen Covey's Seven Habits, The Diamond Cutter will have you gardening a path to the bank. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Read for Buddhists and Non-Buddhists.
I had never heard of Michael Roach until I searched out Shoutcast (Internet Radio) and found the Tibetan Buddhist station. Being of that tradition, I was delighted to find the station.

The program that was on at that time was Dharma talks by Michael on The Heart Sutra, a most important Buddhist teaching.

I was so taken with his messages and the way he could get these deep ideas across so easily that I wanted to learn more about him. That's when I discovered that he had a new book out, The Diamond Cutter. So I bought a copy at Amazon.

Michael spent many years in the New York Diamond industry. He explains that he was attracted to diamonds because they are the hardest form in the universe.

This book is about business. It is about the problems that we all encounter in business daily. And it tells us how to handle the problem and why every problem has a cause, perhaps not in this lifetime but in some lifetime.

Michael clearly explains why some people who are greedy and unkind are successful. No, it's nothing they've done in this life but rather they did something of merit in another life that brought the wealth in this lifetime. But in another lifetime they will reap the Karma they're now sowing.

He tells us that if we wish to be wealthy, we need to be generous with our money and our time.

Michael uses his vast knowledge of the diamond industry to teach business ethics from a Buddhist perspective based on the all-important teaching of Lord Buddha in His Diamond Cutter (Vajrachchedika sutra).

I highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who cares about their business, their relationships, their finances and their life in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
I first have to say that I did not buy this so much for the business angle--I'm more just on the lookout for any new Buddhist material I can find. This is probably the freshest book in the realm of "American Buddhism" that I've read in the last year. I hadn't heard of Roach before, but I now feel that he truly is one of the most important Buddhist teachers in the U.S. today. (If you haven't already seen it you should look at the interview Amazon did with him.) The writing in Diamond Cutter isn't always so great, but Roach has a superior talent for explaining elements of Tibetan Buddhism in a way that is light years ahead of many other books out there in terms of accessibility. Perhaps that's because he is American born, so he really knows how to communicate with his contemporaries, but even beyond that he appears to have a great mind. This isn't great as a Buddhist primer, but if you are at all familiar with Buddhism you'll probably get some real insights out of this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that changed my business
I run a small business for more than 10 years now and have my share of ups and downs, from facing near bankruptcy to hitting big contracts. But whatever the outcome, I am always short of money and I am constantly struggling to make ends meet. That is, until I read this book. It has changed my business. I now find money flowing in without me chasing after it and I work less than before. To all of you out there who are struggling in business or in your personal life, buy this book and follow the principles. They work and they will make you a better person.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism for open-minded sceptics
For all the "suits" out there: You've tried every business fad from empowerment to micromanagement; why not try something with a real track record?

As a busy manager, the book suited me perfectly. Geshe Roach gives you the no mumbo jumbo, how to test Buddhism in the work place guide. Most people who have studied Buddhism as deeply as Roach can't explain it well and especially to a business person. No such problems here. The book demonstrates his knowledge of real-life business situations enough to make him convincing for sceptical business people and explains only the salient points of Buddhist practice.

1-0 out of 5 stars Blood Diamonds
Sort of Buddha for dummies who want money type of book. When one reads about the West African bloobaths commited over these stupid little stones it might be a better use of Roachs' skills to start a boycott of diamonds ... Read more

4. The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra
by Thich Nhat Hanh, Peter Levitt
list price: $8.00
our price: $7.20
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Asin: 0938077112
Catlog: Book (1988-09-01)
Publisher: Parallax Press
Sales Rank: 43046
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

regarded as the essence of Buddhist teaching ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an absolute gem
In a very few words, Thich Nhat Hanh puts in very simple terms what many of us struggle to come to terms with - the esoteric Dharma-teachings on emptiness. Perhaps it's the Zen-born simplicity that makes this treatise so approachable and readable.

This would be a good book for newcomers to Buddhism who hear about emptiness and hairs stand up on the back of their neck. A gentle and skilful introduction to profundity.

A must read for anyone with an interest in emptiness as applied in our conventional world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible wisdom made accessible.
Thich Nhat Hanh sheds light on this superb Buddhist text. The paradoxical language of the scripture is important to convey the illusory qualities of emptiness and individual existence. Unfortunately this language makes it extremely difficult to understand. Hanh takes this esoteric teaching and explains it to a child. I recommend any of his sutra translations and commentaries.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
A Nobel Peace Prize candidate, Thich Nhat Hanh explains in easy to understand language, what this paradoxical concept of emptiness means in Buddhism. This should be a good book to start off with if interested in Buddhism or emptiness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like Meditating
Just reading the first couple paragraphs of this book was like, "aaaahhh..." Completely relaxing. The writer's message and style is simple yet poetic, and very important--how to not be afraid. This is the first Buddhist book I have ever picked up, being that I had only studied Buddhism from the classroom/historical aspect, and never viewed it in any way as something I would actually connect to or practice in my life. Now I can. This book is refreshing, short, easy to read. I would recommend it to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clearly written, very accessible.
This was the first book I read by Thich Nhat Hanh. I had heard a lot about him prior to this. When I read the book, I could easily see why there is so much excitement about him and his works. He writes in a very clear, very accessible style. This book is a commentary on the Heart Sutra. The Heart Sutra is said to contain the essence of Buddhist teachings. I would recommend any book written by Thich Nhat Hanh! ... Read more

5. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
by Sri S. Satchidananda
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 0932040381
Catlog: Book (1990-10-01)
Publisher: Integral Yoga Publications
Sales Rank: 8208
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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From the Publisher

This valuable book provides a complete manual for the study and practice of Raja Yoga, the path of concentration and meditation. This new deluxe printing of these timeless teachings is a treasure to be read and referred to again and again by seekers treading the spiritual path.The classic Sutras (thought-threads), at least 4,000 years old, cover the yogic teachings on ethics, meditation, and physical postures, and provide directions for dealing with situations in daily life. The Sutras are presented here in the purest form, with the original Sanskrit and with translation, transliteration, and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda, one of the most respected and revered contemporary Yoga masters. In this classic context, Sri Swamiji offers practical advice based on his own experience for mastering the mind and achieving physical, mental and emotional harmony. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Practical,humorous, guidance from an enlightened teacher
I am not a 'follower' of Swami Satchidananda. I have previously studied Indian philosophy from an academic view. That is not the audience for this book. I personally have only tried to make Indian philosophy part of my life when outside sufferings force me to. This is a book for that! Swami Satchidananda's whole style is warm, straightforward and very modern. He never compromises the truth of the teachings, but his tone is beautifully supportive and gentle. If your desire is to try to understand the truth of the Yoga Sutras in your current life situation then I can't imagine a better book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the philosophy of yoga
This is *the* book to refer to get a proper understanding of the philosophy of Yoga.

