Bookshelf

A Day in the Life

“Eighteen years ago, after I translated the Diamond, I translated a few pages of the Empty Bowl out of curiosity but put them aside to work on other projects. Then, earlier this year, I was invited by Jay Garfield to give a presentation about what I was working on to a Buddhist seminar at Smith College. I wasn’t really working on anything and decided this would be a good time to take another look at the Empty Bowl. One thing that had inspired my earlier foray was that the famous verse at the end of the Diamond is the same verse that ends the Empty Bowl. At the time I felt it didn’t really belong in the Diamond. It was about impermanence and emptiness, whereas the Diamond was about the opposite, namely the nature of the Buddha’s real body — and the body of anyone who puts his teaching into practice. This time I resolved to find out more and made a rough translation of the Empty Bowl to present at the seminar. In the process, I became convinced that these two sutras are part of a whole, two views of a day in the Life of the Buddha.

After I returned home, I decided to put them together into one volume — hence this chapbook.”

(From the Preface of A Day in the Life translated by Red Pine, published by Empty Bowl Press, 2018.)