LETTERS OF NICHIREN

SARAH FREMERMAN

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Translated by Burton Watson and others

Edited by Philip B. Yampolsky

Columbia University Press: New York, 1996.

584 pp., $47.50 (cloth).


Burton Watson's translation of the collected letters of Nichiren reminds me of an archaeological excavation, whereby a whole cross section of thirteenth-century japan is laid bare. Here, too, the goal is mainly to preserve historical artifacts. Nichiren's letters to his disciples have been expertly sorted and catalogued, and they tell an enigmatic story about the time in which he lived. Through Watson's lyrical skill as a translator, Nichiren's own voice has found its way into the English language.

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