I have gone through other books ( B. K. S. Iyengar , Georg Feuerstein , Swami Prabhavananda ) and some audio cassetes on the Yoga Sutras.
This is by far the best book on the subject. The sutras are beautifully explained in layman terms with ample annotations. The sutras in samadhi pada and sadhana pada are covered extensively.

Whenever there was a discrepency in the translation among different authors (such as sutras 18,19,33 of sadhana pada, which have been interpreted very differently) I found the translation and explanation in this book to be most logical, intuitive and complete.

5-0 out of 5 stars *ad hominem* argumentation/attack doesn't belong here!
I question why it is that Amazon allows the so-called "reviews" by "A Reader from Japan" and by "Sarah Ostrinsky from New York, NY USA" to remain on this page. Neither person has indicated, intimated, or even suggested by inference that he/she has *read* the book! ... and neither has said ANYTHING about the book.

I'm not seeking reviews of the author's conjectured life style, and I doubt whether most other readers here are, either. There are other places for folks to spout off about their opinions regarding rumored hearsay gossip. It doesn't belong here! SHAME ON AMAZON for allowing these NON-reviewers' comments to remain here, and for allowing their one-star ratings to influence this book's overall rating. Furthermore, the two above-noted reviews violate several tenets of Amazon's "review guidelines" [], about which violations Amazon claims that "[a]ny review in violation of these guidelines will not be posted."

I wish Amazon would be more careful regarding what they filter out and what they let stand in these reviews sections. Understaffed? Amazon, are you hiring?

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremely well done but still leaves questions
Swami Satchidananda's book on the Sutras is one of the best for digging into the background and foundations of the Sutras, and his commentary, unlike Iyengar's and most other eastern commentaries, is clear, simple and easy to understand. Yet I finished the book still feeling that I did not fully grasp it. Swami Satchidananda is clearly in touch with the truth that he is illuminating with this book, and it's also clear from the powerful tone of authority with which he writes that he has reached the state of awaking which is the end purpose of the Sutras, but it seems too immersed in the history and culture of Hinduism to be fully appreciated and grasped by a westerm mind conditioned by concepts, ideas and images that are vastly different from the eastern traditions. So the book does not have a deep and profound illuminating impact as has McAfee's book on the sutras - "Beyond the Siddhis". But it is rich in historical information and its tone is true to the purpose of the Sutras. I would recommend it for for all aspiring yogis.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily simple and practical
The simplicity of comentary given by Swami is surely due to his own direct experience with the Truth. The instances discussed are practical as they are simple and direct!!! ... Read more

6. The Lotus Sutra
by Burton Watson
list price: $23.50
our price: $21.00
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Asin: 0231081618
Catlog: Book (1993-04-15)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Sales Rank: 142045
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Since its appearance in China in the third century, has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of the world, it has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature, attracting more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture.As Watson notes in the introduction to his remarkable translation, " is not so much an integral work as a collection of religious texts, an anthology of sermons, stories, and devotional manuals, some speaking with particular force to persons of one type or in one set of circumstances, some to those of another type or in other circumstances. This is no doubt why it has had such broad and lasting appeal over the ages and has permeated so deeply into the cultures that have been exposed to it." ... Read more

Reviews (17)

Watson's translation of the Lotus Sutra is an incredibly scholar work, and instead of using verbose words that may confuse the reader, he makes it applicable to the most simple direct language that the reader can easily read and understand.

Many who bought this book revere the text in itself because of the profound message that this sutra teaches. Its Buddhist message on the importance of Bodhisattva and the equality of Buddhahood has been very easy to access to read, unlike previous translations of the Lotus Sutra in the past.

The original translation of the Lotus Sutra are many, I suppose that one can easily pick a choice of the Pali text, or Japanese text, but that is the simplified purpose of this new translation of the Lotus Sutra, and since that Watson is a reliable translator who produces scholarly unbiased work, his work is accepted into the mainstream public approval.

Classical Chinese can split in its meaning, and Burton Watson truly notes the many times that the classic interpretation might be used in the text. Footnotes on these split translations may be found in the book. The word "Ho" is easily translated as Dharma, Law, etc. Watson's incredible powers of translation puts into the meaning of the word "Law" in its proper context within the book.

The Threefold Lotus Sutra is what many are also familiar with, this is a general title of a compiled 3 independent sutras. But one must realize that the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful law is an independent sutra of its own. All fascicles of the 28 chapters of the Lotus Sutra are intact and complete, with NO omitted chapters whatsoever.

All in all, I find this sutra without flaw but with great ease, style and scholar quality for all people to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of Buddhism - Masterfully Translated by Watson
This new translation of the most important scripture in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition has a special value. Not only is it reliable, but Burton Watson's rendition all but sings. Translated directly from the Chinese Kumarajiva version, regarded as the most historically legitimate version, this complete and straightforward Lotus Sutra is recommended for its accessibility and its seriousness of purpose.

Since its appearance in China in the third century, the Lotus Sutra has been regarded as one of the most illustrious scriptures in the Mahayana Buddhist canon. The object of intense veneration among generations of Buddhists in China, Korea, Japan, and other parts of East Asia, it has attracted more commentary than any other Buddhist scripture and has had a profound impact on the great works of Japanese and Chinese literature.

Conceived as a drama of colossal proportions, the text takes on new meaning in Burton Watson's translation. Depicting events in a cosmic world that transcends ordinary concepts of time and space, The Lotus Sutra presents abstract religious concepts in concrete terms and affirms that there is a single path to enlightenment--that of the bodhisattva--and that the Buddha is not to be limited by time and space. Filled with striking imagery, memorable parables, and countless revelations concerning the universal accessibility of Buddhahood, The Lotus Sutra has brought comfort and wisdom to devotees over the centuries and stands as a pivotal text in world literature.

