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Land of Bliss, the Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light: Sanskrit and Chinese Versions of the "Sukhavativyuha" Sutras (Studies in the Buddhist Traditions) Paperback – 31 Dec 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press (31 Dec 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824817605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824817602
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,140,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Sep 1998
Format: Paperback
Luis O. Gomez has translated both the Smaller and the Larger Sukhavati-vyuha Sutras. What is particularly unique about this book is that he has translated both CHINESE and SANSKRIT versions of these two great Pure Land Buddhism sutras. There are more than one source, and he has steered a middle course, offering both a competent and a lyrical English rendition of these two (actually four) sutras.
The main Pure Land sutras also include the Meditation Sutra, which only exists in Chinese (and later Japanese), and may never had a Sanskrit version at all according to Buddhist scholars. Hence Dr. Gomez did not include the Meditation Sutra in this translation.
Pure Land Buddhism took different forms in the three countries where it most significantly developed: first in India, where the Sanskrit sutras are traditionally held to be the actual sermons of Shakyamuni Buddha; second, in China, where Buddhism as a whole developed into the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) and where the Pure Land tradition took on a more meditative and devotional aspect; and finally, Japan, where Pure Land Buddhism metamorphosed once again into Shin Buddhism, or the doctrine of enlightenment by faith alone in the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, Amida Buddha, the Buddha expounded in all three Pure Land Sutras.
Dr. Gomez has provided generous but not belabored forewords to each of the four separate translations in his book, along with detailed but not overabundant footnotes. Further, he has constructed a diagram at the end of the book showing (not proportionally) the "structure" of the Pure Land (Sukhavati) of Amida Buddha, as described in the sutras translated. Also included are references for further reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Sep 1998
Format: Hardcover
Luis O. Gomez has translated both the Smaller and the Larger Sukhavati-vyuha Sutras. What is particularly unique about this book is that he has translated both CHINESE and SANSKRIT versions of these two great Pure Land Buddhism sutras. There are more than one source, and he has steered a middle course, offering both a competent and a lyrical English rendition of these two (actually four) sutras.
The main Pure Land sutras also include the Meditation Sutra, which only exists in Chinese (and later Japanese), and may never had a Sanskrit version at all according to Buddhist scholars. Hence Dr. Gomez did not include the Meditation Sutra in this translation.
Pure Land Buddhism took different forms in the three countries where it most significantly developed: first in India, where the Sanskrit sutras are traditionally held to be the actual sermons of Shakyamuni Buddha; second, in China, where Buddhism as a whole developed into the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) and where the Pure Land tradition took on a more meditative and devotional aspect; and finally, Japan, where Pure Land Buddhism metamorphosed once again into Shin Buddhism, or the doctrine of enlightenment by faith alone in the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, Amida Buddha, the Buddha expounded in all three Pure Land Sutras.
Dr. Gomez has provided generous but not belabored forewords to each of the four separate translations in his book, along with detailed but not overabundant footnotes. Further, he has constructed a diagram at the end of the book showing (not proportionally) the "structure" of the Pure Land (Sukhavati) of Amida Buddha, as described in the sutras translated. Also included are references for further reading.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm always a little apprehensive about ordering used books, but was pleasantly surprised by the excellent quality this book arrived in. The colour on the cover was faded by exposure to light and there was a library stamp (as indicated in the description), but other than that the book was in excellent condition. It seems like it's sat on a library shelf for many years since its purchase without being opened! It's certainly found a good home now:)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
"Land of Bliss" a delight for Shin Buddhists, scholars 24 Sep 1998
By Richard C. Stclair - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Luis O. Gomez has translated both the Smaller and the Larger Sukhavati-vyuha Sutras. What is particularly unique about this book is that he has translated both CHINESE and SANSKRIT versions of these two great Pure Land Buddhism sutras. There are more than one source, and he has steered a middle course, offering both a competent and a lyrical English rendition of these two (actually four) sutras.
The main Pure Land sutras also include the Meditation Sutra, which only exists in Chinese (and later Japanese), and may never had a Sanskrit version at all according to Buddhist scholars. Hence Dr. Gomez did not include the Meditation Sutra in this translation.
