Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Review: Films about Chinese Monks

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

Alms & Vows. By E.A. Burger. Commonfolk Films, 2010 & 2013. $150/film.

Reviewed by Nicole Goulet

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Review: The Religion of Falun Gong

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

The Religion of Falun Gong. By Benjamin Penny. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012, xiii + 262 pages, ISBN: 9780226655017 (cloth), $50.00.

Reviewed by Paul Hedges

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Review: Buddhism Goes to the Movies

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Buddhism Goes to the Movies: An Introduction to Buddhist Thought and Practice. By Ronald Green. New York: Routledge, 2014, 166 pages, ISBN: 9780415841481 (paperback), $34.95.

Reviewed by John Whalen-Bridge

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Review: The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment. By Dan Smyer Yü. London: Routledge, 2012, xi + 222 pages, ISBN 978-0-415-57532-4 (cloth), $138.00.

Reviewed by Stuart Young

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Review: Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China. Edited by Paul Williams and Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, ISBN: 9781107003880 (paper-back), $39.99.

Reviewed by Nicolas Sihlé

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Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Rethinking the Precept of Not Taking Money in Contemporary Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese Buddhist Nunneries

Tzu-Lung Chiu
University of Ghent

According to monastic disciplinary texts, Buddhist monastic members are prohibited from accepting “gold and silver,” and arguably, by extension, any type of money. This rule has given rise to much debate, in the past as well as in the present, particularly between Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhist communities. The article explores the results of my multiple-case qualitative study of eleven monastic institutions in Taiwan and Mainland China, and reveals a hitherto under-theorized conflict between Vinaya rules and the bodhisattva ideal, as well as a diversity of opinions on the applicability of the rule against money handling as it has been shaped by socio-cultural contexts, including nuns’ adaptation to the laity’s ethos.

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Review: Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia. By Thomas David DuBois. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, xii+ 259 pages, ISBN 987-1107400405 (paperback), ISBN 978-1107008090 (cloth) $81.00.

Reviewed by Yueh-Mei Lin

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Review: Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500-1700. By Jimmy Yu. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, xiv + 272 pages, ISBN 978-0-19-984490 (paperback), $29.95.

Reviewed by Nikolas Broy

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Reimagining Buddhist Ethics on the Tibetan Plateau

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Reimagining Buddhist Ethics on the Tibetan Plateau

Holly Gayley
University of Colorado, Boulder

This article examines the ideological underpinnings of ethical reform currently underway in Tibetan areas of the PRC, based on a newly reconfigured set of ten Buddhist virtues and consolidated into vows taken en masse by the laity. I focus on texts of advice to the laity by cleric-scholars from Larung Buddhist Academy, one of the largest Buddhist institutions on the Tibetan plateau and an important source for an emergent Buddhist modernism. In analyzing texts of advice, I am interested in how lead-ing Buddhist voices articulate a “path forward” for Tibetans as a people, calling simultaneously for ethical reform and cultural preservation. Specifically, I trace the tensions and ironies that emerge in their attempts to synthesize, on the one hand, a Buddhist emphasis on individual moral action and its soteriological ramifications and, on the other hand, a secular concern for the social welfare of the Tibetan population and the preservation of its civilizational inheritance. In doing so, I view ethical reform as part of a broader Buddhist response to China’s civilizing mission vis-à-vis Tibetans and new market forces encouraged by the post-Mao state.

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Review: Buddhist Miracle Tales from Early Medieval China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Signs from the Unseen Realm: Buddhist Miracle Tales from Early Medieval China. By Robert Ford Campany. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012, ix + 300 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3602-3 (cloth), $65.00.

Reviewed by Kendall Marchman

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A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 19, 2012

Right View, Red Rust, and White Bones: A Reexamination of Buddhist Teachings on Female Inferiority

Allison A. Goodwin
College of Liberal Arts
National Taiwan University

Hundreds of psychological and social studies show that negative expectations and concepts of self and others, and discrimination based on the idea that a particular group is inferior to another, adversely affect those who discriminate as well as those who are subject to discrimination. This article argues that both genders are harmed by negative Buddhist teachings about women and by discriminatory rules that limit their authority, rights, activities, and status within Buddhist institutions. Śākyamuni Buddha’s instructions in the Tripiṭaka for evaluating spiritual teachings indicate that because such views and practices have been proven to lead to harm, Buddhists should conclude that they are not the True Dharma and should abandon them.

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Review: Buddhism and Taoism in Medieval China

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China. By Christine Mollier. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, xi + 241 pages, ISBN: 0824831691 (hardcover), US $55.00.

Reviewed by Alyson Prude

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Review: Fabrication in Tang Dynasty Chan

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Fathering Your Father: The Zen of Fabrication in Tang Buddhism. By Alan Cole. Berkeley:University of California Press, 2009, xix + 340 pages, ISBN: 8-0520254855 (paperback), US $29.95; ISBN 978-0520254858 (cloth).

Reviewed by Matthew J. Wilhite

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Review: Life of 20th Century Chinese Monk

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 18, 2011

Heart of Buddha, Heart of China: The Life of Tanxu, a Twentieth-Century Monk. By James Carter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, viii+221 pages, ISBN 019539885-4 (cloth), US $29.95.

Reviewed by Erik Hammerstrom

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Review: A History of Modern Tibet

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947. By Tsering Shakya. London: Pimlico Original, 1999, xxi + 571 pages, ISBN: 0-71266-533-1, £12.50 (paper).

Reviewed by Martin A. Mills

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Review: Tibet, China and the Dalai Lama

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

The Snow Lion and the Dragon: Tibet, China and the Dalai Lama. By Melvyn C. Goldstein. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997, xiii + 152 pages, : 0-520-21254-1, US$19.95.

Reviewed by Toni Huber

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Review: Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity. Edited By Melvyn C. Goldstein and Matthew T. Kapstein. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, 235 pages, paperback ISBN: 0520211316, US $15.95, cloth ISBN: 0520211308, US$40.00.

Reviewed by Cathy Cantwell

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Review: Engaged Buddhism in Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Edited by Christopher S. Queen and Sallie B. King. New York: State University of New York, 1996, xii + 446 pages, ISBN 0-7914-2844-3, $24.95.

Reviewed by Mavis L. Fenn

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Review: Tibetan Culture

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Constructing Tibetan Culture: Contemporary Perspectives. Edited By Frank J. Korom. St-Hyacinthe (Quebec): World Heritage Press, 1997, 230 pages, ISBN 1-896064-12-4, US $19.95.

Reviewed By Toni Huber

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Review: Ch’an Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Liberating Intimacy: Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity in Ch’an Buddhism. By Peter D. Hershock. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996, xv + 236 pages, ISBN 0-79142-982-2, $62.50 (cloth), $20.95 (paper).

Reviewed by Steven Heine

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