Publication highlights (Q2 2024): “Perfect Awakening: An Edition and Translation of the Prāsādika and Prasādanīya Sūtras”, by Charles DiSimone

The Long Discourses, or Dīrghāgama, is a collection of the Buddha’s most well-known sermons that has circulated widely in the Buddhist world. Parallel collections in Pali and Chinese have long been known to scholars and practitioners, but it was not until the 1990s that a Mūlasarvāstivāda manuscript transmitted in Sanskrit was discovered, a major find with the potential to reshape our understanding of Buddhism in India and Central Asia. The present volume is the first in a three-volume series to present this rare manuscript, with a study, translation, and critical edition of two of the sūtras in the collection.

Around thirty years ago, a rare bookseller in London parceled out birchbark leaves of a manuscript bundle representing an ancient scripture that had likely been unearthed in the Gilgit region of Pakistan. Even as the fragile folios entered collections in Japan, Norway, and the United States, they were identified by a scholar as belonging to the previously lost Sanskrit Dīrghāgama, the Collection of Long Discourses of the Buddha, of the Mūlasarvāstivādins. Although the forty-seven separate sūtras in this āgama have parallel transmissions extant in the Pali Digha-nikāya and the Chinese Chang ahan jing, this Sanskrit witness, copied in the eighth century, was previously known only from partial quotations and from translations in Tibetan and Chinese. The discovery was thus one of major significance in the study of Buddhist literature.

Charles DiSimone‘s book, one of the first presentations of this manuscript in English, provides a translation, critical reconstruction, and study of two of the sūtras in the Dīrghāgama: the Prāsādika-sūtra and the Prasādanīya-sūtra. Both sūtras offer what appears to have been late teachings of the Buddha on the nature of faith and the preeminence of the Buddha over all other teachers. The Buddhist community was evidently concerned about the coming passing of the Buddha and, in these scriptures, laid the foundation for the tradition to continue with the Buddha at the center. The Prasādanīya-sūtra, in particular, is the locus classicus for the doctrine that only one Buddha and his teachings can exist in a world system at a time, ensuring that the Buddhist community would not be tempted to follow any other teacher who had not realized perfect awakening but would hold true to the Dharma of the Buddha.

These sūtras from the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition are made available to the public for the first time in over a thousand years with philological reconstructions and translations. They are accompanied by synoptic parallels from the corresponding Pali Long Discourses of the Theravāda tradition and the Chinese Long Discourses of the Dharmaguptaka tradition along with citations and related passages from elsewhere in Buddhist literature. In addition, the work contains a full transliteration of the birchbark folios, an introduction to the two sūtras with a study providing paleographic and textual analysis of the manuscript, and notes providing insight and explanation throughout.

Book information

  • Hardcover
  • 504 pages, 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN 9781614296539
  • This book will be available in August 2024 from Wisdom Publications

Publication highlights (Q1 2024): “The Awakening of the Hinterland: The Formation of Regional Vinaya Traditions in Tang China”, by Anna Sokolova

This volume explores the dissemination of the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya tradition in Tang China (618–907) in the context of the dispersal of the state bureaucracy throughout the empire and the changing centre–periphery dynamics. The tradition’s development in China during the Tang Dynasty has traditionally been associated with northern China, particularly the capital city of Chang’an, where Daoxuan (596–667), the de facto founder of the “vinaya school” in China, resided. This book explores the dissemination of Daoxuan’s followers and the subsequent growth of interrelated regional vinaya movements across the Tang regional landscape.

Author: Anna Sokolova

Publisher: Brill

Series: Studies on East Asian Religions, Volume: 10

Publication: 15 Jan 2024

ISBN: 978-90-04-68623-6


Publication highlights (Q4 2023): “Diversifying Philosophy of Religion: Critiques, Methods and Case Studies”, edited by Nathan R. B. Loewen and Agnieszka Rostalska

Much philosophical thinking about religion in the Anglophone world has been hampered by the constraints of Eurocentrism, colonialism and orientalism. Addressing such limitations head-on, this exciting collection develops models for exploring global diversity in order to bring philosophical studies of religion into the globalized 21st century.

Drawing on a wide range of critical theories and methodologies, and incorporating ethnographic, feminist, computational, New Animist and cognitive science approaches, an international team of contributors outline the methods and aims of global philosophy of religion. From considering the importance of orality in African worldviews to interacting with Native American perspectives on the cosmos and investigating contemplative studies in Hinduism, each chapter demonstrates how expertise in different methods can be applied to various geographical regions, building constructive options for philosophical reflections on religion.

Diversifying Philosophy of Religion raises important questions regarding who speaks for and represents religious traditions, setting the agenda for a truly inclusive philosophy of religion that facilitates multiple standpoints.

Publication details

Edited by Nathan R. B. Loewen and Agnieszka Rostalska

Published: June 29, 2023

ISBN: 9781350264007

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Series: Expanding Philosophy of Religion

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Introduction, Nathan Loewen and Agnieszka Rostalska

Part I. Critique and Methods
1. Deprovincializing Philosophy of Religion: from “Faith and Reason” to the Postcolonial Revaluation of Religious Epistemologies, Jacob Sherman
2. Postcolonialism and the Question of Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion, Andrew Irvine and Purushottama Bilimoria
3. Why Philosophers of Religion Don’t Need “Religion”- At Least Not for Now, Tim Knepper
4. Re-envisioning Philosophy of Religion from a Feminist Perspective, Morny Joy
5. Is Philosophy of Religion Racist?, Sonia Sikka
6. Philosophy of Religion beyond Belief: Thinking with Anthropology’s New Animists, Lisa Landoe-Hedrick
7. Theory and Method in the Philosophy of Religion in China’s Song-Dynasty, Leah Kalmanson
8. The Theory and Practice of the Multi-Entry Approach, Gereon Kopf
9. Comparison of Religious Ideas in Philosophy of Religion, Robert Neville
10. The Relevance of Scriptures, Steve Smith

Part II. Case Studies
11. Ethnographically Informed Philosophy of Religion in a Study of Assamese Goddess Worship, Mikel Burley
12. Praxis, Louis Komjathy
13. Nishida Kitaro’s ‘I and Thou’ through the Work of Jessica Benjamin: Toward the Issue of Equality, Mayuko Uehara
14. The Nguni traditional ‘religious’ thoughts: The Isintu philosophy of the Zulu/Ndebele, Herbert Moyo
15. Approaching a Lakota Philosophy of Religion, Fritz Detwiler
16. Yasukuni, Okinawa and Fukushima: Philosophy of Sacrifice in the Nuclear Age, Ching-Yuen Cheung
17. Technology and the Spiritual: From Prayer Bots to the Singularity, Yvonne Förster
18. Can you see the seer? Approaching Consciousness from an Advaita Vedanta Perspective , Varun Khanna
19. The Danger in Diversifying Philosophy of Religion, Kevin Schilbrack