2-0 out of 5 stars Got comparison?
Readers seem to rate a text for its mere appearance/publication or its importance within the larger framework of Buddhist texts, than for the quality of its translation. Now, how many people have actually compared the original to the translation? Few, I guess. Yet most of the readers give a high rating. I find that unplausible.
Even without mastering (Classical) Chinese (from which this translation is done), someone with some experience in Buddhist rhetoric will find some things to remark:
* Classical Chinese lends itself to different interpretations, leaving a certain arbitrariness in translation (in syntax).
* Words like 'the Law' and 'the Laws' or 'Dharma' need contextual interpretation. I don't doubt Watson is a good translator, but I wished some notes were included where ambiguity of terms exists.
* Leaving passages or whole chapters out is a pity. For a complete published edition leaves the reader to choose which chapters to skip.

5-0 out of 5 stars A central text in Mahayana Buddhism
The Lotus Sutra is a vitally important text for anyone interested in Mahayana Buddhism, both in Japan and elswhere in Asia. It contains the doctrines which had enabled Buddhism to adapt itself to local cultures and thus become one of the most successful missionary religions in history. Highly recommended to students of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy, but should be accessible to the general audience as well. As for the translation: Burton Watson is a brilliant and talented translator, and his work is both academically impeccable and literarily of the highest quality. In short, highly recommended reading. (my credentials: graduate student Philosophy/East Asian Studies in Tel Aviv University)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shakyamuni's ultimate message
The Lotus Sutra is considered by many to be the last and ultimate testimony of Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of Buddhism and the first historical Buddha. The Lotus Sutra marks the culmination of his teachings, flawless in both word and principle----and applicable to all sentient beings. Unlike other sutras, the Lotus Sutra advocates a great deal of Bodhisattva (altruism) thought as the supreme path to Buddhahood.

Watson's translation of the Lotus Sutra is highly valued due to the enormous experience he has had translating both Chinese and Japanese literature. One will find this translation to be much more concise and easy to read, and without the enormous verbosity and euphemisms that other translators in the past have included. Since it's apperance in 255 C.E., the Lotus Sutra has gained the attention of many Mahayana Buddhists for it strongly advocates the enlightenment of all beings regardless of age, sex, social status, gender or lifestyle. In addition to this, the Lotus Sutra has been renowned to carry the popular movement of Nichiren Buddhism, advocating its Japanese title of Myoho-Renge-Kyo as the ultimate way to Buddhahood.

What is striking about the Lotus sutra is its great emphasis on the enlightenment of the mass, and the ability to all to utilize their own expedient way to happiness. One should pay close attention to the 2nd and 16th chapter to see Burton's great effort in taking such a task. Other chapters such as the Ho-Shi (Ch. 10) and Kanzeon Bosatsu Fumon (Ch.25) also illuminate the text's great appeal to human problems and compassion. Seemingly magical scenarios from this provocative text has caused many to label it as if it were a show of melodrama. But Burton's translation presents more than just a melodramatic show. Using concise and readable description, this translation brings great beauty to the text and its humanistic message to all people.

The Lotus Sutra has many beautiful tales. Beloved characters like Shariputra, Devadatta and Kishimojin and Kanzeon Bosatsu are also here. Burton translated this book with great care in simplicity, while maintaining all the important concepts and message which runs through this whole book. Each chapter is divided with a prose and a verse form, so all of us can choose which one we'd like to study. No chapters or fascicles have been left out, and the first and last sutra that come before and after this text are independent of each other. Each chapter is divided with a prose and a verse form, so all of us can choose which one we'd like to study. ... Read more

7. The Concealed Essence of the Hevajra Tantra: With the Commentary Yogaratnamala
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Asin: 8120809114
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Pub
Sales Rank: 637712
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The treatise is composed of discourses between the Bhagavan Buddha and his disciple Vajragarba, and includes discourses between the Bhagavan and his consort. The Hevajra Tantra, like other Buddhist Sutras and Tantras, commences with the Nidanavakyam--evam maya srutam (Thus have I heard). This is the source for the expose of the Upaya, The means, the modes of practice. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books on Tantric Buddhism!
This is one of the most important texts published on Buddhist Tantra in english! It is a MUST for anyone who practices Vajrayana.

The authors have utilized the original Sanskrit source texts to give a seminal translation that is true to the spirit and word of the great Indian masters (Mahasiddhas) of enlightenment (Mahamudra), and it is a true treasure trove of wisdom to the initiate of Vajrayana Buddhism.

The text includes both the Sanskrit and English, side by side, so you can easily follow along, as well as the original ancient commentary on this important esoteric work.

It is only to be hoped that the authors (Farrow and Menon) publish more of their translations soon, including the forthcoming Candamaharoshana Tantra, and that more Tantric source texts will be translated and made available to the public.

The Tibetans do not rely on the source texts, and for the most part do not teach these texts, or recommend them to their students enough. It is to be hoped that any students of the Sakyapa who have taken the initiation of Hevajra will read this book, including anyone who is holding "anuttara" samaya for Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, and the other Yogini tantras.

It is essential to have these kind of source texts to understand the context of Tantra, and the samaya that is to be upheld by the Sadhaka (initiate). ... Read more

8. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Sacred Teachings)
by Pataanjali, Alistair Shearer
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Asin: 0609609599
Catlog: Book (2002-01-08)
Publisher: Harmony/Bell Tower
Sales Rank: 319152
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“A wonderful translation, full of contemporary insight yet luminous with eternal truth.” —Jacob Needleman

The Yoga Sutras were cast in their present form in India around the third century b.c. Yoga is from the Sanskrit root meaning “union,” and a sutra is a thread or aphoristic verse. The basic questions “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What is the purpose of life?” are asked by each new generation, and Patanjali’s answers form one of the oldest and most vibrant spiritual texts in the world. He explains what yoga is, how it works, and exactly how to purify the mind and let it settle into absolute stillness. This stillness is our own Self. It is the indispensable ground for Enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of all our aspirations.

Alistair Shearer’s lucid introduction and superb translation, fully preserving Patanjali’s jewel-like style, bring these ancient but vital teachings to those who seek the path of self-knowledge today.

Bell Tower’s series, Sacred Teachings, offers essential spiritual classics from all traditions. May each book become a trusted companion on the way of truth, encouraging readers to study the wisdom of the ages and put it into practice each day.
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Engaging translation but not the best commentary
This book was first published in London in 1982 as Effortless Being: the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I assume the translation of the sutras is the same while Shearer, who is a disciple of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has updated his Introduction. The text is presented in a sky blue color that is easy on the eyes and does not distract from the meaning of the words. The design by Barbara Sturman is indeed very attractive while the small size of the book (4.75 by 6.25 by 0.75 inches) makes for easy portability.

The translation itself takes up about one-third of the book while Shearer's commentary takes up most of the rest. The translation is strikingly original and interpretative. Patanjali's famous first line, which I recall most agreeably as "Now, instruction in yoga" (which I have from Ernest Egerton Wood's Practical Yoga, 1948) is presented as "And now the teaching on yoga begins." B.K.S. Iyengar, in his Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1993), which I highly recommend in addition to this book, has "With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga."

Clearly the differences with this first line are mainly stylistic with Iyengar emphasizing a spiritual and religious tone while Wood's aim was to reflect Patanjali's succinct style, with Shearer looking for lucidity and an affinity with the modern English expression. But let's look at the second sutra. Shearer's "Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence" is very pretty, and when one realizes that "silence" to Shearer is akin to godliness (he quotes Meister Eckhart on page 24: "Nothing in all creation is so like God as silence"), it works in a symbolic sense as well. Professor Wood's "Yoga is the control of the ideas in the mind" places a very different emphasis. But in Shearer's understanding, the idea of "control" is inappropriate. He sees instead that "Once pointed in the right direction, the mind will begin to settle down of its own accord. It needs no control or forcible restraint." (p. 68)

From my experience (I began my practice of yoga in 1974) both of these ideas are correct; and indeed it is a synthesis of conscious control of the ideas of the mind along with a sense of falling away that leads to meditation and samadhi. It is a mistake to imagine that one makes no effort, since it is the very essence of yoga that one does indeed make an effort and uses technique in order to find liberation (rather than, say, faith or knowledge). Yoga is above all a practice and nothing in it can be fully appreciated without practice. But it is also a mistake to think that one can through force of will achieve samadhi. What is required is a controlled practice in which one leads the reluctant mind and body to a place of relaxed concentration in which meditation is allowed to take place.

But let's now look at how Iyengar translates this famous second aphorism: "Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness." He adds, "This vital sutra contains the definition of yoga: the control or restraint of the movement of consciousness, leading to their complete cessation." (Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, p. 46)

While I think Shearer's translation is very much worthwhile, I am less enthusiastic about his interpretation. He devotes the last part of his Introduction to the famous "siddhas" (psychic powers). He attempts to justify and explain them in terms of quantum mechanics, averring that "the subatomic universe...reveals a reality that is every bit as strange as Patanjali's." (p. 79) He even compares the superfluidity of helium near absolute zero to what is possible in the "least excited state of awareness" (i.e., the self in samadhi). This sophistic suggestion, which has largely been discredited, at least in the scientific community, relies on the false belief that the human mind (a macro object all the way down to the molecular level) can in some way operate on the quantum level. This is "New Age" babble of the most annoying sort and does not in any way explain the so-called psychic powers. Anyone who has practiced yoga long enough and has become adept at meditation has experienced these psychic powers, but realizes that they are phenomena of the mind and have nothing to do with ordinary consciousness or ordinary experience. They are--and this is why they are valuable and why Patanjali mentions them--signposts on the way to samadhi. When one experiences a siddha, it is an indication that one has stilled the ordinary mind and is making progress. I don't think Shearer really understands this.

I could also take exception to his interpretation of some of the limbs of Patanjali's yoga, or express my appreciation of some of his insights. For example, I think his translation of shaucha (sauca) as "simplicity" instead of the usual "cleanliness" or "purity" is very agreeable. On the other hand, I could disagree with his interpretation of brahmacharya as something more than celibacy. I think brahmacharya means exactly that, celibacy. Or I could find his idea that pratyahara is akin to William Blake's "closing the doors of perception" (p. 68) interesting and worth adding to the regular meaning of "withdrawal of the senses." But these fine distinctions would be beside the point. Note well that the sole purpose of Patanjali's yoga is liberation from the pair of opposites (pleasure and pain) that dominate our lives. The word "samadhi" (the goal of yoga) means both the highest level of meditation and something akin to the Buddhist "satori," or enlightenment. All of yoga is a means to this end.

For anyone beginning their yoga practice this book can help, but it should be understood that reading this or any other translation and interpretation of Patanjali's yoga sutras is only the beginning and is actually worthless without the concomitant practice of yoga.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
An excellent translation and commentary. This book should be ranked with commentaries of yoga masters such as McAfee's "Beyond the Siddhis" and Satchidananda's "Yoga Sutras", as one of the best books available on Patanjali's sutras. It is well written, focused, easily understood and goes to the core of the sutras - self understanding, with great insight. Shearer has done a great job. ... Read more

9. Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Satyananda Saraswati
list price: $25.00
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Asin: 8185787182
Catlog: Book (2002-12)
Publisher: Yoga Pubns Trust
Sales Rank: 385603
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Book Description

Four Chapters on Freedom contains the full Sanskrit text of Rishi patanjali's Yoga sutras as well as transliteration,translation and an extensive commentary.The Yoga Sutras,containing 196 epithets or threads of Yoga,is the most respected treatise on Yoga.In his commentary on each verse,Swami Satyananda Saraswati fully explains the text and the path of raja yoga.

Serious yogic aspirants and spiritual seekers will find invaluable guidance within these pages. ... Read more

10. The Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui-Neng (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
by A. F. Price, Wong Mou-lam
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Asin: 0877730059
Catlog: Book (1974-05-12)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 47753
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

That is to say, he should practice charity without regard to appearances; without regard to sound, odor, touch, flavor or any quality. Subhuti, thus should the Bodhisattva practice charity without attachment. Wherefore? In such a case his merit is incalculable. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Summary of Buddhist Wisdom
The diamond sutra is the oldest extant book in the world. It has been described as a concise summary of the entirety of Buddhist thought. The name diamond is associated with it because it cuts through all of the different dogmas, systems of thought, and attempts to reveal reality as directly as possible. The 32 chapters (1-3 pages each) can be read in a single sitting.

