Moraga, Calif. — December 9, 2015. BDK America is pleased share the most recent fruits of BDK's labors in translating the Chinese Mahayana canon as new volumes are published. The first two of these books are now available on our website for the first time. Moreover, all three volumes are available under the BDK America Great Sutra Sale at a 60% discount through the end of 2015.
Here are our main publications in 2015.
This work comprises Taishō numbers 243, 1300, and 1665, respectively, for
Each of these three works of Esoteric Buddhism is fascinating in its own right.
The Sutra of the Vow depicts an ideal being, Vajrasattva, in its universal drama and offers a pathway to transformation and salvation. This text, in its Japanese version, the Hannyarishukyō, has been extensively used in the Shingon tradition, and is still recited daily in that tradition.
The Mātaṅga Sutra focuses on a kind of love story that leads to the involvement of the Buddha to clarify the links between people in the past and people in the present.
The Bodhicitta Śāstra is a brief tantric text and one of the most important śāstras in the formulation of the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism. It served as Shingon founder Kukai's model for the concept of human-buddha integration that leads to the rapid attainment of enlightenment.
Together they form a compelling collection of texts central to students of Esoteric Schools. Such students may also be interested in our Esoteric Schools catalog.
This work presents 30 longer sutras of great historical importance in the development of Buddhism. Volume I covers the first ten of such sutras. The importance of the work in part is supported by its inclusion by the editors of in the Taishō edition of the Chinese Mahayana canon as the very first item. Our English edition is translated by Shohei Ichimura.
Of interest to students of both Theravada and Mahayana foundational texts, the work was brought into the Chinese canon by translators Buddhayaśas and Zhu Fonian from the Sanskrit Dīrgha Āgama. The work is organized into four Sanskrit Āgamas that roughly map to the five Pāli Nikāyas, with differences identified in the Translator's Introduction:
First, “(1) the centrality of Śākyamuni Buddha as the primary subject, (2) the importance of the Dharma and doctrine, (3) the resultant practice, discipline, and advanced spiritual states, and (4) a record of the cosmological origins of the world. Second, the “Sutra of Cosmology,” which is not found in the Pāli Dīgha Nikāya, was added as the last text in the collection in order to present the Buddha’s teaching more effectively and attractively to a non-Buddhist audience.”
Volume I includes the following selections:
Sutra 1. The Great Origin
Sutra 2. Last Journey and Sojourns
Sutra 3. A Great Treasury Councilor
Sutra 4. Janavasabha’s Exhortation
Sutra 5. Lesser Causality
Sutra 6. The Universal Ruler’s Practice
Sutra 7. Pāyāsi’s Dialogue
Sutra 8. Sandhāna
Sutra 9. Numerically Assembled Doctrines
Sutra 10. Ten Progressively Classified Doctrines
Students of the Indian sources of works in the Mahayana canon may also be interested in our Indian Sources catalog.
Earlier this year, BDK America published Volume I of The Collection for the Propagation and Clarification of Buddhism. This work, Taishō 2102 in Volume 52 of the Taishō Edition of the Mahayana Canon, is important for a number of reasons.
First, the work remains an invaluable resource for examining the early development of Chinese Buddhism and how this foreign religion was accepted and adopted in Chinese society. A notable aspect of this work is that Buddhist tenets are explained using Confucian and Daoist terminology. While the Collection is a Buddhist work from chiefly the fourth and fifth centuries, it also serves well as a primary source for studies of contemporary Daoism.
Second, as a compilation of discourses, correspondence, reports to the emperor, family codes, and written appeals by Buddhist laypeople and monk, it demonstrates how society and the greater sangha can help reconcile Buddhism to an existing culture.
Finally, the work provides a stunning example of the assertion by Shi Sengyou, the compiler of this collection, that "The Way is propagated by people, and the teaching is clarified by literature.”
Volume I comprises fascicles 1-7 of the full text, and Volume II (forthcoming) will include remaining fascicles 8-14. We will announce Volume II just as soon as it is available.
Students of the Dharma especially as it is disclosed in Chinese sources may wish to see our Chinese Sources catalog.
What's Coming Next?
Just as soon as new volumes in the translation series are available, we will add them to the BDK America website and post them here. Please stay tuned. For notification of new publications, please consider subscribing to our occasional news bulletin, and like our Facebook page or follow our twitter account.