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Awakening of Faith, The: The Classic Exposition of Mahayana Buddhism

Product no.: 0-48643-141-X
This volume defines the essentials of Mahayana Buddhism, a liberal and theistic branch of the faith comprising sects chiefly in China and Japan.

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Publisher's Synopsis
It discusses how humans can transcend their finite state to partake in the life of the infinite and describes practices and techniques to assist believers in the awakening and growth of faith. The text features the most developed form of tathagata-garbha, or Buddha-matrix teachings, and was specifically written for those who prefer a brief and pithy presentation rather than extensive discourse.

Reviews
"The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Jp. Daijokishinron) presents itself as one of the most profound, concise and authoritative summaries of Mahayana philosophy and metaphysics that this tradition has bequeathed to us. This text has been used and venerated by all the major schools of the Greater Vehicle for centuries and continues to inspire and challenge students of Buddhism even to this day.

Although recent scholarship has attempted to call into question the Indian origins of the text, it still remains inconclusive as to whether this was a work by the Indian sage Asvaghosha or a work originally composed in Chinese at a much later date. An original Sanskrit version of this text has never been found but if the Indian origins of this text were ever to be validated, it would confirm that this may be the earliest Mahayana shastra known to us, predating even the works of Nagarjuna."       ~Journal of Shin Buddhism

Excerpt

Chapter One: The Revelation of the True Doctrine

"What is meant by the soul as suchness (bhutatathata), is the oneness of the totality of things (dharmadhatu), the great all-including whole, the quintessence of the Doctrine. For the essential nature of the soul is uncreate and eternal. All things, simply on account of our confused subjectivity (smrti), appear under the forms of individuation. If we could overcome our confused subjectivity, the signs of individuation would disappear, and there would be no trace of a world of [individual and isolated] objects. Therefore all things in their fundamental nature are not namable or explicable. They cannot be adequately expressed in any form of language. They are without the range of apperception. [They are universals.] They [things in their fundamental nature] have no signs of distinction. [They are not particulars.] They possess absolute sameness (samata). [They are universals.] They are subject neither to transformation, nor to destruction.

They are nothing but the one soul, for which suchness is another designation. Therefore they cannot be [fully] explained by words or exhausted by reasoning. While all words and expressions are nothing but representations and not realities, and their existence depends simply on our confused subjectivity, suchness has no attribute [of particularity] to speak of. But the term suchness is all that can be expressed in language, and through this term all other terms may be disposed of. In the essence of suchness, there is neither anything which has to be excluded, nor anything which has to be added."

Biography
Aśvaghoṣa (c. 80 – c. 150 AD) Indian philosopher and poet considered the father of Sanskrit drama. Born a Brahman, he opposed Buddhism until a debate with a Buddhist scholar led to his conversion. Asvaghosa became known as a brilliant orator, and he spoke on Mahayana at the fourth Buddhist council. He is considered India's greatest poet before Kalidasa. Works attributed to him include the Buddhacarita (“Life of the Buddha”) and the Mahalankara (“Book of Glory”).

Author Asvaghosa
Translator Suzuki, D.T.
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 176 pp.
Publisher Dover Publications 2003
Browse these categories as well: Mahayana Sutras, Northern Buddhism, Hinduism: Gurus and Advaita Vedanta, Shinran and the Pure Land School, Bodhidharma and Chinese Ch'an, Eastern Buddhism and Zen Masters, Noteworthy Releases 2003

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