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From one of America's most brilliant writers, a New York Times bestselling journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. At the heart of Buddhism is a simple claim: The reason we suffer-and the reason we make other people suffer-is that we don't see the world clearly. At the heart of Buddhist meditative practice is a radical promise: We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness. In this "sublime" (The New Yorker), pathbreaking book, Robert Wright shows how taking this promise seriously can change your life-how it can loosen the grip of anxiety, regret, and hatred, and how it can deepen your appreciation of beauty and of other people. He also shows why this transformation works, drawing on the latest in neuroscience and psychology, and armed with an acute understanding of human evolution. This book is the culmination of a personal journey that began with Wright's landmark book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, and deepened as he immersed himself in meditative practice and conversed with some of the world's most skilled meditators. The result is a story that is "provocative, informative and...deeply rewarding" (The New York Times Book Review), and as entertaining as it is illuminating. Written with the wit, clarity, and grace for which Wright is famous, Why Buddhism Is True lays the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age and shows how, in a time of technological distraction and social division, we can save ourselves from ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.
This is the continuing story of Milarepa and his disciple Rechungpa, first encountered in volume 18 of the Complete Works. As portrayed in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Rechungpa is a promising disciple, but he has a lot to learn, being sometimes proud, distracted, anxious, desirous of comfort and praise, over-attached to book learning, stubborn, sulky and liable to go to extremes. In other words, he is very human, and surely recognizable to anyone who has embarked on the spiritual path. He all too often takes his teacher's advice the wrong way, or simply ignores it, and it takes all of Milarepa's skill, compassion and patience to keep their relationship intact and help his unruly disciple to stay on the path to Enlightenment. In the story that begins this volume, matters come to a head when Milarepa burns the books that Rechungpa went all the way to India to acquire, but by the end of the volume, Rechungpa is able to set out on his own mission to teach the Dharma. Much happens in between. Sangharakshita's commentary, based on seminars given in the late 1970s and early 1980s, draws from the stories of Milarepa and his wayward disciple much valuable advice for any would-be spiritual practitioner.
This volume of Sangharakshita's Complete Works includes Facing Mount Kanchenjunga, the second in the series of his memoirs, and, in Dear Dinoo, some very personal letters.Facing Mount Kanchenjunga covers the period 1950-1953, beginning with Sangharakshita's arrival in Kalimpong as a twenty-four-year-old sramanera, and his response to his teacher's injunction to 'stay here and work for the good of Buddhism!' In the pages that follow we are drawn into a deeply committed Dharma life lived in unusual circumstances and among some very colourful characters.As he recalls the significant events of those years - the setting up of the Kalimpong Young Men's Buddhist Association; the creation of a new Buddhist journal, whose contributors included Conze, Guenther, Govinda and other leading Buddhist writers of the time; accompanying the Sacred Relics of the Buddha's chief disciples; advising on the making of a Buddhist film; giving lectures; discovering Dharmapala; meeting Dhardo Rimpoche; in fact, working in every way to spread the Dharma - Sangharakshita also affords the reader glimpses of his inner life, his struggles and disappointments, his aspirations and inspirations, his responses to the beauties of nature, and his feeling for friendship. The twenty-nine letters collected together in Dear Dinoo span the period 1955-1974, giving a sighting of Sangharakshita's life as he experienced it at the time, including what happened on the day of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's untimely death in 1956. We are also afforded a glimpse of the unusual friendship that sprung up between the young English monk and the Montessori teacher.Kalyanaprabha's Introduction highlights some of the significances of the correspondence, including reflections on Sangharakshita, Women, and Friendship. A friend who often appears in the letters, Dr Dinshaw Mehta, Servant of God, and one time naturopath to Gandhi, is the subject of the appendix.
This wide-ranging and powerful book argues that Theravada Buddhism provides ways of thinking about the self that can reinvigorate the humanities and offer broader insights into how to learn and how to act. Steven Collins argues that Buddhist philosophy should be approached in the spirit of its historical teachers and visionaries, who saw themselves not as preservers of an archaic body of rules but as part of a timeless effort to understand what it means to lead a worthy life. He contends that Buddhism should be studied philosophically, literarily, and ethically using its own vocabulary and rhetorical tools. Approached in this manner, Buddhist notions of the self help us rethink contemporary ideas of self-care and the promotion of human flourishing. Collins details the insights of Buddhist texts and practices that promote the ideal of active and engaged learning, offering an expansive and lyrical reflection on Theravada approaches to meditation, asceticism, and physical training. He explores views of monastic life and contemplative practices as complementing and reinforcing textual learning, and argues that the Buddhist tenet that the study of philosophy and ethics involves both rigorous reading and an ascetic lifestyle has striking resonance with modern and postmodern ideas. A bold reappraisal of the history of Buddhist literature and practice, Wisdom as a Way of Life offers students and scholars across the disciplines a nuanced understanding of the significance of Buddhist ways of knowing for the world today.
