Monday, May 17, 2010
The History of Buddhist Thought
While the author's earlier work Life of Buddha as Legend and History detailed the historical evidence for the life and teaching of the founder of the religion, the present volume offers a learned presentation of the development of Buddhistic teachings over time. Beginning with geography and chronology, Dr. Thomas goes on to discuss in detail such topics as the ascetic ideal; the background of Buddhism, Brahminism, and the Upanishads; karma, release, and nirvana; the doctrine of the void; the doctrine of consciousness only; Buddhism and modern thought; and much more. He is at special pains to show how the severely simple teachings of a band of wandering ascetics with the goal of achieving a final state of peace evolved into the doctrine of world saviors, the great career of the Bodhisattva as savior of all, the revolution in thought brought about by the schools which spread over India, and the various doctrines that came to be taught in China, Japan, Ceylon, Burma, and other Asian countries. Serious students of Buddhism will welcome this inexpensive reprint of a classic study which clearly explicates the different trends in Buddhistic thought as they developed through history.