Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Shingon Refractions - Praise

Myoe and the Mantra of Light

“One of the most important works in Buddhist studies to appear this year. Its importance lies not only in the quality of its scholarship but also in the variety of fields to which it contributes. It expands our knowledge of both Vajrayana and Japanese Buddhism and sheds light on medieval Japanese Buddhist conceptions of how practice is effective... An important contribution.”—Richard Payne, Dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, in Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly

“Unno’s work picks up several different strands in order to provide a comprehensive understanding. He examines the history of the mantra of light as a practice originating in Indian Buddhism, the social and intellectual context of its use in medieval Japan, a biography of Myoe as the context for his interest in the mantra of light, a study of the cosmology of the imagination comparing Myoe and Zhuangzi, and translations of six of Myoe’s texts on the mantra of light. By weaving these various strands together, Unno gives us a multidimensional understanding of this practice. [. . .] Unno’s work is highly recommended not only for the historian of Buddhism in East Asia, but also for the comparative philosopher interested in the intellectual grounding of religious practice. It is also worth noting that Unno’s writing style is quite accessible, and that the work has been priced in a range appropriate for classroom use.”—Philosophy East & West

“Mark Unno’s Shingon Refractions is that rare thing—a work of sound scholarship that is simultaneously creative and full of wonder and light. It is to be studied, savored, and treasured. I highly recommend it.”—Robert A.F. Thurman, author of Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well

“Mark Unno once again shows himself to be a skillful and generous teacher. He brings Shingon Buddhism alive not only with his command of the languages and texts, but also with a depth of religious insight. This book will benefit those who have recently discovered the wonders of esoteric Buddhism as well as those who have made it the center of their research and practice. This book is a gem.”—Professor James Fredericks, Loyola Marymount University

“An important contribution to understanding Japanese Buddhism.”—Professor Paul Ingram, former president of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies.