AVAILABLE 12/15: The Empty Bowl & Diamond Sutras Translated by Red Pine

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AVAILABLE 12/15: The Empty Bowl & Diamond Sutras Translated by Red Pine

9.00

ISBN 978-0-912887-76-0

Empty Bowl is proud to present Red Pine’s newest offering: two sutras that record a day in the life of the Buddha when the Buddha was teaching the Prajnaparamita, the teaching that formed the basis of Buddhism’s Mahayana path. Not only are they among the shortest Prajnaparamita texts, they’re connected and read as if they span the events of a single day. In the Empty Bowl Sutra, which appears here in English for the first time, the Buddha’s disciples’ question Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, on his way to town to beg for food, and he responds with the teaching of emptiness – that anything we might think of as real is illusory and its “thingness” based on nothing more than our own projections. In the Diamond Sutra, the translation of which has benefitted from recently discovered Sanskrit copies, the Buddha returns from his own begging round and tells his disciples what results when they combine this teaching with the vow to liberate others. In using the most significant events in his own career as an example, the Buddha presents one of the earliest accounts of how buddhas become buddhas. Both sutras are presented with a minimum of notes so that readers can experience the force of these texts uninterrupted and in a convenient hand-held, open-page format.


Bill Porter, who translated under the name Red Pine, was born in Van Nuys, California on October 3, 1943 and grew up in Northern Idaho, where his parents moved in 1954. Since his father was often away on business, he attended boarding schools in LA and the Bay Area, where he graduated from high school in 1961. After a tour of duty in the US Army 1964-67, he attended UC Santa Barbara and majored in Anthropology. In 1970, he entered graduate school at Columbia University and studied anthropology with a faculty that included Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict. While he was living in New York, he became interested in Buddhism, and in 1972 he left America and moved to a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. After more than three years with the monks and nuns, he struck out on his own and supported himself by teaching English and later by working as a journalist at English-language radio stations in Taiwan and Hong Kong. During this time, he married a Chinese woman, with whom he has two children, and he began working on translations of Chinese poetry and Buddhist texts. In 1993, he returned to America so that his children could learn English, and he has lived ever since in Port Townsend, Washington. For the past twenty years, he has worked as an independent scholar and has supported himself from book royalties and lecture fees. During this time, he has lectured at many of the major universities in the US, England and Germany where he has lectured on Chinese history, culture, poetry, and religion. His translations of texts dealing with these subjects have been honored with a number of awards, including two NEA translation fellowships, a PEN translation award, the inaugural Asian Literature Award of the American Literary Translators Association, a Guggenheim Fellowship, which he received to support work on a book based on a pilgrimage to the graves and homes of China’s greatest poets of the past, which was published under the title Finding Them Gone in January of 2016, and more recently in 2018 the Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation bestowed by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Royalties from the standard edition and proceeds from the signed limited edition of one hundred copies, bound by hand by the translator and friends of Empty Bowl in the foggy November light of 2018, will be donated to the establishment and maintenance of the Port Townsend Meditation Center—a nonprofit, nondenominational, community-based place for sitting and sharing the silence. Donations can be made online at our website:

PortTownsendMeditationCenter.org or mailed to P.O. Box 465, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

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