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The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen (Philip E.Lilienthal Books) Paperback – 2 Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (2 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520219724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520219724
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 997,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

His name comes up in mentions of Zen's misty past, but without any writings or authentication, modern authors have often referred to Bodhidharma as semi-legendary. In 1935, DT Suzuki had rummaged through a number of newly discovered Zen texts dating back over a thousand years, but not until recently did scholars agree that some may contain the words of Bodhidharma himself. Now Jeffrey Broughton has brushed off the dust for the English reading world. In question and answer style anticipating later Zen classics such as the Lin-Chi Lu (Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi), Bodhidharma fields questions from his students on dharma, the mind, and reality. Vintage Zen iconoclasm permeates every line as dharmas are dispensed with and scriptures shot down. A rock painted with a Buddhist image is still just a rock. Just so, reality is just reality. A previously unknown student of Bodhidharma, Master Yuan shows himself to be a worthy adept, equal to the more well-known Hui-ko, who also appears. The actual Bodhidharma texts are quite brief, with the bulk of this work consisting of Broughton's scholarly introduction, commentary, appendices, and translations of related finds. --Brian Bruya, Amazon.com

About the Author

Jeffrey L. Broughton is Professor of Religious Studies at California State University, Long Beach.

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Countless portraits by East Asian artist have attempted to catch the essence of the enigmatic Buddhist master known by the name Bodhidharma or Bodhidharmatara, the "founder" of Zen. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The True Teachings of Tamo 8 Oct 2003
By Sil Lum Sifu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This scholarly work on the teachings of Bodhidharma sets a new standard. Not only does Broughton provide clear translations, but the volume of informative commentary has made this text my number one Bodhidharma resource. Broughton provides quality with quantity here, explaining unusual phrases from the ancient texts at page bottoms, and endnoting items requiring more thorough treatment. (The endnotes are generally both useful and quite insightful. My only "wish" is that the endnotes could be footnotes instead. This way, the reader could have simultaneous access to both the root text and Broughton's research. As it is, you have to flip back and forth a bit. This is a really minor quibble though, as footnoting everything would have the drawback of making the root text harder to read on its own - mostly by making the pages too "busy.")

This is not a book on "pop Zen"; it is a resource for those seeking to contextualize Tamo's teachings both historically and philosophically. Broughton makes a very good case that the "Two Entrances" commonly attributed to Tamo is actually the work of T'an-lin, an early Sanskritist. He points out that the character of the "Method for Quieting Mind," what he calls "Record I," is more consistent with what we know of Tamo's teaching. Broughton also discusses other members of Bodhidharma's circle, the supporting roles played by other sutras in these texts, and much more.

I believe that I can state objectively that this book represents a superb piece of research, and that Broughton has made Tamo's early teachings very accessible. It is my sincere hope that the author will continue working in this field. For anyone interested in the early development of Zen, this text is a fascinating read.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Academically rigorous...but read Red Pine's translation first. 11 Oct 2010
By Joseph P. Reel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Currently, there exists only two book-length English language translations of Bodhidharma's teachings: The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma translated by Red Pine (see my review on Amazon) and Broughton's The Bodhidharma Anthology. I would recommend the former for those who wish to go directly to the core of Bodhidharma's teaching unencumbered by expanded commentaries, copious notes, footnotes, citations, and appendices. Those readers who are interested in the lineage and history of the material may not be daunted by Broughton's densely written scholastic approach, or find the effort worth the struggle.

Broughton relies heavily on codicology and chronological stratification to support the authenticity of the retrieved T'ang Dynasty (618-907 C.E.) source material and numerous texts attributed to Bodhidharma. The codicological criteria include: analysis of paper used in the original copies, manuscript forms, handwriting, and recto texts. Not everyone who might be interested in exploring the teaching will demand such academic rigor.

Nevertheless, both volumes are valuable for understanding Zen (C'han) as taught by Bodhidarma, the first Zen Patriarch in China. The reader who wants a comprehensive, detailed examination of the teaching will be satisfied with Broughton's translation. Those looking for a concise introduction will be better served by Red Pine, at least initially.

And a sidebar: Although the monks of Shaolin Monastery claimed, centuries after his death, that Bodhidharma was the founder of the martial art Kung-fu, there is no such evidence to be found in the early records. Rather, the records indicate that the Shaolin Abbot banished him from the monastery for his critical evaluation of the monks and he lived in a cave about a mile away where he practiced a type of meditation metaphorically referred to as "wall gazing." While some of the resident monks may have approached him to learn this meditation, one may wonder if the monastery misappropriated or co-opted his name in order to elevate the status of their previously established martial arts tradition. This may have also served as a rationale for circumventing the Buddhist prohibition against violence. Self-serving myth? For further elaboration see The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion and the Chinese Martial Arts and/or The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text (both available on Amazon).
27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
excellent 5 May 2000
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I live in the Buddhist hell of Too Many Zen Books. This nicely accompanies all my other ones, and clearly stands out in its own right.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Required zen reading...top flight 10 Aug 2013
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone practicing zen seriously should be familiar with this teaching...it belong in every Buddhist library is a most-used. Read it~
12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen 23 Dec 1999
By C. Abissi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Thorough and enlightening. Brilliant insights! Where has Prof. Broughton been all of these years?
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