Pure Land Buddhism took different forms in the three countries where it most significantly developed: first in India, where the Sanskrit sutras are traditionally held to be the actual sermons of Shakyamuni Buddha; second, in China, where Buddhism as a whole developed into the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) and where the Pure Land tradition took on a more meditative and devotional aspect; and finally, Japan, where Pure Land Buddhism metamorphosed once again into Shin Buddhism, or the doctrine of enlightenment by faith alone in the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, Amida Buddha, the Buddha expounded in all three Pure Land Sutras.
Dr. Gomez has provided generous but not belabored forewords to each of the four separate translations in his book, along with detailed but not overabundant footnotes. Further, he has constructed a diagram at the end of the book showing (not proportionally) the "structure" of the Pure Land (Sukhavati) of Amida Buddha, as described in the sutras translated. Also included are references for further reading.
While this translation seems to be motivated more by scholarly impulses than religious - as contrasted to Hisao Inagaki's translation of all three Pure Land sutras, published by the Numata Translation Center, which contains elaborate annotations on Pure Land doctrine and faith - nevertheless, Gomez' translations come across, to this reader, as powerfully spiritual. This, I feel, is because the Pure Land school of Buddhism thrives on precision of expression, and Gomez' translation is precise, the words well chosen, the flow convincing and poetic.
The translator has promised a follow-up volume of intensive annotation which will consider the differences between the various editions, Sanskrit and Chinese, that are extant in manuscript. But this is for the scholar. It is to our great fortune that he decided to publish a more "popular" and readable version first, as Pure Land Buddhism itself is intended for laypeople of all walks of life, intellectual or not, regardless of upbringing, nationality, or any other circumstances of life.
Aside from the Three Pure Land sutras translated by Hisao Inagaki by the Numata Center, English versions of the Pure Land sutras are not abundant. There is a much earlier translation from about a century ago, the final 49th volume of the SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST series, Max Mueller, editor and translator. Mueller's translation is from the Sanskrit, and his manuscript sources were considerably poorer than Gomez and Inagaki. Further, Mueller's translation suffers from now antiquated linguistic and editorial conventions and a generally pedantic tone. Both Gomez and Inagaki have remedied this and given us excellent translations of these great sutras of the Mahayana Buddhist Canon.
It is a great pleasure to be able to write about Dr. Gomez fine addition to scholarship and spirituality with THE LAND OF BLISS.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The definitive translations 18 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
These fine translations from both Sanskrit and Chinese will undoubtedly stand for many years as the definitive work in this area. They are a great improvement over any previous translations of the Buddhist Pure Land sutras, and the value of this work is enhanced by the scholarly introduction and footnotes. This is a great contribution to the field of Buddhist studies, and will be especially appreciated by anyone with an interest in the various Pure Land traditions and practices.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Land of Bliss" a delight for Shin Buddhists, scholars 24 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Luis O. Gomez has translated both the Smaller and the Larger Sukhavati-vyuha Sutras. What is particularly unique about this book is that he has translated both CHINESE and SANSKRIT versions of these two great Pure Land Buddhism sutras. There are more than one source, and he has steered a middle course, offering both a competent and a lyrical English rendition of these two (actually four) sutras.
The main Pure Land sutras also include the Meditation Sutra, which only exists in Chinese (and later Japanese), and may never had a Sanskrit version at all according to Buddhist scholars. Hence Dr. Gomez did not include the Meditation Sutra in this translation.
Pure Land Buddhism took different forms in the three countries where it most significantly developed: first in India, where the Sanskrit sutras are traditionally held to be the actual sermons of Shakyamuni Buddha; second, in China, where Buddhism as a whole developed into the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) and where the Pure Land tradition took on a more meditative and devotional aspect; and finally, Japan, where Pure Land Buddhism metamorphosed once again into Shin Buddhism, or the doctrine of enlightenment by faith alone in the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, Amida Buddha, the Buddha expounded in all three Pure Land Sutras.
