"Outlining the Way to Reflect" - Prof. Dr. Charles Willemen publishes new book

Prof. Dr. Charles Willemen, currently rector and teaching professor at the International Buddhist College, has published a new book. The first volume of the series "Outlining the Way to Reflect" (Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies) is a translation of the Siwei lüeyao fa 思惟略要法 (T. 617).

In the fifth century in southern China, mainly in the capital Jiankang (Nanjing) many visualisation texts and meditation manuals were established, either translated from Sanskrit or composed in Chinese on the basis of the oral teaching (Prākrit?) of an Indian master. An overview of manuals about the practice of yoga (yogācāra) is presented. T.617 Siwei lüeyao fa is wrongly attributed to Kumārajãva, the great translator and teacher in Chang'an, ca. 405 A.D. It, however, may be the result of the teaching of someone like Dharmamitra in Jiankang, ca.430-440 A.D. The text is of Mahāsāmghika (Mahāyāna) affiliation, and fits in the constant rivalry between Mahāsāmghikas and Sthaviras, mainly Sarvāstivādins, in the Gandharan cultural area. The text explains the ten (nine plus one) stages of meditation, from developing friendliness (maitrī) via Buddhānusmçti to visualisation of Amitāyus, as Amitābha was called in South China at the time. The Samādhi of the Lotus of the Law, urging us to practice well, concludes the whole process.

Outlining the Way to Reflect, Mumbai: Somaiya Publications, 2012, ISBN 978-81-7039-281-1

Charles Willemen obtained his Ph.D. in Belgium with a study of the Chinese Udānavarga. He studied in Japan under H.Nakamura, University of Tokyo. He has been a Fullbright-Hays Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilisations. He has taught at many universities, including as Guest Professor Beijing Language and Culture University, Banaras Hindu University, Nava Nālandā Mahāvihāra, University of Calgary, International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies in Tokyo, etc.