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Publishers Weekly, 1996-06-10 Like the writings of many religious traditions, the poems and stories of the Buddhist tradition circulated orally for generations before they were finally collected and written down in the first century B.C. The oldest writings in Buddhism are the theragatahas (songs of men) and the therigathas (songs of women) recited by the earliest disciples of Buddha. These songs celebrate the accounts of personal struggle for enlightenment experienced by these men and women as they attempt to practice the teachings of the Buddha. For example, Jambuka describes the folly of his ascetic practice ("I practiced terrible yogas/ stood for days on one leg/ slept on rock") as a means of enlightenment and his subsequent transformation ("I took refuge in the Buddha"). Most importantly, however, this collection recovers the voices of early women followers of Buddha in the "Songs of the Buddhist Nuns" and provides a glimpse into the differences between the spiritual concerns of these women and those of the Buddha's earliest male disciples. Addhakasi, a prostitute, for instance, contrasts the pricelessness of her physical body to men to the pricelessness of her newly born Buddhist spiritual body. Schelling and Waldman's rich and fertile translations of these poems reveal the beauty and depth of the spiritual transformations of Buddha's closest followers. (July)
Publishers Weekly, 1996-06-03 Selected from an ancient oral tradition of the earliest Buddhist communities in northern India, and later transcribed into written language, is Songs of the Sons and Daughters of the Buddha, poetry composed over two thousand years ago. Translators Andrew Schelling and Anne Waldman have tried to "restore the spark and excitement of the poetry that ripples beneath the canonical text." Included are songs and poems by men and women, the latter considered among the world's oldest collection of poems by women. (Shambhala, $11 128p ISBN 1-57062-172-1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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