The Awakening of Faith, Attributed to Aévaghosha

The Awakening of Faith, Attributed to Aévaghosha

The Awakening of Faith, Attributed to Aévaghosha

The Awakening of Faith, Attributed to Aévaghosha

Synopsis

This text is a short treatise, but its importance is out of all proportion to its length, since it provides a comprehensive summary of the essentials of Mahayana Buddhism. It discusses the question of how man can transcend his finite state and participate in the life of the infinite while still remaining in the midst of the phenomenal order and concludes with a discussion of the particular practices and techniques that will aid the believer in the awakening and growth of his faith.

Excerpt

The Awakening of Faith is one of the Translations from the Oriental Classics by which the Committee on Oriental Studies has sought to transmit to Western readers representative works of the major Asian traditions in thought and literature. These are works which in our judgment any educated man should have read. Frequently, however, this reading has been denied him by the lack of suitable translations. All too often he has had to choose between excerpts in popular anthologies on the one hand, and on the other heavily annotated translations intended primarily for the specialist, which in many cases are out of date or out of print. Here we offer translations of whole works, based on scholarly studies, but written for the general reader as well as the specialist.

Of the major traditions of Oriental thought Chinese and Japanese Buddhism is the least well represented by competent translations, despite the quantity of secondary writing on the subject. This is due in part to linguistic difficulties. in the case of the Awakening of Faith, one confronts also the inherent subtlety and complexity of its basic ideas. Though these concepts have entered into Mahayana philoso-

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