Eastern Classics Preceptorials

Eastern Classics Preceptorial 1 (Fall):

Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian

 Eastern Classics Preceptorial 2 (Fall):


 Eastern Classics Preceptorial 3 (Spring):

The Yogavasistha

Zhuangzi / I Ching

Eastern Classics Preceptorial 4 (Spring):

Zen Master Dogen

Cao Xuequin: The Story of the Stone

Eastern Classics Preceptorial 5 (Summer)

The Tale of Genji



Eastern Classics Preceptorial 1
Fall 2016
August 31 – October 22


Title: Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian (Shi Ji)


Xerox: "The Grand Scribe's Records" Vol. I, Nienhauser, Jr. trans. (pp. 1-86)

Watson, Burton, tr., Records of the Grand Historian, Columbia U. Press

1. Qin Dynasty ISBN: 0231081693
2. Han Dynasty I ISBN: 0231081650
3. Han Dynasty II ISBN: 0231081677




Shi Ji Chapter                                 Watson Page Nos.

1.  1-2                                            Nienhauser, Vol. 1

2.  3-4                                            Nienhauser, Vol. 1                         

3.  6                                               (Qin, pp. 35-83)

4.  15, 61, 68, 79                             pp.  85-99, 131-157  (photocopy of section 61)

5.  85-88, 126                                 pp. 159-216  + Sima Qian’s Letter to Ren An

6.  48, 7                                         Han I:  pp. 1-48

7.  8, 16                                         pp. 51-88

8.  53, 55, 56                                  pp. 91-128

9.  89-91                                        pp. 131-162

10.  92-94                                      pp. 163-202

11.  9-12, 106                                 pp. 267-319, 403-422

12.  28                                           Han II:  pp. 3-52

13.  110                                         pp. 129-162

14.  117                                         pp. 259-306

15.  121, 119, 122                          pp.  355-407

16. 124, 125, 127, 129                    pp. 409-454



Eastern Classics Preceptorial 2
Fall 2016
October 27 – December 17


Title: Mahābhārata


van Buitenen, J.A.B., tr., Mahabharata, University of Chicago Press:

1. Volume 1, The Book of the Beginning - ISBN: 9780226846637
2. Volume 2, The Book of the Assembly Hall, The Book of the Forest - ISBN: 9780226846644
3. Volume 3 , The Book of Virata, The Book of the Effort - ISBN: 9780226846651

Johnson, W. J., tr., Oxford World's Classic

The Sauptikaparvan of the Mahabharata* - ISBN: 978-0192823618

*The Sauptikaparvan is out of print, but photocopies are available in our Bookstore.


1. The Book of the Beginning, pp.19-63 (Lists – Puloman) .
2. pp.63-123 (Astika)
3. pp.123-210 (The Descent – Latter Days of Yayati) (pp. 145-154 may be skimmed quickly)

4. pp.210-73 (Latter Days of Yayati – The Origins )
5. pp.274-344 (The Fire in the Lacquer House – Citraratha concluded)
6. pp.344-405 (Draupadi's Bridegroom Choice – Arjuna's Sojourn in the Forest)
7. pp.405-31 (the Abduction of Subhadra – Burning of the Khandava Forest): discussion of whole of Book 1.

8. The Book of the Assembly Hall: Read italicized summaries pp.33-106, then read whole pp.106-69 (The Dicing – The Sequel to the Dicing). At this point note that the Sauptikaparvan volume has narrative summaries in the back; read summary for Book 4, The Book of Virata.

9. The Book of the Effort, pp.187-254 (Embassy of Samjaya)
10. pp.254-94 (Dhrtarastra's Vigil – Sanatsujata)
11. pp.294-339 (The Suing for Peace)
12. pp.344-82 (The Coming of the Lord ); 415-442 (The Coming of the Lord. continued )
13. In Volume 3, The Book of the Forest, 780-795 (The Robbing of the Earrings), then The Book of the Effort, pp. 442-461 (The Temptation of Karna)

14. The Book of the Effort, pp.461-532 (The Marching Out – Amba)

15. The Sauptikaparvan: read Summaries in Appendix, then main text pp.5-86)



Eastern Classics Preceptorial 3
Spring 2016
January 18 – March 11


Title: The Yogavaśiṣṭha

Tutor: Patricia Greer


Description: "Sometimes many people have the same dream: several people experience the same hallucination and many drunkards may all of them simultaneously experience the world as revolving around them. Several children play at the same game... Even as the mind sometimes forgets what it actually experienced, it also thinks it has experienced what it has never seen." The Yogavaśiṣṭha

The Yogavaśiṣṭha, composed in Kashmir between the 9th and 13th centuries CE, is one of Hinduism's most important Sanskrit texts. It contains stories and mystical teachings given by the ancient sage Vasiśiṣṭha to young Prince Rāma (of the Rāmāyaṇa) while he is in the depths of spiritual despair and doubt. Traces of all the major schools of Indian philosophy, including Buddhism, can be found here, yet it is not a work of philosophy as such. Indeed, the Yogavaśiṣṭha is rather beyond classification, bending as it does Time, Reality, the Self, Illusion and Dream into a kind of cosmic knot.
We will read a shortened (700+ pages) version of this massive work, as well as a few pertinent extras.



Swami Vekatesananda, Vaśiṣṭha's Yoga, SUNY Press, 1993.




