Sins and Sinners

Perspectives from Asian Religions


Asian religious traditions have always been deeply concerned with "sins" and what to do about them. As the essays in this volume illustrate, what Buddhists in Tibet, India, China or Japan, what Jains, Daoists, Hindus or Sikhs considered to be a "sin" was neither one thing, nor exactly what the Abrahamic traditions meant by the term. "Sins"could be both undesireable behavior and unacceptable thoughts. In different contexts, at different times and places, a sin might be a ritual infraction or a violation of a rule of law; it could be a moral failing or a wrong belief. However defined, sins were considered so grave a hindrance to spiritual perfection, so profound a threat to the social order, that the search for their remedies through rituals of expiation, pilgrimage, confession, recitation of spells, or philosophical reflection, was one of the central quests of the religions studied here.
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Biographical Note

Phyllis Granoff, PhD (1973), Harvard University, teaches Indian religions at Yale University. Her publications include Philosophy and Argument in Late Vedanta (D.Reidel, 1978 and articles on Indian art,religion, philosophy and literature. Koichi Shinohara, PhD(1978) Columbia University, teaches East Asian Buddhism at Yale University. He has published articles on medieval Chinese Buddhism and is completing a book on the rise of Tantric practices, Spells Images and Mandalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals.

Table of contents

Daniela Berti, Daid Brick, Catherine Clémentin-Ojha, Jacob Dalton, James Dobbins, Paul Groner, Phyllis Granoff, Denis Matringe, Michael Nylan, James Robson, Jacqueline Stone, Gregory Schopen, Koichi Shinohara, Gilles Tarabout, Gérard Toffin


Anyone interested in Asian religions; anyone interested in religious studies in general