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You are here : Home > Books > Theravada > Theravada Buddhism: General

What the Buddha Thought


What the Buddha Thought

Author(s) : Gombrich, Richard F
Publishers Price : 14.99
Wisdom Price : 14.24(save 5%)
Availability : Usually available in 7 day(s)
ISBN : 1845536142
EAN : 9781845536145
Cover : Paperback
Pages : 240
Size : 232 x 154mm
Publisher : Equinox
Published : 2009
Category : Theravada Buddhism: General
Synopsis:
This new book argues that the Buddha was one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of all time. While the book is intended to serve as an introduction to the Buddha's thought, and hence to Buddhism itself, it also has larger aims: it argues that we can know far more about the Buddha than is fashionable among scholars to admit, and that his thought has a greater coherence than is usually recognized. Interpreters both ancient and modern have taken little account of the historical context of the Buddha's teachings; but relating them to early brahmanical texts, and also to ancient Jainism, gives a much richer picture of his meaning, especially when his sense of irony and satire is appreciated. Incidently, since many of the Buddha's 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. Gombrich stresses the Buddha's 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 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 Buddha's theory of karma provided a principle of individuation and asserted each individual's 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.
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