2280 pages, 6 x 9
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Release Date:31 Oct 2017
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Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight

T’ien-t’ai Chih-i’s Mo-ho chih-kuan, 3-volume set

University of Hawai‘i Press

The Mo-ho chih-kuan (Great cessation-and-contemplation) by T’ien-t’ai Chih-i (538–597) is among the most influential treatises in the long history of Buddhist scholarship. It is known for its brilliant insights and its systematic and comprehensive treatment of the Buddhist tradition. Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight is the first complete, fully annotated translation of this prodigious work by one of today’s foremost scholars on T’ien-t’ai (Tendai) Buddhism.
The extensive annotation accompanying the translation (Volumes 1 and 2) will help readers understand the original text and implications of crucial passages and ideas, as well as the place the Mo-ho chih-kuan occupies in the development of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese Buddhism and its critical importance for figures such as Nichiren, who considered Chih-i the “great master” and quoted profusely from the text in his own writings. Volume 3 contains ample supplementary materials, including translations of related texts, a comprehensive glossary, and lists of Chinese terms and explanations of various sources.


  • 2019, Winner - Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism
Swanson’s translation of Tiantai Zhiyi’s work, the Mohezhiguan, is a heroic and masterful work of scholarship, the result of several decades of painstaking research, consummate sensitivity to the challenges of translation, and deep knowledge of Buddhist scripture and Buddhist thought,executed with assiduous attention to detail and innovative solutions to thorny interpretive conundrums. The work has long been a fabled work in progress avidly anticipated by all students of Tiantai and Tendai thought and indeed of East Asian Buddhism in general, and its arrival after this long wait is a cause for unambiguous and emphatic celebration. . . . The world should be deeply grateful to Swanson for giving it this work. H-Net Reviews
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the T’ien-t’ai school and its foundational text, Chih-i’s Mo-ho chih-kuan, for understanding East Asian Buddhism’s past and present. Paul Swanson’s mastery of the text and his exceptional skills as a translator and annotator make Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight a truly vital work of scholarship that will be valued today and for a great many years to come. Gene Reeves, translator of The Lotus Sutra: A Contemporary Translation of a Buddhist Classic
The Mo-ho chih-kuan, a grand systematizing of Buddhist teachings and practice methods by the sixth-century Chinese master Chih-i, profoundly shaped the development of East Asian Buddhism. Now Paul Swanson’s meticulous and superbly annotated translation makes the whole of this foundational work available for the first time in a Western language. A monumental scholarly achievement, Clear Serenity, Quiet Insight will endure for generations and open a new era in Buddhist studies. Jacqueline Stone, professor of religion, Princeton University
Paul L. Swanson is a Permanent Research Fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Nanzan University.
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