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Lotus Sutra: A Contemporary Translation of a Buddhist Classic [Paperback]

Gene Reeves
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications,U.S. (1 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861715713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861715718
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lotus Sutra - By Gene Reeves 19 Dec 2010
By ShiDaDao Ph.D TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is a full and unabridged English translation of the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law (Saddharma Pundarika Sutra). The author, Gene Reeves was inspired by the work of the japanese Buddhist scholar named Nikkyo Niwano - the author of the book entitled 'A Guide To the Threefold Lotus Sutra' - which can be read in concordance with Reeves' translation. Reeves' motivation for this work, was to produce an English version of the Lotus Sutra, free, (as Reeves says in his 'Preface') of 'Buddhist jargon' and 'Sanskrit terms'. On the face of it, it seems odd that an ancient spiritual text would be translated into English, relatively 'free' of its Asian origination. Paradoxically, after informing us of his intention not to include obvious Asian references in his translation, Reeves asserts that nevertheless, it has not been his intention to 'compromise the meaning' of the sutra. The discerning reader might consider that any text translated into another language, must utilise a translation method that conveys a true 'meaning' first and foremost, rather than a translation style that is designed around the perceived 'convenience' of the reader. Reeves' justification is doubly odd, as he further explains that he has substituted Indian mythological creatures, for those of Greek and Roman, as if these latter examples are 'more' familiar to the modern English reader! Peculiarities and motivations aside, this is an adequate translation.

This book translates the Mahayana Sanskrit text known as the 'Saddharma Pundarīka Sūtra'. This title literally translates into English as 'The Lotus of the True Law', and is occasionally referred to as 'The Threefold Lotus Sutra', the latter title alluding to the fact that the Lotus Sutra has three distinct sections.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Contemporary Translation 1 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Lotus Sutra is one of the world's great religious scriptures and most influential texts. It has been a seminal work in the development of Buddhism throughout East Asia, and by extension in the development of Mahayana Buddhism throughout the world. Taking place in a vast and fantastical cosmic setting, the Lotus Sutra places emphasis on skillfully doing whatever is needed to serve and compassionately care for others, on breaking down sharp distinctions between the ideals of the fully enlightened buddha and the bodhisattva who vows to postpone personal salvation until all beings may share it together, and especially on each and every being's innate capacity to become a buddha.
This new translation takes particular care to appeal to readers with little or no familiarity with technical Buddhism vocabulary, and this volume includes the full "threefold" text of this classic [The Sutra of Innumerable Meanings, The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma and The Sutra of Contemplation of the Dharma Practice of Universal Sage Bodhisattva].

"This translation is immediately the new standard, expressing the Lotus Sutra with accuracy, clarity, and fresh readability. The text's genius and subtle spiritual teachings are skillfully captured for a wide, modern audience."
-Taigen Dan Leighton, Loyola University, Chicago.

"A highly readable new translation of the great Lotus Sutra, Gene Reeves skillfully renders the complexity of the sacred text from a scholarly standpoint while delivering its flavour for practitioners. An invaluable resource for students in the classroom as well as in the meditation hall."
-Mark Unno, University of Oregon.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well translated modern rendition. 13 Feb 2011
This version comes with a clear introduction and does not suffer from some bias in other versions supported by the Soka Gakai or Nichiren Soshu.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best contemporary translation of the three-fold Lotus Sutra 28 Jan 2009
By J. M. Schuh - Published on
Dr. Reeves is a well known and respected teacher of the 'threefold' Lotus Sutra (Sutra of Innumerable Meanings, Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma and the Sutra of Meditation on the Practice of Universal Wisdom. I have been a Rissho Kosei-kai member and Buddhist for twenty-four years. In my years of Dharma study, I have become familiar with a couple of translations of the Lotus Sutra, especially Watson (SGI) and Kato (RKK) translations. But unlike other translations of the Lotus, Reeves includes the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings and the Sutra of Meditation of the Practice of Universal Virtue in his Lotus Sutra. I deeply respect his choice since these two sutras underscore the importance of the Lotus' teachings. I can say unequivocally that the Reeves translation is the easiest to read and comprehend. Dr. Reeves does admit to flaws in his translation, but I know for a fact that he took several years painstakingly reviewing the original Kumarajiva Chinese, Japanese and English translations of the Lotus. If the reader finds any flaws or has questions regarding the Reeves' translation s/he may compare and contrast Reeves' with another of the reader's choice. However, though I am not a scholar, but a Japanese Ekayana-Nichiren Buddhist that has been practicing for twenty-four years, I can wholeheartedly endorse Dr. Reeves' translation as superior enough to stand on its own. Gasshou.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and easy to follow 5 Mar 2010
By B. Zingmark - Published on
The clarity of Reeves translation of the Lotus Sutra is very impressive. He brings out the heart of the Lotus Sutra while remaining relatively easy to follow and understand. One of the first things that stuck me was that this was done by someone who deeply thought and meditated on the meaning of the text. Reeve's work is far beyond the level of "just write it in English and move on after a bit of proofreading." I do quite a bit of translating myself, and it's clear that this is the work of someone who has come back to the text time and again, asking himself, "but what's it really saying?!"

I've studied the Kato edition of the Lotus Sutra for nearly 25 years, and enjoyed it's old-fashioned feel, but this is the version of the Lotus Sutra I'll be reading from now on.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent translation, excellent sutra 25 Oct 2012
By M. Gonzales - Published on
Very clear translation, minimal old untranslated Buddhist terms. This translation reminds me of a Cleary translation; true to the meaning, clear language, great flow. Awesome scripture; not meant to be taken lightly.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mistaken choices 3 Sep 2013
By Upasaka Heng He - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The choice to translate using Greek mythology instead of the Indian is a mistake I cannot comprehend. To be honest, Greek mythology is not much closer to us than Indian mythology is (and I'm European). Otherwise a solid translation but the Greek mythology thing is unforgivable, so I have to give it 3 stars. It's a shame because Gene Reeves is a great mind and a great translator. I can't fathom the reason for that decision.

Nothing else calls for a review. The Lotus Sutra is the king of all Buddhist texts.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Still the Lotus Sutra 21 Oct 2013
By C. Marbutt - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reviewing the Lotus Sutra is like reviewing Homer's Iliad or the Book of Jonah. It is one of the world's great wisdom texts but that doesn't mean it is an easy read. It was originally written more or less to be performed, to be chanted and brought to life by human voices, not perused from the luxury of our armchair. Reeves does an admirable attempt at translating but the use of the terms from Greek mythology still remains a problematic and unnecessary choice and in hind sight I would have probably went with another translator.
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