Ich bin a ZeNAZI©®™!

Actually not a ZeNazi but a gilted bronze Ming Dynasty Amitabha

This will be a random post full of barely connected threads.  First off the title “Ich bin a ZeNazi©®™ is a take off of an email I received from a Dharma-buddy about a term that has been applied to me in some random posts out there in the Buddhoblogosphere.  I find it funny and thus the title and the image of Amitabha (who was not, by the way, a Nazi nor a facist and is, in fact, quite an agreeable character).  Although if you stare into his mundra he will owe you a punch in the arm.

A fellow Dharma practitioner (while his Dharma is related to the old Norse religion of Asatru) recently came back from a trip to Taiwan where he was invited to speak on some paleontological issues (you can read about his travels here).  Now while he was gone I was secretly coveting the amazing Dharma gifts that would be bestowed upon me!  Gilded Statues, Rosewood malas, exotic insence or the Buddha’s toenail! And my gifts were….

Books!  Not as auspicious as a Buddha’s toenail but they look much better on a book shelf.

My first gifted book was “A Special Exhibition of Recently Acquired Gilf-Bronze Buddhist Images“.  From the website it was explained that the Buddha was originally distinguished by thirty-two special marks of perfection (mah purusa laksana) including a golden body. Therefore, images made of wood, molded clay, and stone are all customarily gold gilt, whereby the Buddha’s perfection is compared to infinite rays of light. According to the Buddhist sutras, “A gold-colored body is one of the thirty-two favorable marks of the Buddha. The golden rays shine upon the Twenty Eight Heavens, the Eighteen Hells, and the world of the Buddhist deities (from T’ai-tzu jui-ying pen-ch’i ching). The Buddha’s golden hue is marvelous, ethereal (from The Sutra of Cause and Effect, Past and Present).”  

Now, I already had my discussion on the thirty-two special marks but I am not recalling the “golden skin” part.  I am, however, not digging back into that can of worms!  The images within are from the 5th to 16th century China and are amazingly beautiful.  I can only image that the exhibit itself was an amazing sight to behold.

I recall this book from post awhile back by Arun of Angry Asian Buddhist fame as well as from a post by Marcus from the now defunct but still blisteringly pure Marcus’ Journal.  I thought it sounded interesting so I contacted the publisher about a copy and recieved…nothing.  Well, obviously karma did it’s thing and I received a copy via “Viking Mail” (that would be thievery for the lay-person).  

From the BDK Website: Anyone who has stayed in a hotel in Japan has probably seen a copy of The Teaching of Buddha. First published in 1925, the book was originally edited by Japanese scholars of Buddhism before WWII and distributed widely throughout Japan. The first English edition was published in 1934. The Reverend Dr. Yehan Numata brought out another English edition in 1962, and in 1966, after the establishment of the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism), Dr. Numata assembled a committee of Buddhist scholars to substantially revise and edit a new English-Japanese edition. The Teaching of Buddha has undergone minor revisions and numerous reprintings since. It is now available in fourty-one languages and over 7 million copies have been distributed and placed in hotel rooms in over fifty countries throughout the world.

The Teaching of Buddha is a collection of writings on the essence of Buddhism, selected and edited from the vast Buddhist canon, presented in a concise, easy-to-read, and nonsectarian format. It also includes a brief history of Buddhism, a listing of the source texts, a glossary of Sanskrit terms, and an index.
Yes, I do believe this book was stolen from a hotel room…and I am fine with that.

Another book probably stolen from a hotel or perhaps from a random Buddhist mugging; Jing Si Aphorisms is Master Cheng Yen’s translation of the essence of the Buddha’s teachings into simple terms and easy language (almost similar to a fortune cookie.  Sorry but they are). These little snippets of wisdom are nice and easy to digest…like cheese puffs but without the gross orange finger dust.  First published in 1989, over 3.5 million copies have since been printed in 11 languages. In addition, Jing Si Aphorisms have been published via different media such as in Jing Si books for children, Jing Si cartoons, bookmarks, small decorative items, and cards.

So there you go.  New books, ZeNazis and some bedside reading for me.  To counteract the negative karma [sic] of the probable theft of these books I will donate them to a bedside drawer in the next crappy motel I stay at and throw out that  passe Bible.

Cheers,

John

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