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Book Review: "How Buddhism Acquired a Soul on the Way to China," by Jongnok Park
Author Nichols, Brian J.
Source Religious Studies Review
Volumev.40 n.4
Publisher Url
LocationOxford, UK [牛津, 英國]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article; 書評=Book Review
NoteHow Buddhism Acquired a Soul on the Way to China. By Jongnok Park. Equinox Publishing, April 19, 2012. 272 pages. ISBN-10: 1845539974 ISBN-13: 978-1845539979
AbstractBased on the dissertation of the late Jongnok Park (Oxford, 2008), this ambitious book, brought to publication by one of Park's advisors Richard Gombrich, exhibits an impressive breadth of facility in dealing with Chinese translations of Indian Buddhism and examining each within their own doctrinal contexts. Park demonstrates that early translators in China (third to fourth century) interpolated a “permanent agent” or soul (shen, hun) that migrates through saṃsāra and serves as the agent of perception in dozens of canonical translations. Although these errors were corrected in the early fifth century by Saṃghadeva and Kumārajīva, the damage had been done, Park argues, and the Chinese Buddhist soul reached its pinnacle of development in the Chan idea of “true nature” (zhenxing). Park's most important contributions are in the third of three parts where he focuses on the work of early translators and their use of terms indicating a subsisting conscious agent, and appendix which charts the appearance of seven important terms using shen or hun in the Chinese canon. A weakness of the book is its intentionally narrow reading of the Buddhist tradition in the interest of “systematic reading,” which may lead Park to leave out elements of Indian Buddhism that could serve as antecedents to a more permanent self (e.g. the Pudgalavādins). The book is accessible to readers with no background in Buddhism, but will be of most interest to specialists in Chinese religion and East Asian Buddhism in its treatment of doctrinal history and translation issues.
ISSN0319485X (P); 17480922 (E)
Created date2017.03.29
Modified date2019.11.25

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