By Reginald A. Ray

ISBN-10: 0195072022

ISBN-13: 9780195072020

The difficulty of saints is a tricky and complex challenge in Buddhology. during this magisterial paintings, Ray deals the 1st entire exam of the determine of the Buddhist saint in a variety of Indian Buddhist proof. Drawing on an intensive number of assets, Ray seeks to spot the "classical sort" of the Buddhist saint, because it offers the presupposition for, and informs, the various significant Buddhist saintly kinds and subtypes. Discussing the character, dynamics, and historical past of Buddhist hagiography, he surveys the ascetic codes, conventions and traditions of Buddhist saints, and the cults either one of dwelling saints and of these who've "passed beyond." Ray lines the position of the saints in Indian Buddhist historical past, reading the beginnings of Buddhism and the beginning of Mahayana Buddhism.

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According to classical tradition, as summarized by Lamotte (1958, 69-92),26 those following the lay ideal are prin­ cipally to observe the five precepts and, in particular, to cultivate devotion and generosity, virtues that may be practiced in two different contexts. 27 In no less important a text than the Nikàya Mahàparinirvâna Sütra, the early account of the events surrounding the passing of the Buddha, the cult of the stüpa—so we are told—is depicted as the particular concern of the laity. 28 The monks should, by contrast, concentrate on their own characteristic (and superior) con­ cerns, defined elsewhere in the text (as we shall see in Chapter 11) as following the vinaya and maintaining the textual tradition.

It is intriguing that the final reading given Buddhism by proponents on either side of the issue has not changed very much in the interim. 12. Mus developed a sophisticated description of the dynamics of religious symbolism, dealing with the genesis of symbols; their development, elaboration, devaluation, fragmen­ tation into parts; assimilation to or combination with other symbols; retention, alteration, or inversion of meaning; and so on (see Victoria Urubshurow’s useful summary, 1988). As we shall see, an appreciation of dynamics such as these is essential to a proper understand­ ing of the Buddhist saints.

F. , 1935), have emphasized the more strictly religious elements in Introduction 13 defining the Buddha’s teaching and the essence of Buddhism. Trends in the interpretation of Buddhism as a religion have included notions that, from the earliest times, the master himself was seen as an embodiment of ultimate reality, endowed with a supernatural and mythical character, who possessed magical and miraculous powers, elicited the fervent devotion and cultic response of his disciples, and taught others the same mystical goal that he himself embodied (Welbon 1968, 194-295).

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Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations by Reginald A. Ray


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