In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 249© 1994 by University ofHawai'i Press Michael R. Saso, translator and editor. Buddhist Studies in the People's Republic ofChina: 1990-1991. Honolulu: Tendai Education Foundation and University of Hawai'i Press, 1992. viii, 143 pp. Paperback $14. The first thing one notices when picking up this slim volume is its overly ambitious title. Can it be true that the sum total of research produced by Buddhist scholars in the PRC between 1990 and 1991 can be translated in a mere 143 pages?! If one takes the title of this work seriously, one would indeed be (mis)led to that conclusion. When one opens the cover, what one finds in fact are translations of four articles, all of which originally appeared in Chinese in a single bimonthly journal published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. (One wonders why Saso claims that these were "translated and published" [p. vii] by that journal.) Further, a little investigation shows that these represent fewer than half of the articles on Buddhism published in the same journal during the period in question. Since Saso volunteers no reasons for his particular selection— except to say that Aiey are of"interest and relevance ... to Buddhist dialogue abroad" (p. vii) and "are meant to encourage further dialogue between Chinese scholars in religious studies with [sic] their counterparts outside of China" (p. viii)—and since there is no obvious theme that ties these selections together, the best that can be said of this volume is that it introduces the research of four contemporary Chinese scholars working in and around Beijing, as published in Zhongguo shehui kexue (Social Sciences in China). Still, given the change in the political climate in the PRC, this is important and encouraging. The next thing one notices is how isolated scholarship remains in China. While the papers presented in this volume are serious attempts at working with the theoretical and historical issues of Chinese Buddhism, the conditions under which these scholars work are evident throughout. Lacking is almost any evidence of access to secondary scholarship, either within China itself or from abroad; primary source materials rarely go much beyond the obvious. (The notes to all four articles total a scant four and a half pages.) These Buddhist scholars are indeed working in a relative vacuum, and the overall quality of their research must be applauded , especially given the circumstances. Nevertheless, the most interesting dimension of this collection is the Chinese source of the scholarship rather than the research proper, which parallels and complements (yet regrettably still generally falls behind) that of its Western and Japanese counterparts. Unfortunately, one is also struck by the apparent haste with which this volume was put together. The overall lack of attention paid to presentation, beginning with fhe "Introduction" (a mere two pages), and the lack ofpolish (and/or consistency) of the translations are sometimes disconcerting. One is also occa- 250 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 sionally perplexed by the translation choices made for key technical terms. At times, the volume reads like a first draft. If Saso, rightly, wants us to "dialogue" more with our Chinese counterparts, he should have made it easier for us to do so. In point of fact, nowhere are we given the Chinese journal name, volume, or page numbers for the articles translated. Saso does not even settle on a translation for the respective titles of his selections . While translated differently elsewhere (pp. vii-viii), the four articles as listed in the "Table of Contents" (with original citations offered by this reviewer) are: (1)"Shen Xiu and the Northern School of Zen," by Ren Jiyu, director of the National Library in Beijing (Zhongguo shehui kexue, no. 2 [March 1990]: 109-118); (2)"The Multiethnic Character of Chinese Buddhism," by Du Jiwen of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (ibid., no. 6 [November 1990] : 109-124); (3)"Zhuangzi's Thought and the Spread of Buddhism," by Cai Dahua of the Henan Academy of Social Sciences (ibid., no. 1 [January 1991]: 137-147); and (4)"The Theory of Buddhist Spiritual Realms and Chinese Art Imagery," by Jiang Shuzhuo of Jinan University (ibid., no. 2 [March 1991]: 131...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 249-254
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.