The sutra of Hui-Neng is also included which is a longer, more biographical work by the sixth patriarch that serves as a commentary on the Diamond Sutra. The most enjoyable part of this work is a poetry contest held by the fifth patriarch. This contest was open to any of the monks but was effectively between the star student that was well respected but did not have a proper understanding of the Dharma (teaching) and the anonymous, low-born, illiterate Hui-Neng that had no social standing or formal knowlege, but understood the Dharma. Here is the classic exchange (paraphrased from memory):

Good Student:

The body is the bodhi tree and
The mind a mirror bright
Carefully we clean it day by day
So no dust may alight


There is no bodhi tree
Nor a mirror bright
Since all is void and empty
Where can the dust alight?

I recommend this book to anyone serious about learing about the essence of Buddhism as opposed to the rituals and systems of thought associated with it. As the sutra says: The religion given by Buddha is not Buddha religion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Translation
Sutra translation into English is absolutely no easy task, yet A.F. Price does an excellent job here. The Diamond Sutra is probably the singlemost important sutra to all of Mahayana Buddhism, and particularly those schools of Zen. For those unfamiliar with this sutra, it is simply a dialogue between Subhuti, Buddha's disciple-and the Buddha himself.

The Diamond Sutra says, "All things that appear in this world are transient. If you view all appearances as nonappearance, then you will see the true Buddha.'' "All things that exist are like a dream, a phantom, a bubble, a reflection; they are like dew or lightning; thus should you view them.'' "If you are attached to color and sound and want to see your true nature, you are on the wrong path.''

This sutra demonstrates, in it's basic presentation, how the mind that discriminates this from that: I like this, I don't like that/ correct/incorrect-is forever chained to delusion. But a Buddha cuts through all opposites thinking. A Buddha sees past the evident and does some investigation. Understanding does not help us-action is understanding! Basically our ideas blind our eyes-but our eyes originally have no idea-they just look. So if we can attain a mind like that, a just looking mind, not a same/different mind-we can take true steps toward liberation.

Then we have the Sutra of Hui neng, another Buddhist classic. Hui Neng, as many of you may know-was the 6th Zen Patriarch in China. Hui Neng heard just a very few lines from the Diamond Sutra and completely understood himself with no practice at all. But he had a lot of karma. Many were trying to kill him for having received transmission from a very famous Zen Master, the Fifth Patriarch, and became the Sixth Patriarch with no training, no education. He had a lot of karma for all these people were trying to stick a knife in his back. So he had to go away in the forest for sixteen years and live with hunters and kill, living under trees with no roof over his head. Finally, after that length of time, he came out and took the Precepts and became a monk before he began teaching.

So The Sutra of Hui neng is almost like an autobiography of Hui Neng-a somewhat brief one-yet quite deep and insightful. So toss this book up, it always lands heads. Read this book often-it may seem slow at parts due to the ancient dialects-but true wisdom is on every page. Read it enough times, and your minds eye can open up! So what, [money] for this kind of crazy man's wisdom-what a bargain! Enjoy:)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for everyone's mind
One of the most profound work of Buddha's teaching I have ever read. This book has inspired me and awaken my heart to put forth more effort towards my continuous strive. I pray everyone will have a chance to read and benefit from this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most profound sacred writing I ever read
The *Diamond Sutra* is a fundamental Zen text. It is very brief, very subtle, full of the most profound wisdom. I think it is the closest I have ever seen in words to approximating the absolutely ineffable truth of the Dharma. This is a wonderful translation. This is a profound sacred text, perhaps not appropriate for beginners, who will most likely find it inscrutable, but for souls who have experienced something of the Ineffable themselves.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Original Translation of Hui-Neng's sutra
I believe this was the original English translation (completed in the 1920's or 30's) of the Sutra of Hui-Neng, the 6th patriarch of Zen Buddhism. As such, it is a fine and sensitive effort and stands as a historical landmark in Zen's introduction to the West, but the translator was not a native English speaker, if I understand it correctly. To my taste at least, a better -- and more recent -- translation is that by Thomas Cleary. ... Read more

11. Integral Yoga: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
by Sri Swami Satchidananda
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Asin: 0932040284
Catlog: Book (1985-07-01)
Publisher: Integral Yoga Publications
Sales Rank: 151180
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12. The Knitting Sutra : Craft as a Spiritual Practice
list price: $12.95
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Asin: 0767916336
Catlog: Book (2004-04-27)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 77970
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Book Description

When Susan Gordon Lydon was coping with a broken arm, her knitting took on new significance. While knitting was essential to strengthening her hands, it also provided her with a newfound sense of peace and creativity, along with a meditative yet productive pursuit. Immersed in brilliant colors, textures, and images of beautiful sweaters, Lydon began to focus on her emotional life in a way she had never imagined.

Capturing this journey of discovery, The Knitting Sutra recounts her remarkable membership in a community of craftswomen around the world, from sweater makers in Scotland to Navajo weavers, and the adventures that her craft led her on.

In gentle, reflective prose, Lydon’s story conveys how the lessons she learned from knitting, such as stillness and interdependence, later sustained her through a cancer diagnosis and shaped her perspective. Beautifully designed, in a package as vivid as Lydon’s writing, The Knitting Sutra is both a meditation on craft and an affirmation for anyone seeking heartfelt comfort.

... Read more

13. The Essence of Yoga: Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Putanjali
by Bernard Bouanchaud, Rosemary Desneux
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0915801698
Catlog: Book (1997-06-01)
Publisher: Sterling Publishing
Sales Rank: 410273
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Go straight to the heart of yogic teachings! Too often, Westerners perform the yoga positions without considering the form's underlying philosophy and spiritual dimension. For the first time, in this new and elegant translation from the Sanskrit, all the sutras appear in an accessible question-and-answer format, along with special queries that encourage self-reflection. The result is a treasure trove of insight.275 pages, 1 b/w illus., 6 x 9.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Think on these...
What an amazing reflection on the sturas! Bouanchaud does an exceptional job breaking down the sutras into managable chunks, with leading questions to help you personalize and internalize the ancient text. Giving the sanskrit words and pronunciation along side the english is also helpful. The "table of contents" listing of each sutra at the beginning of the book is a wonderful way to find the sutra you seek, though they are all such phenominal concepts to think on. The questions for each sutra are wonderful to start a yoga class, a conversation, or just a way to start your thought process rolling. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, it will change the way you see things!

