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dhivan thomas jones

The Chapter of the Eights

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Sat, 21 Jan, 2017 - 17:29

The Chapter of the Eights

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Sat, 21 Jan, 2017 - 17:29

Gil Fronsdal, The Buddha Before Buddhism: Wisdom from the Early Teachings, Shambhala, Boulder, 2016, paperback £15, 180 pages.

reviewed by Dhivan Thomas Jones

Gil Fronsdal’s new book is a translation of and commentary on ‘The Chapter of the Eights’ (Aṭṭhakavagga), the fourth chapter of the Sutta-nipāta, itself a miscellaneous collection of Pāli Buddhist verses (including such classics as the Karaṇīya-metta sutta and the Ratana sutta). I was excited when I heard about this new translation, because The Chapter of the Eights is a fascinating...

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Ratnaprabha's picture

Thanks Dhivan, an interesting review. Ratnaprabha

Bernat's picture

Dear Dhivan,

I have a question about one of your comments on Fronsdal’s translation. If we break the dvanda compound bhavābhava as bhava-bhava, how do we account for the long a? At first sight it looks like a contraction, if we break the compound as bhava-abhava, which would be correctly translated as “existence and/or non-existence”, “becoming and/or non-becoming”, etc.

dhivan thomas jones's picture

Dear Bernat,

Thanks for this intelligent question. I would say that of course Fronsdal’s translation is based on taking bhavābhava as bhava-abhava as this is how we would expect to analyse the compound. However, as I mentioned in a note in my review, the commentary analyses it bhava-bhava ,’various existences’, and interprets it accordingly. KR Norman calls the ā an example of ‘rhythmical lengthening’ – see Group of Discourses p.150 n.6. Rhythmical lengthening is a feature of Pāli phonology.

Having said this, I am aware that sometimes bhavābhava should be taken to mean bhava-abhava. See for instance Tse-fu Kuan’s discussion in Mindfulness in Early Buddhism n.30.

So perhaps in some instances of bhavābhava we should translate ‘existence and/or non-existence’. But which instances? Fronsdal might have started by taking Norman’s interpretations and translations as guides in this respect, as they are at least based on the commentarial tradition.

Hoping this is helpful, Dhivan

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Finding Out More About Early Buddhist Women

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Wed, 28 Dec, 2016 - 12:52

Finding Out More About Early Buddhist Women

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Wed, 28 Dec, 2016 - 12:52

With this post we present another fine review by Sarah Clelland of a recent work of scholarship on women monastics in early Buddhism.

Alice Collett, Lives of Early Buddhist Nuns: Biographies as History, Oxford University Press, India, 2016

Review by Sarah Clelland

In Lives of Early Buddhist Nuns Alice Collett, now lecturer at Nālanda University in India, explores changing attitudes to women in Buddhism through the stories of six early nuns: Dhammadinnā, Khemā, Kisāgotamī, Paṭācārā, Bhaddā Kuṇḍalakesā and Uppalavaṇṇā. In the first half...

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Mrigendra Pratap's picture

Thank you for sharing this information.

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dhivan thomas jones

Online Pāli School

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Thu, 6 Oct, 2016 - 11:17

Online Pāli School

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Thu, 6 Oct, 2016 - 11:17

Prof Richard Gombrich is running another of his online Pāli schools, this coming 7–26 November, recommended as an introduction to the Pāli language. Full details at http://ocbs.org/courses/pali-online-school/.

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What was it like for early Buddhist women?

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Sat, 1 Oct, 2016 - 13:30

What was it like for early Buddhist women?

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Sat, 1 Oct, 2016 - 13:30

Here, Dharmacārinī Vajratārā reviews a collection of scholarly essays exploring how it was for women in early Buddhism – at a time before feminism when nevertheless women were taken seriously as dharma practitioners.

Women in Early Indian Buddhism: Comparative Textual Studies

essays by various scholars, edited and introduced by Alice Collett

Oxford University Press, USA, 2014, 274pp., hback and ebook

Reviewed by Vajratārā

What were the attitudes towards women in early Indian Buddhism? Does textual analysis of early Buddhist texts corroborate the idea that early Buddhists saw women...

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Ratnaprabha's picture

Hi, typos: para 4 “One might the case.”

Para 5: criteria for criterion.

Metta, Ratnaprabha

dhivan thomas jones's picture

Thanks Ratnaprabha, I’ve corrected the mistakes now. It’s always problematic being one’s own proof-reader!

