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By Karen Armstrong

With such bestsellers as A historical past of God and Islam, Karen Armstrong has continually brought "penetrating, readable, and prescient" (The big apple Times) works that experience lucidly engaged quite a lot of religions and spiritual concerns. In Buddha she turns to a determine whose inspiration remains to be reverberating in the course of the international 2,500 years after his death.
Many recognize the Buddha purely from seeing numerous serene, iconic pictures. yet what of the fellow himself and the realm he lived in? What did he really do in his approximately 80 years on the earth that spawned one of many maximum religions in global background? Armstrong tackles those questions and extra by way of reading the existence and occasions of the Buddha during this engrossing philosophical biography. opposed to the tumultuous cultural heritage of his global, she blends heritage, philosophy, mythology, and biography to create a compelling and illuminating portrait of a guy whose awakening maintains to encourage hundreds of thousands.

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An action that embodies compassion is wholesome and one that does not is unwholesome. Any action, small or large, affects self and other. Cause brings forth effect. Thus, the dualistic perspective of Buddhist ethics—good and bad, right and wrong—is based on nondualism. Here emerges a fundamental dilemma of Buddhism. If one focuses merely on prajnā, one may say that there is no good and bad, and one may become indifferent and possibly destructive. On the other hand, if one only thinks of cause and effect, one may not be able to understand prajnā.

44 Toward the Ultimate Simplicity During the five years between 1248 and 1252, Dōgen gave more than fifty formal talks each year. He wrote further guidelines on monastic activities. Although he did not write any new fascicles of The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, he presented the fascicle “Face Washing,”45 first written in 1239, to his community for the third time. By giving detailed instructions on formal ways of cleansing, he emphasized the importance of cleanliness both inside and out. 46 In the fall of 1252 he became sick.

In 1217 Dōgen became a disciple of Butsuju Myōzen, Eisai’s successor as abbot of the Kennin Monastery. We can assume that Dōgen was trained by Myōzen in kōan* studies, which was the principal method of training in the Linji School. Kōans are exemplary stories of ancient masters pointing to realization, which are investigated by students under the personal guidance of their teacher and which may lead to direct experience of the nondual aspect of all things beyond intellect. In 1221 Dōgen received a certificate of full accomplishment from Myōzen.

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