5-0 out of 5 stars Next best thing to studying w/ an exceptional teacher
I have actively studied this book for over 2 years. It is the next best thing to studying with a learned scholar & practitioner. While studying w/ two such teachers, I have used several translations. While they all have their merits, none are as good as this for conveying an understanding of the work as a whole and it's relevance to perennial human concerns. The literal translation of each sutra is the least vauable part of the book and here I can see room for some debate on a few individual sutras. More valuable, however, is the commentary and discussion. Here the book excels, like a good teacher. I found the occasional scholarly tangential discussion of Samkhya and Ayurveda quite useful and relevant to better understand the overall content. If I had to recommend just one sutra book, this would be it.

3-0 out of 5 stars A decent book on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
I ordered this book from Amazon and was amazed by the structure and content of this presentation. The only factor that may distract the careful reader is that it is a translation from French and by no means it is perfect. Some misspelling remained and there are some sentences that leave the reader clueless (not necessarily because of the cosmic info transmitted). The original work must be a decent piece, it is a pity that its translation is less accurate.

If really interested in the Yoga Sutras, by I.K. Taimni's 'The Science of Yoga', which is exactly about the same topic, discussing the Yoga Sutras, but really in-depth. ... Read more

14. Shaping The Lotus Sutra: Buddhist Visual Culture In Medieval China
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Asin: 0295984627
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Sales Rank: 481993
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Book Description

The Lotus Sutra has been the most widely read and most revered Buddhist scripture in East Asia since its translation in the third century. The miracles and parables in the "king of sutras" inspired a variety of images in China, in particular the sweeping compositions known as transformation tableaux that developed between the seventh and ninth centuries. Surviving examples in murals painted on cave walls or carved in relief on Buddhist monuments depict celestial journeys, bodily metamorphoses, cycles of rebirth, and the achievement of nirvana. Yet the cosmos revealed in these tableaux is strikingly different from that found in the text of the sutra. Shaping the Lotus Sutra explores this visual world.

Challenging long-held assumptions about Buddhist art, Eugene Wang treats it as a window to an animated and spirited world. Rather than focus on individual murals as isolated compositions, Wang views the entire body of pictures adorning a cave shrine or a pagoda as a visual mapping of an imaginary topography that encompasses different temporal and spatial domains. He demonstrates that the text of the Lotus Sutra does not fully explain the pictures and that a picture, or a series of them, constitutes its own "text." In exploring how religious pictures sublimate cultural aspirations, he shows that they can serve both political and religious agendas and that different social forces can co-exist within the same visual program. These pictures inspired meditative journeys through sophisticated formal devices such as mirroring, mapping, and spatial programming--analytical categories newly identified by Wang.

The book examines murals in cave shrines at Binglingsi and Dunhuang in northwestern China and relief sculptures in the grottoes of Yungang in Shanxi, on stelae from Sichuan, and on the Dragon-and-Tiger pagoda in Shandong, among other sites. By tracing formal impulses in medieval Chinese picture-making, such as topographic mapping and pictorial illusionism, the author pieces together a wide range of visual evidence and textual sources to reconstruct the medieval Chinese cognitive style and mental world. The book is ultimately a history of the Chinese imagination. ... Read more

15. The Lankavatara Sutra: A Mahayana Text
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Asin: 8121509254
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Munshirm Manoharlal
Sales Rank: 319614
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The present translation of D.T. Suzuki is based upon the Sanskrit edition of Bunyu Nanjo (1923). This edition reflects those fundamental themes of Buddhism which the Mahayana in general cherishes and upholds. It looks at existence from the absolute and relative realms, and thinks that suffering will be experienced so long as one confines oneself to the realm of the relative. Since the relative cannot be ultimately realm, it has to be seen as nothing more than a projection of the mind. As to how to realize the ultimate truth of unity the text resorts to general Mahayana theory of Buddhalogy in which the Buddha is seen as the ultimate ontological principle.

In order to realize unity with this ontic principle, we have to make use of such methods which, though relative, terminate in the realization of Enlightenment. These methods are spoken of as Skilful Means. As a spiritual manual, the text points out as to how the Bodhisattvas, on account of their unlimited compassion for sentient beings, work for the salvation of all. While delineating on the theme of Bodhisattvas, the text thereby speaks about the ten vows of a Bodhisattva. It is in incarnating these vows within that a real turn-about or spiritual transformation occurs, and thereby are uprooted the roots of ignorance. The text, thus, offers a spiritual banquet to those who want to taste the bliss eternal. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars classic
This is the reprint of the 1932 classic edition. The founder of Zen Buddhism expressly recommended this scripture to his first disciples.

5-0 out of 5 stars writing without a writer
This Lankavatara is for those who are sincere & brave of heart. This is a sutra to be experienced in our imagined state of being. There have been countless people who have reached the core experience of the Mahayana practices from this Lankavatara sutra. If you would like to set cross-legged in the dreams of Buddhas then set aside some moments in your life have a cup of tea and get ready for a heady experiencal ride.

In reference to the 1 star review. It is advisable to ignore this review by the reviewer called "youraveragemahayanist". The Lankavatara is to be experience in the very core of consciousness not words to be simply reviewed by someone who may enjoy the externalistic view of scholastic philosophies. The reviewers belief that these concepts are arcane are simply his/her inability to experience something beyond discriminating concepts like modern. It is to be asked, is there really an individual concept known as modern separate from the truth of nothing separate? Where is this past, future, and or present to be found "youraveragemahayanist"? Is there really a finger pointing to the moon? Look deeper and enjoy!

As you read D. T. Susuki translation it is easy to understand that Susuki was a layman/monk who was not separate from the experience of the Lankavatare itself. The Lankavatara should become one of the top priority readings for those sincere bodhisattvas practicing in these illusory times where ignorance is swift to point us away from fulfilling our path's vows. Remember the path is neither easy nor difficult. Read the word and let go of them for the experience they point too.

1-0 out of 5 stars pass....
Recommend that you give this one a "pass". The L.S. is of historical interest because legend has it that Bodhidharma passed his copy to his disciple Hui-k'e as a "seal" of his dharma succession. Supposedly, Bodhidharma remarked that the L.S. was the most suitable supplementary text to his teachings, based on his evaluation of which concepts the Chinese Buddhists of his time did and did not understand.