Padmadrishti's picture

How strange not to mention that Alice Collett is ordained in Triratna with the name of Dharmacharini Manishini. Or have I missed that?

padmadrishti

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dhivan thomas jones

Faith and Imagination in Pure Land Buddhism

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Tue, 28 Jun, 2016 - 12:05

Faith and Imagination in Pure Land Buddhism

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Tue, 28 Jun, 2016 - 12:05

Dharmacārī Saccanāma reviews a ground-breaking new book on Pure Land Buddhism, with new translations of sūtras, and finds much to appreciate and enjoy:

Ratnaguna & Śraddhāpa

Great Faith, Great Wisdom: practice and awakening in the Pure Land sūtras of Mahāyāna Buddhism

Windhorse Publications, Cambridge 2016, £14 pback, also in ebook

Review by Saccanāma

There is a debate going on in Buddhist publishing at present: titles such as Buddhism Without Beliefs, After Buddhism and Buddhism is a Religion: You can Believe It indicate the nature of that debate. On one...

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Dharmabandhu's picture

Thank you Saccanama for this thoughtful and insightful overview and introduction to the Pure Land tradition and especially to Ratnaguna’s book Dharmabandhu

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dhivan thomas jones

Advice from the Zen Master – Don’t be a Jerk

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Wed, 25 May, 2016 - 11:58

Advice from the Zen Master – Don’t be a Jerk

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Wed, 25 May, 2016 - 11:58

In this post we present a delightful review by Vidyavajra of a new book that tries to put Dōgen’s master-work, the Shōbōgenzō, into vernacular English – with some success, it would seem.

Brad Warner, Don’t Be a Jerk: And Other Practical Advice from Dōgen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master, New World Library, 2016 (£13 pback).

review by Vidyavajra

On the cover is a comic book depiction of a godzilla-like monster with beams of fire coming from its eyes, crossing a Hokusai-like sea of waves, towards a medieval Japanese village....

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Review: Cultivating Compassion, Realising Emptiness

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Tue, 1 Mar, 2016 - 09:59

Review: Cultivating Compassion, Realising Emptiness

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Tue, 1 Mar, 2016 - 09:59

We present here a review by Sarah Clelland of Anālayo’s new book, focussing on the interest and challenge of understanding the profound meditations that Anālayo writes about.

Anālayo: Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation

Windhorse Publications, Cambridge, UK, 2015, £12 pback, £6 ebook

Review by Sarah Clelland

I have often wished that the Buddha was my meditation teacher. In the early texts, we get a glimpse into the work of a great teacher who spontaneously tailors his expression of the Dhamma to the person in...

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2016 E-learning Course on Asian Buddhist Women

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Tue, 16 Feb, 2016 - 11:58

2016 E-learning Course on Asian Buddhist Women

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Tue, 16 Feb, 2016 - 11:58

Once again, Ven Anālayo has organised an online lecture course, this year on the theme of ‘Asian Buddhist Women’. Last year’s lectures were very informative and often interesting, bringing scholars from around the world into our living rooms via the internet. The whole course is without charge. Here are the details:

‘The Numata Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg, in cooperation with the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, offers an E-learning Course on Asian Buddhist Women. The course consists of...

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From Buddhist economics to a new Dharma politics

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Fri, 15 Jan, 2016 - 10:59

From Buddhist economics to a new Dharma politics

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Fri, 15 Jan, 2016 - 10:59

The following is an important and original combination of a review of Vaddhaka’s book The Buddha on Wall Street, and an article exploring some political implications of Vaddhaka’s Buddhist critique of neo-liberal capitalism.

A review-article of Vaddhaka Linn, The Buddha on Wall Street, Windhorse Publications, Cambridge, 2015

by Manjusiha

Bryan Magee, in Confessions of a Philosopher, says, of Schopenhauer and Hegel, ‘I do not think anything in the whole history of philosophy compares with this invective by one now world-famous philosopher against another’ (1998, p.466). The feud between philosophers...

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Buddhist Women’s Verses

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Sun, 10 Jan, 2016 - 13:51

Buddhist Women’s Verses

Posted by dhivan thomas jones on Sun, 10 Jan, 2016 - 13:51

We present below a review by Sarah Clelland of a new translation by Charles Hallisey of the Therīgāthā – verses by female followers of the Buddha, preserved in the Pāli language.

Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women (Murty Classical Library of India vol.3), translated by Charles Hallisey

Harvard University Press, 2015, 336pp., hardback £22.95

Review by Sarah Clelland

The Murty Classical Library of India is a new multi-volume series of translations of the great literary works of India. This third volume – and the only Buddhist text out...

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