By Edward Conze
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1980
In this authoritative advisor, one of many world's so much individual students of Buddhism offers a compact precis of the tradition's improvement, from the time of the Buddha to the 20 th century exile of the Dalai Lama.
Covering all of the Buddhist faculties from Maháyána to Zen, this accomplished, concise learn is generally stated because the vintage advent to the historical past of the Buddhist culture, excellent for college students and readers alike. Edward Conze studied Indian and comparative philosophy on the universities of Bonn and Hamburg.
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Additional resources for Buddhism: A Short History
The lowest is called a “Streamwinner”, to indicate that he has won contact with the Path which leads to the Unconditioned. The saints are characteristically distinguished by the number of times they have to return to this world after death – the first kind must come back seven times at the most, the second only once, and the fourth, the Arhat, the finest and final product of this training, need never come back at all. The true Samgha is the community of all these saints, but the Arhats are those most highly prized.
Faith is given a new range by being provided with a new pantheon of deities, or rather of persons more than divine; 4. “Skill in means” (upáyakausOalya), an entirely new virtue, becomes essential to the saint, and is placed even above wisdom, the highest virtue so far; 5. A coherent ontological doctrine is worked out, dealing with such items as “Emptiness”, “Suchness”, etc. We will now consider these five points one by one. 1. The goal of Arhatship, which had motivated Buddhism in the first period, is now relegated to the second place.
A great mental effort went, from about 200 BC onwards, into the production of these books, which are technical handbooks of meditation, teaching what events can be regarded as elementary, how others are composed of them, how they condition each other, etc. Before we leave the schools, we may mention a few more points of disagreement on questions of a more general interest. The elusive concept of Nirvana came in for some discussion. If it is unconditioned, does it exist, and can it have effects?