Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Book Review Essay, Resources

Sources of Chinese Tradition

WM. THEODORE DE BARY AND IRENE BLOOM, ED. NEW YORK: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1999. PAPERBACK. ISBN 0-23110-939-3 Reviewed by RUSSELL KIRKLAND   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 I...

Columns, Film Review

Choice for a Chinese Woman: Enlightenment in a Buddhist Convent

Among 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-year-old girl, and attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince us that such girls enter convents only when driven to do so by intolerable social oppression. As the video opens in the girl’s Sichuan village, the narrator asserts that she was destined to marry “a coarse man, to whom she would...

Book Review, Resources

The Shambhala Guide to Taoism

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 were generally reinforced by the few general scholarly works on Taoism, such as Ho...

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 another...