Author: Paul Williams
Release Date: 2012-03-12
This book serves as an accessible and reliable survey for students wishing to gain familiarity with the basic ideas of Buddhist philosophical and religious thought, and with some of the recent research in the field. It guides readers towards a richer understanding of the central concepts of classical Indian Buddhist thought, from the time of Buddha to the latest scholarly perspectives and controversies. Abstract and complex ideas are made understandable by the authors' clear and engaging style. The second edition has been fully revised in light of new scholarship, in particular on Mahāyāna Buddhism and Tantric Buddhism, an often neglected and inadequately understood topic. As well as a detailed bibliography this authoritative resource now includes recommended further reading, study questions, a pronunciation guide and extensive glossary of terms, all aimed at helping students to develop their knowledge and appreciation of Buddhist thought.
Author: Kate Crosby
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2013-09-16
Theravada Buddhism provides a comprehensive introductory overview of the history, teachings, and current practice of an often misunderstood form of one of the world’s oldest religious traditions. Explores Theravada Buddhism’s origins, evolution, teachings, and practices Considers the practice of Theravada beyond Sri Lanka and Thailand, by exploring a wealth of material from countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam Reveals its rich and varied traditions, and corrects common misunderstandings about links to other practices, such as early Buddhism or Hinayana Buddhism Incorporates student-friendly features including a glossary and other study aids
Author: Asanga Tilakaratne
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Release Date: 2012
Theravada Buddhism is practiced in Sri Lanka and throughout most of Southeast Asia. Introduced in the work in accessible language suitable to the undergraduate or gender reader. It surveys Theravadas basic teachings and contemporary practice in its traditional settings in South and Southeast Asia and discusses the current state of Theravada throughout the world.
Author: Richard F. Gombrich
Release Date: 2006-03-07
Written by one of the world's top scholars in the field of Pali Buddhism, this new and updated edition of How Buddhism Began, discusses various important doctrines and themes in early Buddhism. It takes 'early Buddhism' to be that reflected in the Pali canon, and to some extent assumes that these doctrines reflect the teachings of the Buddha himself. Two themes predominate. Firstly, the author argues that we cannot understand the Buddha unless we understand that he was debating with other religious teachers, notably Brahmins. The other main theme concerns metaphor, allegory and literalism. This accessible, well-written book is mandatory reading for all serious students of Buddhism.
Author: Richard Francis Gombrich
Release Date: 2009
In What the Buddha Thought, Richard Gombrich argues that the Buddha was one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of all time. Intended to serve as an introduction to the Buddhas thought, and hence even to Buddhism itself, the book also has larger aims: it argues that we can know far more about the Buddha than it is fashionable among scholars to admit, and that his thought has a greater coherence than is usually recognised. It contains much new material. Interpreters both ancient and modern have taken little account of the historical context of the Buddhas teachings; but by relating them to early brahminical texts, and also to ancient Jainism, Gombrich gives a much richer picture of the Buddhas meaning, especially when his satire and irony are appreciated. Incidentally, since many of the Buddhas allusions can only be traced in the Pali versions of surviving texts, the book establishes the importance of the Pali Canon as evidence. The book contains much new material. The author stresses the Buddhas capacity for abstraction: though he made extensive use of metaphor, he did not found his arguments upon it, as earlier thinkers had done. He ethicized and radically reinterpreted older ideas of karma (human action) and rebirth. Similarly, building on older texts, he argued for the fundamental importance of love and compassion, and analysed fire as a process which could stand as a model for every component of conscious experience. Morally, the Buddhas theory of karma provided a principle of individuation and asserted each individuals responsibility for his own destiny. To make the book completely accessible to the general reader, the author provides an introductory section of Background Information, for easy reference.
Author: Paul Williams
Release Date: 2008-07-11
Originating in India, Mahayana Buddhism spread across Asia, becoming the prevalent form of Buddhism in Tibet and East Asia. Over the last twenty-five years Western interest in Mahayana has increased considerably, reflected both in the quantity of scholarly material produced and in the attraction of Westerners towards Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. Paul Williams’ Mahayana Buddhism is widely regarded as the standard introduction to the field, used internationally for teaching and research and has been translated into several European and Asian languages. This new edition has been fully revised throughout in the light of the wealth of new studies and focuses on the religion’s diversity and richness. It includes much more material on China and Japan, with appropriate reference to Nepal, and for students who wish to carry their study further there is a much-expanded bibliography and extensive footnotes and cross-referencing. Everyone studying this important tradition will find Williams’ book the ideal companion to their studies.
Author: Richard Francis Gombrich
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publ.
Release Date: 1988
In this study a social and cultural anthropologist and a specialist in the study of religion pool their talents to examine recent changes in popular religion in Sri Lanka. As the Sinhalas themselves perceive it, Buddhism proper has always shared the religious arena with a spirit religion. While Buddhism concerns salvation, the spirit of religion focuses on worldly welfare. Buddhism Transformed describes and analyzes the changes that have profoundly altered the character of Sinhala religion in both areas. This is the first book to record systematically the cultural impact of the deterioration in how the other half lives in Sri Lanka. After Sri Lankan independence in 1948, health care advanced and literacy became universal, but the economy was unable to meet the rising expectations of the exploding population. People became poorer and more mobile, and the village community began to disappear. As new stresses in Sri Lankan society create new psychological needs, changes have occurred in what the authors call Protestant Buddhism (the Buddhism formed under Protestant influence after British conquest). In the spirit cults, morally less scrupulous gods have become prominent, and more people seek and value altered states of consciousness. Finally the authors suggest that developments that seem startling in Sri Lanka are not unprecedented in the religious history of India.
The Indian religion of Jainism, whose central tenet involves non-violence to all creatures, is one of the world's oldest and least-understood faiths. Dundas looks at Jainism in its social and doctrinal context, explaining its history, sects, scriptures and ritual, and describing how the Jains have, over 2500 years, defined themselves as a unique religious community. This revised and expanded edition takes account of new research into Jainism.
Julius Lipner’s Hindus is widely recognised as essential reading for everyone wishing to understand one of the world’s great religious traditions. Hinduism comprises the religion and culture of the great majority of the people of India, a country tipped to become a world superpower politically, economically and culturally in the course of the present century. The vast array of diverse beliefs and practices usually described as ‘Hindu’ has been notoriously difficult to corral under a single regulating theme. Julius Lipner provides not only a wide-ranging introduction to Hindu religious and cultural diversity but also suggests a way to characterize Hinduism as a distinct tradition that has survived and adapted to changing circumstances from ancient times to the present day. Lipner is a recognised authority on Hinduism's polycentric emphasis, and his book is based on a lifetime of research and personal experience of his subject. In this thoroughly revised and substantially enlarged second edition, students of Hinduism will find more coverage of the debate about Hindu origins, the nature and practice of Hindu worship, the role of women, the scope of dharma and morality, Hindu philosophical thought and the use of reason, and the way caste functions.
Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism gives a new perspective on contemporary Japanese Zen Buddhism. Ideas, ritual practices, temples and interactions between the clergy, the laity and the institution are investigated as living representations of a unique and yet common Japanese religion.