Dr. Gomez has provided generous but not belabored forewords to each of the four separate translations in his book, along with detailed but not overabundant footnotes. Further, he has constructed a diagram at the end of the book showing (not proportionally) the "structure" of the Pure Land (Sukhavati) of Amida Buddha, as described in the sutras translated. Also included are references for further reading.
While this translation seems to be motivated more by scholarly impulses than religious - as contrasted to Hisao Inagaki's translation of all three Pure Land sutras, published by the Numata Translation Center, which contains elaborate annotations on Pure Land doctrine and faith - nevertheless, Gomez' translations come across, to this reader, as powerfully spiritual. This, I feel, is because the Pure Land school of Buddhism thrives on precision of expression, and Gomez' translation is precise, the words well chosen, the flow convincing and poetic.
The translator has promised a follow-up volume of intensive annotation which will consider the differences between the various editions, Sanskrit and Chinese, that are extant in manuscript. But this is for the scholar. It is to our great fortune that he decided to publish a more "popular" and readable version first, as Pure Land Buddhism itself is intended for laypeople of all walks of life, intellectual or not, regardless of upbringing, nationality, or any other circumstances of life.
Aside from the Three Pure Land sutras translated by Hisao Inagaki by the Numata Center, English versions of the Pure Land sutras are not abundant. There is a much earlier translation from about a century ago, the final 49th volume of the SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST series, Max Mueller, editor and translator. Mueller's translation is from the Sanskrit, and his manuscript sources were considerably poorer than Gomez and Inagaki. Further, Mueller's translation suffers from now antiquated linguistic and editorial conventions and a generally pedantic tone. Both Gomez and Inagaki have remedied this and given us excellent translations of these great sutras of the Mahayana Buddhist Canon.
It is a great pleasure to be able to write about Dr. Gomez' fine addition to scholarship and spirituality with THE LAND OF BLISS.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Amitabha Terre Pure from France 14 May 2008
By ADZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book contains two majors mahayana sutras that any Buddhists practitioners should know and study deeply and practice. They are invaluables. One must have a lot of merits to meet these sutras. Thanks so much to Gomez for his work.
4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I'm new to Shin, and this helps a little bit..... 1 Jan 2005
By Brian J. Demascio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Well, this is a self-described "free translation", meaning it is a little bit like the "Living Bible" of Christianity; a paraphrase. I suppose that this should not matter since I am a new practitioner of the Nembutsu. I have read reviews of the other easily obtained English translation of the "Thre Pure Land Sutras", which contains the Visualization Sutra (which isn't included in Gomez's translation because the third of the Pure Land Sutras is almost certainly of strictly Chinese origin), and this volume ("The Three Pure Land Sutras") has extensive notes, etc, to guide the reader into an understanding of Pure Land practice as it relates to the Sutras. However, I have not read this one, mainly because Amazon.Com says that it will only ship "in 1 to 3 weeks", and I am notoriously impatient.

On the positive side, Mr. Gomez provides both the Sanskrit and the Chinese versions of the Longer and Shorter Sutras, and there ARE some notes in the back of the book, however measly they might be.

This book, or so it says in the introduction, was translated "freely" for those with little or no knowledge of Buddhism in general. This is very noble, but for those of us who DO have some knowledge of Buddhism, we are looking for a more in-depth and literal translation, as well as detailed annotations explaining the applications to Shin Buddhism as a practice. I realize that Mr. Gomez is not a Shin Buddhist, nor do I think that he claims to be a practicing Buddhist at all. His translation is listed as suggested reading in the wonderful source book on Shin practice entitled "River of Fire, River of Water", and I think this might be because this version is basically the most common and most affordable English translation of the Longer and Shorter Pure Land Sutras.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining per se; I just expected something a little bit more "profound", and you know what? Maybe this is exactley what I need at this time; something simple. I am still going to order the "Three Pure Land Sutras", but in the mean time I will read this one. This version is the only one, I think, to have the Sanskrit verions of the Sutras, as "the Three Pure Land Sutras" is, I believe, translated from the Chinese, which I prefer anyways.

Hope this helps, and by all means, BUY this translation and immerse yourself in it's simple message. If you feel inclined to learn more or go "deeper", then get the other, more expensive version.

Thanks!
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