An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (Introduction to Religion)

An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (Introduction to Religion)

Peter Harvey

Language: English

Pages: 547

ISBN: 0521676746

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this new edition of the best-selling Introduction to Buddhism, Peter Harvey provides a comprehensive introduction to the development of the Buddhist tradition in both Asia and the West. Extensively revised and fully updated, this new edition draws on recent scholarship in the field, exploring the tensions and continuities between the different forms of Buddhism. Harvey critiques and corrects some common misconceptions and mistranslations, and discusses key concepts that have often been over-simplified and over-generalised. The volume includes detailed references to scriptures and secondary literature, an updated bibliography, and a section on web resources. Key terms are given in Pali and Sanskrit, and Tibetan words are transliterated in the most easily pronounceable form, making this is a truly accessible account. This is an ideal coursebook for students of religion, Asian philosophy and Asian studies, and is also a useful reference for readers wanting an overview of Buddhism and its beliefs.

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Gotama quickly learnt to enter this state, Āl.āra offered him joint leadership of his group of disciples, but he turned down the offer 10 M.i.160–75 (BW.54–9, 69–75; BS2.14); see also M.ii.91–7 (SB.173–94). The Buddha and his Indian Context 19 as he felt that, while he had attained a refined inner calmness, he had not yet attained awakening and the end of suffering. He then went to another yoga teacher, Uddaka Rāmaputta (Skt Udraka Rāmaputra), and again quickly grasped his doctrine and

conduct of body, speech or mind (A.v.113), hence such karmically harmful constructing activities feed back to help sustain spiritual ignorance. 68 An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices Buddhism, then, sees the basic root of the pain and stress of life as spiritual ignorance, rather than sin, which is a wilful turning away from a creator God. Indeed, it can be regarded as having a doctrine of something like ‘original sinlessness’. While the mind is seen as containing

experience ‘themselves’ as ‘suffering beings’ (Vc. sec. 3). empty Wisdom itself aids compassion in a number of ways. Ultimately, it leads to becoming an omniscient Buddha, who can teach and aid beings in countless ways. It also ensures that compassionate action is appropriate, effective and not covertly self-seeking. The Bodhisattva can also rub shoulders with wrongdoers, in an effort to ‘reach’ them, as with the lay Bodhisattva Vimalakīrti (BT.271–6), as he knows that their bad characteristics

remember, then, that ‘Bodhisattva’ is a path-term rather than a goal-term: it refers to the kind of being who is at one or other point along a long path. When a Mahāyāna Sūtra attributes some quality to ‘a’ or ‘the’ ‘Bodhisattva’, it may well be describing the ideal, advanced Bodhisattva, what all Bodhisattvas should aim to be before finally becoming a Buddha. One should thus be careful of taking such passages as applicable to all Bodhisattvas.13 Comparisons between ‘the Bodhisattva’ and ‘the

he had already appeared on earth in the form of past Buddhas such as Dīpan˙ kara (see p. 15), and taught according to people’s spiritual capacities. The idea of the earthly Buddha as the manifestation of a heavenly Buddha had already been expressed in the Lokottaravādin Mahāvastu (see p. 98), but the idea that the long line of past earthly Buddhas were manifestations of the same Buddha was a new one. The Lotus Sūtra says that all such earthly Buddhas teach those of lesser understanding that

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