But I digress. Like "Merry Christmas", the arcane concepts of the L.S. have since been explained "many times, many ways" by scholars and practicers more modern and more cogent than D.T. Suzuki. Suzuki's translation was done nearly 100 years ago, and it is with good reason that modern translators have not bothered themslves with the L.S., other than referring to it in passing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pass.....
Recommend that you give this one a "pass". The L.S. is of historical interest because legend has it that Bodhidharma passed his copy to his disciple Hui-k'e as a "seal" of his dharma succession. Supposedly, Bodhidharma remarked that the L.S. was the most suitable supplementary text to his teachings, based on his evaluation of which concepts the Chinese Buddhists of his time did and did not understand.

But I digress. Like "Merry Christmas", the arcane concepts of the L.S. have since been explained "many times, many ways" by scholars and practicers more modern and more cogent than D.T. Suzuki. ... Read more

16. The Ultimate Dimension: An Advanced Dharma Retreat on the Avatamsaka and Lotus Sutras
by Thich Nhat Hanh
list price: $69.95
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Asin: 1591791952
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Sounds True
Sales Rank: 91005
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Book Description

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, presents an advanced new audio learning retreat with this complete series of Dharma talks on two of Buddhism’s most beloved texts, the Lotus Sutra and the Avatamsaka Sutra. Here, he discusses: "interbeing" and the transcendence of self, the practice of non-practice, overcoming the fear of death, mindfulness as the key to nirvana, and more. ... Read more

17. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
by Philip B. Yampolsky, Hui-Neng Liu-Tsu-Ta-Shih Fa Pao Tan Ching
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Asin: 0231083610
Catlog: Book (1978-10-15)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Sales Rank: 84095
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Platform Sutra records the teachings of Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch, who is revered as one of the two great figures in the founding of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. This translation is the definitive English version of the eighth-century Ch'an classic. Phillip B. Yampolsky has based his translation on the Tun-huang manuscript, the earliest extant version of the work. A critical edition of the Chinese text is given at the end of the volume. Dr. Yampolsky also furnishes a lengthy and detailed historical introduction which contains much information hitherto unavailable even to scholars, and provides the context essential to an understanding of Hui-neng's work. He gives an account of the history and legends of Ch'an Buddhism, with particular attention to the traditions associated with Hui-neng, quoting or summarizing the most important narratives. He then discusses the various texts of the Platform Sutra, and analyzes its contents. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ever so mellow
This volume is a great entry to the Chinese take on Buddhism. It consists of a hefty introduction/historical background section as well as the text in translation and the original. The translation of the text is one of the smoothest I've read of Chinese, which must be a confluence of the material and the translator. The Platform Sutra itself consists of more than metaphysical exposition, going into the biography of Hui-neng and the context of his teaching (both of which are at least as interesting as the religious part of the text). If you want to broaden your understanding of the quest for understanding, this book would be a great addition to your library. ... Read more

18. The Flower Ornament Scripture : A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra
list price: $100.00
our price: $63.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0877739404
Catlog: Book (1993-10-12)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 92699
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beautiful. A remarkable translation.
For anyone interested in the highest, most lucid and profound written teachings of the Mahayana, Cleary's translation of the Avatamsaka-sutra is essential reading. Every line is beautifully rendered, and the only problem I have with it is the translation of "bodhisattva" to "enlightening being," which is accurate but not usually done. Aside from that petty qualm, however, this book is perfect. Even the physical design is very well crafted and aesthetically pleasing. This is surely Shambhala's and Tom Cleary's masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful masterpiece.
A book translated by Thomas Cleary is worth its weight in gold... and then some. The Avatamsaka Sutra is a powerful and profound piece of work worth the investment of time to ponder, and meditate upon. I sat down one summer evening, to begin the journey, and after the first few pages I was transformed by the beauty and wisdom I found woven within the words of Mr. Cleary's absorbing translation. In my opinion: this is the apex of ALL Buddhist text.

3-0 out of 5 stars not for the beginner
They say this is a great book. That's probably true for some but I have most of Dr. Cleary's books; read them many times, benefited immensely, but this book is not easily comprehensible to me and I would think to any casual reader. As in his other books there is no real and ready quick tips for handling everyday life. So, unless you are well versed in Buddhist scripture save your money and apply yourself to the dharma as taught in simpler texts.

5-0 out of 5 stars A priceless treasure
Although I'm sure I'm quite ignorant of the larger context of this book, if I could only take one book into a cell for the remainder of my life, I would choose this. At the rate of a few pages most evenings (aloud) I'm half way through and looking forward to beginning again, more slowly next time. They say that if you study Lam-rim, it helps you with any Buddhist teachings you might come across. For this reason, I find every page filled with gems. I had owned it for two years before I returned from a Tibetan Buddhist retreat and discovered that the final pages are "The Noble King of Vows of the Conduct of Samantabhadra".

5-0 out of 5 stars A massive, massively influential sutra, expertly translated
The Avatamsaka Sutra (The Sutra of the Garland of Flowers) is among the largest and greatest of the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. It is 12 volumes in Chinese, and 1600 pages in this English edition published by Shambhala. As with most Mahayana scriptures, it treats Buddha not as merely a man of ancient India, but as a cosmic principle. Differing from the austere and non-theist Theravada scriptures, it is full of gods and goddesses, heavens, jewelled trees and imaginary beings. The Avatamsaka Sutra became very influential in Chinese Buddhism, and was responsible for the creation of the Hua-Yen school.

This edition by Thomas Cleary, THE FLOWER ORNAMENT SCRIPTURE, is excellent. It includes not only his translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra, but also a book subsequently pinned onto it (the 400-page Gandhavyuha, or "Entry into the Realm of Reality"), the Chinese mystic Li Tongxuan's seventh-century commentary on the Gandhavyuha, a glossary of difficult Mahayana concepts, and an incredibly helpful translator's introduction.

Dr. Cleary ranks among the foremost translators of Asian religious literature and always succeeds in translating works clearly and precisely. In THE FLOWER ORNAMENT SCRIPTURE, his years of experience have enabled him to produce a stunning translation, and I can only admire his persistence in translating such a massive work.

