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What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?$
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Dale S. Wright

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190622596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190622596.001.0001

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Enlightenment and the Practice of Meditative Reading

Enlightenment and the Practice of Meditative Reading

(p.171) 9 Enlightenment and the Practice of Meditative Reading
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?

Dale S. Wright

Oxford University Press

“Enlightenment and the Practice of Meditative Reading” examines the practices of reading and the critiques of reading that were common in the first few centuries of Chinese Chan Buddhist monasticism. Although interpreters frequently conclude that reading ceased to be a central practice in the institutions of Chan, classical texts show that, reading and writing were just as central to Chan practice as they had been in earlier forms of Chinese Buddhism. Because China’s culture of literacy inevitably extended into Chan practice, a highly unusual and sophisticated theory of reading developed, while practices of reading aimed at enlightenment thrived. This historical realization raises questions about the relation between practices of meditation and reading, suggesting that our own practice of reading might be developed and deepened by learning to conceive of it as a form of meditative practice.

Keywords:   Chan Buddhism, reading, meditation, meditative reading, China

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