1. Vaśiṣṭha's Yoga, pp. 1-55; short excerpt from Rāmāyaṇa (phoco).

2. VY pp. 55-124

3. VY pp. 124-142; mantra translation (phoco)

4. YV 258-268; Arya, Yoga Vaśiṣṭha of Vālmīki, pp. 350-358 (phoco).

5. VY pp. 145-186

6. VY pp 186-196; Arya pp. 154-196 (phoco)

7. VY pp, 199-258

8. VY pp. 268-322

9. VY pp. 325-366

10. VY pp. 366-422

11. VY pp. 422-472

12. VY pp. 472-529, ending at VI 2:44

13. VY pp. 529 – 588, ending VI 2:96

14. VY pp. 588 – 625, ending at "BHĀSA said"

15. VY pp. 625-682

16. VY pp. 682-725



Title: Zhuangzi/ I Ching

Tutor: Julie Reahard


Description: We will move slowly through the 33 chapters of The Book of Zhuangzi (two to three chapters per meeting). I recommend that you look at several different translations of the text, keeping in mind that some are only partial. We will look at some of the Chinese of the text, but the course is by no means limited to students in the Chinese language tutorial.
The final two meetings of the preceptorial will focus on the I Ching. We will study the Hexagram, Judgment, Image and Lines portions of various hexagrams and learn how to cast a Hexagram. Copies of the various translations of this work are available in Meem Library.




The Book of Zhuangzi




1. Chapters 1 & 2
2. Chapters 3 & 4
3. Chapters 5 & 6
4. Chapters 7 & 8
5. Chapters 9, 10, 11
6. Chapters 12 & 13
7. Chapters 14, 15, 16
8. Chapters 17 & 18
9. Chapters 19 & 20
10. Chapters 21 & 22
11. Chapters 23, 24, 25
12. Chapters 26, 27, 28
13. Chapters 29, 30
14. Chapters 31, 32, 33
15. I Ching
16. I Ching



Eastern Classics Preceptorial 4
Spring 2016
March 28 – May 19


Title: Zen Master Dogen

Tutor: Patricia Greer


Description: 'Must contemplate' has nothing to do with someone contemplating or with something contemplated. It has no correspondence to 'right' contemplation or to 'false' contemplation. It is just contemplating. Hence, it is not the self contemplating, and it is not another person contemplating. It is 'Look!!! temporal conditions!!!' It is the Buddha-nature's emancipated suchness. It is 'Look!!! Buddha! Buddha!!!' It is 'Look nature!! nature!!!' (Dōgen, Busshō)

We will read slowly and carefully selected writings of Zen Master Dōgen (Japan, 1200-1253), most of which are not read in the Seminar. In preparation, we will spend the first week considering a few of the Buddha's earliest discourses from the Pali Nikāyas.



The Heart of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, trans. Norman Waddell and Masao Abe; Moon in a Dewdrop, Writings of Zen Master Dōgen, ed. Kazuaki Tanahashi. You will also be given copies of the Dōgen readings from Nishijima's translation of Shōbōgenzō.


Week One:

Potthapada Sutta; Lump of Foam (phoco)
Aggivacchagotta Sutta; Devedhavitikka Sutta (phoco)


Week Two:

Gabyō, Painting of a Rice Cake (Tanahashi)


Week Three:

Sansui-kyō, Mountains and Waters (Tanahashi)
Genjōkōan, Manifesting Suchness (Abe/Waddell)


Week Four:

Genjōkōan, Manifesting Suchness (Abe/Waddell)
Fukanzasengi (Abe/Waddell)


Week Five:

Baika, Plum Blossoms (Tanhashi)
Kajō, Everyday Activity (Tanahashi)


Week Six:

Kattō, Twining Vines (Tanahashi)
Henzan, All-Inclusive Study (Tanahashi)


Week Seven:

Tenzo Kyōkun, Instruction for the Tenzo (Tanahashi)
Uji, Being-Time (Abe/Waddell)


Week Eight:

Uji, Being-Time (Abe/Waddell)
Senjō, On Washing (Nishijima)



Title: Cao Xuequin: The Story of the Stone, Volumes I-III (Chapters 1-80).

Tutor: Julie Reahard

Description: Written in the middle of the 18th century and also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber or A Dream of Red Mansions, The Story of the Stone is one of China's four greatest Classical novels. We shall be reading the 80 chapters completed by Cao Xuequin. I leave the later supplement of 40 chapters by an anonymous author to the students to take up after the preceptorial if desired. Even without these, we shall be reading approximately 100 pages of text for each meeting. It will be worth the effort.

Texts: Warning: there are many abridged versions of this text. Be sure you have an unabridged 3 volume set.

1. Chapters 1-5
2. Chapters 6-12
3. Chapters 13-17
4. Chapters 18-22
5. Chapters 23-28
6. Chapters 29-34
7. Chapters 35-39
8. Chapters 40-44
9. Chapters 45-49
10. Chapters 50-53
11. Chapters 54-58
12. Chapters 59-63
13. Chapters 64-68
14. Chapters 69-73
15. Chapters 74-77
16. Chapters 78-80


Eastern Classics Preceptorial 5
Summer 2016
June 13 – August 4


Required Translation: Edward G. Seidensticker


Readings: TBD