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Buddhist Perspective on Literature

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The essence of Buddhism is compassion, or rather tapping into the unlimited resources of mind's inner wealth, the full development of human potential. Art and literature are also often understood as tools for bringing deep meaning to human existence, enriching it with qualities and values more profound than mindless consumption. Can these two unlikely friends, Buddhism and literature, form an effective ally in bringing timeless dimensions to our everyday lives?

How will a modern, Western Buddhist understand Shakespeare? Should Buddhists read fiction at all, or just sit and meditate? Is there any benefit in poetry? The book is an attempt at describing a Western Buddhist's perspective on literature and modern literary criticism, presenting and contrasting attitudes of modern literary scholars and Buddhist practitioners.

The book begins with the presentation of parallels and possible influences Buddhist narrative has exerted on ancient and modern Western culture in general, and literature in particular. Next it provides a detailed dissection of the concept of literature, dismantling it from the Buddhist perspective into... emptiness.

In the Mahayana spirit, the analytical deconstruction of reality should be accompanied by a compassionate, ethical attitude. Therefore, far from being nihilistic meaninglessness, from the Buddhist perspective literature becomes a skillful means (Skt. Upaya-kausalya) of developing a compassionate attitude (Skt. bodhicitta) and perfection of wisdom (Skt. Prajnaparamita) in readers. Literature can express the fictional nature of the world and thus be a compassionate and liberating factor on the path of personal development. The theoretical part finishes with two practical examples of such Buddhist interpretations of modern literature.

"The book is a result of a great mental effort and extensive reading. Contrary to many analogous books, it undertakes the vast issue relating to the processes taking place within 'the great time' of culture. It is a result of not only a substantial preparation, but also of a substantive intellectual courage." - Prof. Bogusław Żyłko, Gdańsk University [from the peer-review]

"The book continues the interesting and actually rich narration aiming at the discovery of intersections between the Western critical tradition and the Buddhist 'philosophy', especially in relation to moments, in which it tries to express reading, or literary, experiences." - Prof. Jacek Gutorow, Opole University [from the peer-review]

"May this book bring new and fascinating dimensions to all who have the good luck to find it!" - Lama Ole Nydahl [from the foreword]

About Author: Grzegorz Kusnierz (1980) - PhD in English Philology (Gdańsk University, Poland), studied at Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi and International Institute of Asian and Tibetan Studies in Spain. Ex ecological radical and punk anarchist, turned keen Buddhist meditator in 1996. In 2004, established Oriental Studies Society at Opole University, which organized numerous cultural events on the meeting points of Western science, philosophy, art and Buddhism. Teaches Buddhist theory and practice in Diamond Way Buddhist centers, which he also voluntarily builds in a very literal sense, with brick and mortar. Translator and traveller, currently lives in London, where he works as a school teacher.

Dane techniczne

Autor Grzegorz Kuśnierz
Tytuł Buddhist Perspective on Literature
Podtytuł Reflection on How Modern Buddhists Can Understand Western Poetry and Fiction
Wydawca Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego
Wydanie 1
Data wydania 08-05-2017
Liczba stron 280
Oprawa miękka
Format A5
ISBN 978-83-7865-503-9

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