Book review – A critical analysis of the ideas, structure, and methodology (among other things) of a given book. This is your assignment.
Rough Guideline for doing this book review:The book The Platform Sutra of the Six Patriarch: the Text of the Tun-huang manuscript, translated with notes by Philip B. Yampolsky clearly has two main parts: the sutra and introduction.
You must first summarize the main ideas in the sutra and determine its place in the history of Zen Buddhism in China. Then, you summarize the main points of the Introduction by Yampolsky and determine how well the Introduction helps you understand the sutra. The primary thing you must do is to follow the argument that the Yampolsky, the translator, makes, and to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of that argument. You conclude whether this book, or rather this edition of the book is to be recommended to the readers.
Following are some suggested questions for you to consider:
What are Yampolsky’s sources? Where does he obtain his information? Look in the footnotes/endnotes and bibliography for this.
2. Does Yampolsky’s logic make sense? Is there any logic to his the main points? Does that logic flow naturally from the information presented?
3. Does the writing style and the structure of the Introduction make is easy or hard to follow its points?
4. Were you convinced, and did you learn anything new and/or valuable from reading this Introduction?
5. Why did the translator base his translation on the Tun-huang manuscript?
6, Why do you think the Platform Sutra is awarded the status of sutra in Buddhism?