By Joseph Walser

ISBN-10: 0231506236

ISBN-13: 9780231506236

Publish 12 months note: First released in 2005
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Joseph Walser offers the 1st exam of Nagarjuna's lifestyles and writings within the context of the non secular and monastic debates of the second one century CE. Walser explores how Nagarjuna secured the canonical authority of Mahayana teachings and considers his use of rhetoric to make sure the transmission of his writings by means of Buddhist priests.

Drawing on shut textual research of Nagarjuna's writings and different Buddhist and non-Buddhist resources, Walser deals an unique contribution to the knowledge of Nagarjuna and the early historical past of Buddhism.

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Sample text

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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Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture by Joseph Walser


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