Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review, Columns

A Buddhist in the Classroom

In the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Southeast Asia, the Buddha was not a god or a savior, but a teacher. Sid Brown, who has a background as a Buddhist nun and now teaches Asian Studies at Sewanee: The University of the South, asked herself the question, “How does Buddhism influence the way I teach in twenty-first century America?” Her thoughts on that topic became the delightful book A Buddhist in the Classroom....

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Poetry of Zen

EDITED AND TRANSLATED By SAM HAMILL AND J. P. SEATON BOSTON AND LONDON: SHAMBHALA, 2007 208 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1590304259, PAPERBACK Reviewed by Joe Gawrys “Nothing’s worth noting that is not seen with fresh eyes,” Bashō says. Sam Hamhill and J. P. Seton’s The Poetry of Zen is a surprising, delightful new anthology of Zen. The first surprise is the poets the book includes. The first, Lao Tzu, is perhaps not too much of a stretch since, as the authors say, “Zen is Taoist Buddhism,...

Book Review, Columns

A Yankee in Meiji Japan: The Crusading Journalist Edward W. House

James L. Huffman adopts an unusual but highly effective technique in a new biography, A Yankee in Meiji Japan: The Crusading Journalist Edward W. House. Assuming, correctly, that most of us don’t know much about Meiji Japan, Huffman devotes every odd chapter to an overview of several years of Japanese history during this critical period. In the even chapters, then, Huffman writes his biographical portrait of House, an important journalist who helped to shape Western and especially American att...

Book Review, Resources

The Rise of Modern Japan

CURRICULUM RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT GROUP UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS, 2003 274 PAGES. HARDCOVER ISBN: 0-8248-2531-4 Reviewed by Joe Gawyrs It’s amazing how, post-9/11, the great cultural debate over whether or not we need a global curriculum has just gone away. We need one, and it’s hard to find anyone who still wants to argue that European and American history are sufficient for American students. But where are the teachers with the background to teach non-Western classes? And where are...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Three Zen Books

An Essay Review of Andrew Ferguson’s Book Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings SOMERVILLE, MASS. WISDOM PUBLICATIONS, 2000 518 PAGES Burton Watson’s Book The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi: A Translation of the Lin-chi lu NEW YORK COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2000 140 PAGES and Hal W. French’s Book Zen and the Art of Anything COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA SUMMERHOUSE PRESS, 1999 175 PAGES Reviewed by Joe Gawyrs...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Hinduism and Buddhism

A BILL MOYERS SPECIAL FILMS FOR THE HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES 1996. 58 MINUTES Hinduism and Buddhism, the first part of Bill Moyers’ conversations with Huston Smith in The Wisdom of Faith series, is not a systematic introduction to these two religions. Those teachers who eagerly watch it as a potential replacement for The Long Search series (which, filmed in the ’70s, is getting a bit long in the tooth) will be disappointed. Rather, this film is largely about Huston Smith himself, and es...


Going Beyond Hesse’s Siddhartha

For years I used Hesse’s Siddhartha in my 11th-grade world religions course; now I don’t. Here’s why. Siddhartha fulfills most teachers’ desires for a text (and no book fulfills them all). It’s an engaging read that’s accessible to even the weaker students and yet is thoughtful enough for even the best. Students do, as Mossman says, often get very enthusiastic about it, and just about anything that fosters a love of reading and encourages thoughtfulness is worth assigning. Siddhar...