This edition is really a treasure for Buddhist students. Or, should I say, serious students and scholars. At 1600 pages and a high cost (though much more inexpensive than several years ago), this tome is for the dedicated. THE FLOWER ORNAMENT SCRIPTURE, however, is an excellent translation. Dr. Cleary has benefitted Westerners greatly through his singular translation. ... Read more

19. The Sutra of Hui-Neng: Grand Master of Zen (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570623481
Catlog: Book (1998-09-14)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 274794
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fishhook Zen
Actually toward the end of his teaching career, Hui Neng had learned to read and write fairly well (which is when he wrote this Sutra). Now on to the translation at hand. Thomas Cleary has a plethora of books on all sorts of Oriental wisdom ranging from samurai literature to important Zen texts; his contributions to all of us here in the West are incalculable and, by in large, he always does a relatively good job at making translations which we can all come up with the money for. So he's doing us all an incredible service, along with Shambhala publications, whom also deserves credit for taking upon the task of providing us with literature that is both accurate and affordable.

Being that I own the Price & Wong translation which was referred to in another review (an updated version) also, likewise published by Shambhala along with The Diamond Sutra in one book, I must say that actually that work had more appeal to me. You know I am no sutra scholar, and perhaps I have a bit of partiality here due to Wong's work being my first introduction to this monumental text. So my two cents: both translations are superb, and you probably can't go wrong with either one of them. Sure this sutra is at times somewhat ambiguous (as is the Diamond sutra), but that's just Zen at it's best. This is not a practice of pill popping, or "swallowing like fish." We must chew our food, there is no spoon feeding in our way. Refer to this book (or Wong's) often, pour over it as much as you can. Sure the book spends a few days here and there on the shelf collecting dust. At least it does at my house. It might even make you get a little disgusted with all of the confusing speech used. But give it a chance and remain open, then truth cannot help but be present in each word...


3-0 out of 5 stars not the words of an illitterate kitchen-boy
this is an amazing sutra, well worth reading, but keep in mind that hui-neng was not a harvard educated man with a enormous vocabulary. my guess is that hui-neng spoke using much more simple words than are employed in this translation. this sutra is not about snooty, rich person vocabulary, but rather that a dishwasher can become enlightened (it is of course "about" many other things as well). this should not be forgotten upon reading this wonderful sutra.

5-0 out of 5 stars the life of the master
In the world of Buddhism only the words of the Buddha and the life of Hui-neng are sutras. If thats not a good enough reason to get this then get it because Hui-Neng was a beautiful man and a great teacher. an illiterate woodcutter he became enlightened by just hearing a phrase from the Diamond sutra. he later worked in a monestary hidden away because the master knew if others knew of his great achievement they'd probally kill him but aventuallly he not only became the 6th patriarch but a great teacher and one of Zen's most beloved ancesters.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Imperfection of a Perfect Sutra
Hui-Neng has been known as one of the fathers of Zen and his sutra shows why. Absolutely splendid, if you put down this sutra I question your health. Meant for the person with a background in Zen, but not a bad starter if you approach it with an open mind and neither approve nor dissaprove of a word in it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best available translation of the Sutra of Hui-Neng
Thomas Cleary's translation of the Sutra of Hui-Neng is not only a worthy but long over-due successor to the original translation into English by Wong Mou-Lam, completed in the 1920s. The original has stood the test of time well, but there is little doubt that Cleary's is the more compelling and accessible of the two, to this late 20th century reader, at least.

Hui-Neng lived in the 7th and/or 8th Century A.D. and there is debate as to how much of what has been handed down to us as coming directly from his students and dharma heirs is truly his. In both translations, it is difficult to distinguish the man himself. This is to be expected, of course, given the surviving Chinese text's provenance (it was cobbled together from many different texts, since lost, by a Zen monk in the late Sung Dynasty, some 400 or 500 years after Hui-Neng's death). Even so, it is interesting to contrast the two Hui-Neng translations with that of the Blofied translation of the "Teachings of Huang Po," who lived just a century after Hui-Neng. While Huang Po strides from the page with as much force and presence as as does the late Shunryu Suzuki in his "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," written in 1970, Hui-Neng seems to swim in a thin fog of myth and fact in the Sutra that bears his name.

But this is seminal Zen work, and my intent is not to challenge its authenticity but to forewarn the reader who expects to find the familiar hard edge of Zen in a master's book that is more personal and mythic than we modern Zen adherents are used to studying.

For those of us who are still looking for a teacher, it is worth noting that Hui-Neng does not insist that a "teacher-less" student is bound to failure. Coming from the last of the Patriarchs, isolated Zen students may find that reassuring. ... Read more

20. The Supreme Source: The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
by Namkhai Norbu, Adriano Clemente, Andrew Lukianowicz
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559391200
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Snow Lion Publications
Sales Rank: 133033
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars What it's like to truly be
I don't give 5 stars often. I've read quite a few Norbu books. They're worth reading, but this is BY FAR the most advanced. I liked it best. I usually give away books after reading them. Not this one. Not even as a loaner. It's worth reading again... It seems to be the best description I've found so far of the Fruit. As the Cheshire Cat told Alice (as they came to a fork in the road and she didn't know where she wanted to go), if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. Only the works of Longchenpa rival this one (e.g. The Practice of Dzogchen, tr. by Tulku Thondup).

4-0 out of 5 stars Persevere
Kunjed Gyalpo or All Creating King (here rendered as Supreme Source) is an important Dzogchen Semde (mind series) tantra. At times the reading can be tough going, the text is deep and extremely repetitive, but that is the point! The use of repetition and the momentum of the text creates a mesmerising quality that left me buzzing.

The one main drawback of this book concerns the double translation (from Tibetan to Italian to English). In a few instances, passages make no sense at all. But to be fair these are few and far between and do not detract from the overall meaning being conveyed. Also a glossary would have been most helpful as there are quite a number of technical terms and Tibetan phrases throughout the book.

Allow yourself time to savour this work, persevere and read with care and you will be rewarded.

5-0 out of 5 stars So Great, The Teaching all so clear!!!!
This book is so great, Namkhai Norbu explain in sample words the source of the teachings about dzogchen. This type of book be a preciouss jewerly in the world of literature in this time. ... Read more

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