Elaborations of Emptiness

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1998-10-19
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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TheHeart Sutrais perhaps the most famous Buddhist text, traditionally regarded as a potent expression of emptiness and of the Buddha's perfect wisdom. This brief, seemingly simple work was the subject of more commentaries in Asia than any other sutra. InElaborations on Emptiness, Donald Lopez explores for the first time the elaborate philosophical and ritual uses of theHeart Sutrain India, Tibet, and the West. Included here are full translations of the eight extant Indian commentaries. Interspersed with the translations are six essays that examine the unusual roles theHeart Sutrahas played: it has been used as a mantra, an exorcism text, a tantric meditation guide, and as the material for comparative philosophy. Taken together, the translations and essays that formElaborations on Emptinessdemonstrate why commentary is as central to modern scholarship on Buddhism as it was for ancient Buddhists. Lopez reveals unexpected points of instability and contradiction in theHeart Sutra, which, in the end, turns out to be the most malleable of texts, where the logic of commentary serves as a tool of both tradition and transgression.

Table of Contents

Technical Note and Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 3
Who Heard the Heart Sutra?p. 19
The Commentaries of Vimalamitra and Atisap. 47
The Heart Sutra as Tantrap. 78
The Commentaries of Kamalasila and Srisimhap. 105
The Heart Sutra as Sadhanap. 116
The Commentaries of Jnanamitra and Prasastrasenap. 141
The Heart Sutra's Mantrap. 165
The Commentaries of Mahajana and Vajrapanip. 187
The Heart Sutra as Exorcismp. 216
Commentators Ancient and Postmodernp. 239
Indexp. 261
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