Editorial Note
The Than Hsiang Buddhist Research Center (THBRC) is pleased to announce the inaugural issue of its eBook Series comprising scholarly research articles by graduate students of the International Buddhist College (IBC).

The objective of the eBook Series is to supplement printed literature with electronic publications. This transition began with scientific journals and is now advancing into academic and scholarly books on Buddhism. The THBRC hopes that its eBooks will offer an ideal opportunity to increase its existing collections while enhancing the students’ research experiences at the same time.

This inaugural issue in our eBook series contains seven articles that will enhance our knowledge about different areas of Buddhism, including both the theoretical and application aspects of Buddhism. Buddhist Studies is vast and since THBRC espouses a non-sectarian and ecumenical approach towards all Buddhist traditions, the contributions to the e-book series promise to enlarge the world of Buddhist scholarship.

In this first issue, we have selected seven contributions from graduate students of IBC. Petrina Coventry writes about how traditional ideas of mindfulness practice as found in the Buddhist canon is now adapted for a more secular environment. It is now an active on-going dialogue between Buddhist scholars and Western psychotherapists and neuroscientists as they seek to understand the benefits of mindfulness practices for the modern organization.

A good supplement to Petrina’s article on application of mindfulness for modern society would be Nirupam Chakma’s paper on Buddhist meditation. Nirupam presents the basic principles of Buddhist meditation, especially the practice of mindfulness of breathing (ānāpānasati) which is based on the Discourse on Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta), DN 22. Understanding Nirupam’s article will help us appreciate the relevance of Petrina’s research on mindfulness in the modern organization.

Another research on meditation is by Chan Kok Kiong who writes an analysis of satipaṭṭhāna (foundations of mindfulness) with Ch’an Buddhism. His argument is that both satipaṭṭhāna and Ch’an Buddhism have one aim – spiritual liberation. Though Ch’an Buddhism and satipaṭṭhāna meditation appeared at different time in history, Kok Kiong’s thesis is that their methods of mind training complement one another.

Huuynh Thi Ha Vy’s research focuses on identifying the common bridge between two key philosophical schools in Mahāyāna Buddhism – Madyamaka and Yogācāra. He argues that it is not necessary to view both schools as divergent and radically opposed to one another. This is because the teaching of emptiness (Śūnyatā) is the common link between these two schools of thought.

Ramin Etesami writes on the Tülku system, a most unique feature of Tibetan Buddhism, the word “tülku” being derived from a translation of the Sanskrit philosophical term nirmāṇakāya or created body which manifests in time and space. Ramin’s research is to examine the various aspects of this tradition in the context of Buddhist hermeneutics and the social implication of its practice, including its use as a skillful means (upāya) to help other sentient beings.

The Dhammasaṅgaṇi, one of the key texts of the Pāli Abhidhamma, is the subject of Tan Poh Beng’s research article which focuses on the original four parts of the book. Poh Beng makes use of definitive tables and diagrams, tri-lingual glossaries, and analytical summaries of this important text for easy reference in order to explain its complexities.

The paper by Koya Matsuo compares the epistemology of Kant and Buddha. Koya writes about the many similarities such as the concept of the middle path, emphasis on rationality, experience-based evidence, and restrain of metaphysical speculation in both teachings. However, Koya also highlights that both doctrines are fundamentally different when it comes to their mode of inquiry.

We hope you will find these seven research papers by our students a valuable contribution to the world of Buddhist scholarship.

Benny Liow
September 7, 2015