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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:02 pm 
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meditation “stopping and seeing” versus “the essentials”

How does “Stopping and Seeing: A Comprehensive Course in Buddhist Meditation” by Thomas Cleary compare to “The Essentials of Buddhist Meditation”

both by Shramana Zhiyi (Chih-i) - (538-597 ce)

Are they different texts? What does either book offer the other doesn't?

Thanks, Leo


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:50 pm 
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I haven't done a systematic comparison of the two; I'm more familiar with the Cleary translation. That said, I'd tackle the volume translated as "The Essentials" first. Enjoy!

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:59 pm 
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I have Ven. Dharmamitra (Kalavinka)'s book, and though I have not read Cleary's, I would say that it is far safer bet to read Dharmamitra's translation, since as a Bhiksu he is a full time practitioner. Thomas Cleary is known to be a little shaky with his translation, and though he usually gets it right enough (i.e. doesn't deviate from the main gist of the texts he works on), in this case it would be better to start with Dharmamitra's.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:55 am 
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Thanks... I was actually concerned they were the same book with a different title as well.

A "Course in Buddhist Yoga" is also "The Scripture Revealing the Hidden Intent" etc...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:51 am 
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Venerable Dharmamitra's "Essentials".

~~ Huifeng

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:58 am 
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Hi,
I have both and they are both the same text under a different name- they are Zhiyi's xiao zhiguan/shoshikan.
Hope that helps!
Gassho
Jikai

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:24 pm 
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jikai wrote:
I have both and they are both the same text under a different name- they are Zhiyi's xiao zhiguan/shoshikan.

Cleary's Stopping and Seeing is an abridged translation of parts of the Mohe Zhiguan, not the Xiao Zhiguan.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:34 pm 
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As Jnana says Cleary only did the first quarter of the Large "Stopping & Seeing',(#1 in the following list of 4); Ven. Dharmamitra did another, smaller text (#3). As the latter says in his introduction:

Quote:
1) The Great Calming-and-Insight (摩訶止觀 / T46.1911.001–140)
2) An Explanation of the Dharma Gateway of Dhyāna Pāramitā (釋 禪波羅蜜次第法門 / T46.1916.475–548)
3) The Essentials for Practicing Calming-and-Insight and Dhyāna Meditation (修習止觀坐禪法要 / T46.1915.462–475)
4) The Six Gates to the Sublime (六妙法門 / T46.1917.549–555)

Of the above four texts, this translation is the third. (I have also translated the fourth and am publishing it under separate cover.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:17 am 
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@Jnana,
I stand corrected. You are right, I hadn't looked over clearys book for quite some time. My apologies.
Gassho
Jikai

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:29 pm 
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As has been pointed out, these are two completely different texts attributed to Zhiyi.

"Essentials" I recall was written by Zhiyi for his brother who was going through a difficult period in his life. Zhiyi was recommending basic Buddhist meditation practice to help him. I think there is another translation of the text in English... I've used it as a meditation manual and recommend it. Another Zhiyi work translated by Dharmamitra, Six Gates to the Sublime Dharma, or something along those lines, is also a very good meditation manual.

Mohozhikuan - which Cleary translates as "Stopping and Seeing" - I do not recommend that work AT ALL. Its abridged and Cleary makes no indication where he has cut parts out. Its very hard to follow. If you are interested in a very good translation of this text - Check out Paul Swanson's, published by Risshokoseikai. It is very well researched and annotated with extensive footnotes. Unfortunately, it is only available as a PDF on DVD. There are sections published on Swanson's pages at the Nanzan University web page. A little googling should get you there. However, Swanson's translation only includes the first 6 chapters on the DVD, and then the beginning of the 7th chapter on his website. A large bulk of the text, the balance of the 7th Chapter, remains to be translated into English.

Mohozhikuan is not a meditation manual the way Essentials and Six Dharma Gates is. Those texts are pretty basic - not breathe-in-breathe-out basic. Maybe better to call it intermediate - how meditation session should proceed in stages, how to deal with obstacles, what the goal is, etc. Mohozhikuan is more of a doctrinal exposition taken to be Zhiyi's crowning achievement. Its said to be an exposition of his own enlightenment. This work is generally read in the context of serious Tientai/Tendai practice, along with Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra (a general explanation of Zhiyi's interpretation of the Lotus Sutra) and Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra (a commentary on the Lotus Sutra), as well as other doctrinal commentaries on other works like the Vimalakirti Sutra. Basically, this is more appropriate for sectarian Tientai/Tendai/Lotus Dharma traditions and may not have the same resonance with people of other traditions.

Essentials and Six Dharma Gates can be approached by a more general audience, I think.


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