Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight

T'ien-tai Chih-i's Mo-ho chih-kuan

Paul L. Swanson

University of Hawaii Press, 2017. 3 vols., 2,256 pages

The Mo-ho chih-kuan (Great cessation-and-contemplation) by T’ien-t’ai Chih-i (538–597) is among the most influential treatises in the long history of Buddhist scholarship. In Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight, one of today’s foremost scholars on T’ien-t’ai (Tendai) Buddhism offers the first complete, fully annotated translation of this significant work. The full scope of Buddhist tradition and its practices is illuminated: from sitting or walking in meditation to chanting the Buddha’s name, to defining the tenets of ethical living—and its teachings; from the “Hīnayāna” Āgama texts to Mahāyāna sutras and treatises, to various Buddhist and non-Buddhist (indigenous Chinese) beliefs.

Extensive annotation accompanying the translation (volumes 1 and 2) will help readers understand the original text and implications of various crucial passages and ideas, as well as the place the Mo-ho chih-kuan occupies in the development of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese Buddhism and its critical importance for figures such as Nichiren. Volume 3 contains ample supplementary materials, including translations of related texts, a comprehensive glossary, and a list of Buddhist sources.

Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture, vol. 14