Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay, Columns

Sources of Chinese Tradition

Back in the waning days of the late modern era (viz., the 1950s), a group of Asianists at Columbia University, led by Theodore de Bary, established basic paradigms for two generations of secondary and postsecondary teachers and their students: they compiled an “Introduction to Oriental Civilizations” consisting of “sourcebooks” on India, China, and Japan.1 For those students, myself included, the nature and contents of “Chinese Tradition” were defined largely by this work’s origina...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Alternatives for Teaching Asian Religions

An Essay Review of Gary E. Kessler’s Book Eastern Ways of Being Religious MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA: MAYFIELD PUBLISHING, 2000 278 PAGES and Robert E. Van Vorst’s Book Anthology of Asian Scriptures BELMONT, CALIFORNIA: WADSWORTH/THOMSON LEARNING, 2000 240 PAGES These two new textbooks give secondary and postsecondary teachers new alternatives for providing students with readings from major Asian religions....

Columns, Film Review

Choice for a Chinese Woman: Enlightenment in a Buddhist Convent

A mong the few videos concerning Chinese religions is this 1993 German production. But rather than illustrate Chinese Buddhism, it provides a muddled and biased depiction of events in the life of one thirteen-yearold girl, and attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince us that such girls enter convents only when driven to do so by intolerable social oppression....

Book Review, Resources

The Shambhala Guide to Taoism

BY EVA WONG BOSTON AND LONDON: SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, 1997 X + 268 PAGES Until the 1990s, there were virtually no suitable texts for teaching about Taoism (Daoism). General textbooks—both texts on Chinese civilization and texts on “world religions”—usually contain a mishmash of nonsense and long-obsolete data, and often give the mistaken impression that Taoism, at least after Lao-tzu (Laozi) and Chuang-tzu (Zhuangzi), was nothing more than foolish superstition. Such impressions we...

Book Review, Resources

Chinese Religion: Two New Sourcebooks

Chinese Religion: An Anthology of Sources Edited by Deborah Sommer NEW YORK AND OXFORD: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1995 XXIII + 375 PAGES Religions of China in Practice Edited by Donald S. Lopez, Jr. PRINCETON: PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1996 XVI + 499 PAGES   These are the first English language collections of primary texts designed specifically for studying Chinese religion.1 Both are solid collections of well translated texts, but they are very different from one anoth...