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Splendid Vision Reading a Buddhist Sutra

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ISBN-10: 0231156693

ISBN-13: 9780231156691

Edition: 2012

Authors: Richard S. Cohen

List price: $27.00
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Featuring the first-ever English translation of the "Splendid Vision Sutra," a sixth-century Indian Mahayana Buddhist scripture known for its rich ritual magic and worship of bodhisattva-goddesses, this volume explicates the sutra's cultural significance as a source of extraordinary value, cosmic truth, and existential meaning. The ancient author of the "Splendid Vision Sutra" promises every imaginable reward to those who heed its words and rites, whether one's desire is to become king, enjoy heavenly pleasures for thousands of millennia, or attain the spiritual summit of advanced bodhisattvahood. Richard S. Cohen carefully analyzes this religious rhetoric, developing a heuristic model of "scripture" that extends beyond Buddhist literature. In his framework, a text becomes sacred scripture when a community accepts it as a receptacle of extraordinary value, an authoritative source of cosmic truth, and a guide for meaningful action. While clarifying these points, Cohen untangles the discursive skein through which the "Splendid Vision Sutra" expresses its authority, inspires readers to accept that authority, and promises superior power and accomplishments to those who implement its teachings. Exploring ways of living and reading a text, he draws upon Marcel Duchamp's theory of found art, Jerzy Grotowski's idealization of the holy actor, and other formulations to identify contingencies, uncertainties, and incompleteness in the lived present and its determination of our reception of the past. More than a mere introduction to an important work, Cohen opens a window into religious experience and practice in contemporary environments as well as in the world of the sutra.
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Book details

List price: $27.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 5/1/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 176
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.484
Language: English

Introduction to the Translation
Gilgit�s Splendid Vision
Sutra as Readymade: A Rationale for Reading
Regarding the Translation
The Assembly
Setting the Scene
Shakyamuni's Discourse
Vajrapani's Discourse
Manjushri's Questions-Shakyamuni's Answers
Avalokiteshvara's Discourse
Anopama's Discourse
Shanldiini's Discourse
Bhima's Discourse
Reprising the Merit of the Sutra
Verses, Second Set
The Concluding Discourse
Interpretive Essay
Reading Sutras in Theory and in Practice
The Splendid Vision as Scripture: Setting the Scene
Authority: From India to Rome and Back Again
The Play of Power
Conclusion: On Impertinence
Works Cited