Download Buddha: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Michael Carrithers PDF

By Michael Carrithers

During this priceless creation, Michael Carrithers courses us during the advanced and occasionally conflicting details that Buddhist texts provide us concerning the existence and educating of the Buddha. He discusses the social and political heritage of India within the Buddha's time and lines the improvement of his suggestion. He additionally assesses the speedy and common assimilation of Buddhism and its modern relevance. Well-paced and informative, this advent will enlighten not just those that learn Buddhism and comparative faith yet somebody intrigued by means of the extraordinary philosophy of 1 of the best non secular thinkers.

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`admirably well-paced and informative.' Galen Strawson, Sunday instances

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Example text

In the bare account of his reflections before renunciation the Buddha’s first great change of heart is described thus: Why, since I am myself subject to birth, ageing, disease, death, sorrow, and defilement, do I seek after what is also subject to these things? Suppose, being myself subject to these things, seeing danger in them, I were to seek the unborn, unageing, undiseased, deathless, sorrowless, undefiled supreme surcease of bondage, the extinction of all these troubles? This account is filtered through the Buddha’s later thought, but what unexamined and uncontrolled life of the home leads only to sorrow and despair, endlessly repeated.

At a stroke the bewildering variety of different ranks and different fates was set in the background, while in the foreground was set one simple common endowment. In principle any human being can become wise and good. This assumption was made, in one way or another, by many of the Buddha’s contemporaries. They spoke, not merely to this or that condition, to this or that estate, but to the human condition as such. It was a revolutionary step, for until it was taken the Indians had no way of speaking of human life beyond the narrow local conception of estates, bound to the older order of Indian society.

Indeed in later Buddhist cosmography these were spiritual planes inhabited by gods. Even the abstract early Buddhist account of them cannot disguise that they are not, like the Absorptions, a general description of meditation appropriate to any number of specific meditation theories, objectives, and techniques. They are rather bound to some specific view of the topography of the unseen world. And this is not surprising, for once 33 To the awakening ‘one-pointedness’. These four Absorptions were eventually to play a having resolutely set aside the world of everyday experience such a meditator was likely to supply himself with a map of the territory he had now entered.

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