The story of the spiritual journey of the famous Tibetan yogi Milarepa is often told, but less well known are the stories of his encounters with those he met and taught after his own Enlightenment, eleven of which are the catalyst for volumes 18 and 19 of the Complete Works. The first three were originally published in The Yogi's Joy, and to these have been added an intriguing fourth, `The Shepherd's Search for Mind'. The other seven stories form a sequence tracing the relationship between Milarepa and his disciple Rechungpa, from their first meeting to their final parting, when Rechungpa is exhorted to go and teach the Dharma himself. As portrayed in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, Rechungpa is a promising disciple, but he has a lot to learn, being sometimes proud, distracted, anxious, desirous of comfort and praise, over-attached to book learning, stubborn, sulky and liable to go to extremes. In other words, he is very human, and surely recognizable to anyone who has embarked on the spiritual path. He all too often takes his teacher's advice the wrong way, or simply ignores it, and it takes all of Milarepa's skill, compassion and patience to keep their relationship intact and help his unruly disciple to stay on the path to Enlightenment. Sangharakshita's commentary is based on seminars he gave to young, enthusiastic but as yet inexperienced Dharma followers, and while much can be gleaned from it about the path of practice of the Kagyu tradition, the main emphasis is simply on how to overcome the difficulties that are sure to befall the would-be spiritual practitioner, how to learn what we need to learn - in short, the art of discipleship.
In the religious landscape of early medieval (c. AD 600-1200) Bihar and Bengal, poly-religiosity was generally the norm than an exception, which entailed the evolution of complex patterns of inter-religious equations. Buddhism, Brahmanism and Jainism not only coexisted but also competed for social patronage, forcing them to enter into complex interactions with social institutions and processes. Through an analysis of the published archaeological data, this work explores some aspects of the social history of Buddhist, Brahmanical and Jaina temples and shrines, and Buddhist stupas and monasteries in early medieval Bihar and Bengal. This archaeological history of religions questions many 'established' textual reconstructions, and enriches our understanding of the complex issue of the decline of Buddhism in this area. Please note: Taylor & Francis does not sell or distribute the Hardback in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The story of Saint Josaphat, a prince who gave up his wealth and kingdom to follow Jesus, was one of the most popular Christian tales of the Middle Ages, translated into a dozen languages, and cited by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice. Yet Josaphat is only remembered today because of the similarities of his life to that of the Buddha. In Search of the Christian Buddha is set against the backdrop of the trade along the Silk Road, the Christian settlement of Palestine, the spread of Islam, and the Crusades. It traces the path of the Buddha's tale from India and shows how it evolved, adopting details from each culture during its sojourn. These early instances of globalization allowed not only goods but also knowledge to flow between different cultures and around much of the world. Eminent scholars Donald S. Lopez Jr. and Peggy McCracken reveal how religions born thousands of miles apart shared ideas throughout the centuries. They uncover surprising convergences and divergences between these faiths on subjects including the meaning of death, the problem of desire, and their view of women. Demonstrating the incredible power of this tale, they ask not how stories circulate among religions but how religions circulate among stories.
This book examines the interface between Buddhism and the caste system in India. It discusses how Buddhism in different stages, from its early period to contemporary forms-Theravada, Mahayana, Tantrayana and Navayana-dealt with the question of caste. It also traces the intersections between the problem of caste with those of class and gender. The volume reflects on the interaction between Hinduism and Buddhism: it looks at critiques of caste in the classical Buddhist tradition while simultaneously drawing attention to the radical challenge posed by Dr B. R. Ambedkar's Navayana Buddhism or neo-Buddhism. The essays in the book further compare approaches to varna and caste developed by modern thinkers such as M. K. Gandhi and S. Radhakrishnan with Ambedkar's criticisms and his departures from mainstream appraisals. With its interdisciplinary methodology, combining insights from literature, philosophy, political science and sociology, the volume explores contemporary critiques of caste from the perspective of Buddhism and its historical context. By analyzing religion through the lens of caste and gender, it also forays into the complex relationship between religion and politics, while offering a rigorous study of the textual tradition of Buddhism in India. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of Indian philosophy, Buddhist studies, Indology, literature (especially Sanskrit and Pali), exclusion and discrimination studies, history, political studies, women studies, sociology, and South Asian studies.
This book examines culture, religion and polity in the context of Buddhism. Gananath Obeyesekere, one of the foremost analytical voices from South Asia develops Freud's notion of 'dream work', the 'work of culture' and ideas of no-self (anatta) to understand Buddhism in contemporary Sri Lanka. This work offers a restorative interpretation of Buddhist myths in contrast to the perspective involving deconstruction. The book deals with a range of themes connected with Buddhism, including oral traditions and stories, the religious pantheon, philosophy, emotions, reform movements, questions of identity and culture, and issues of modernity. This fascinating volume will greatly interest students, teachers and researchers of religion and philosophy, especially Buddhism, ethics, cultural studies, social and cultural anthropology, Sri Lanka and modern South Asian history.
Since the Buddha did not fully explain the theory of persons that underlies his teaching, in later centuries a number of different interpretations were developed. This book presents the interpretation by the celebrated Indian Buddhist philosopher, Candrakirti (ca. 570-650 C.E.). Candrakirti's fullest statement of the theory is included in his Autocommentary on the Introduction to the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatarabhasya), which is, along with his Introduction to the Middle Way (Madhyamakavatara ), among the central treatises that present the Prasavgika account of the Madhyamaka (Middle Way) philosophy. In this book, Candrakirti's most complete statement of his theory of persons is translated and provided with an introduction and commentary that present a careful philosophical analysis of Candrakirti's account of the selflessness of persons. This analysis is both philologically precise and analytically sophisticated. The book is of interest to scholars of Buddhism generally and especially to scholars of Indian Buddhist philosophy.
Zen and Therapy brings together aspects of the Buddhist tradition, contemporary western therapy and western philosophy. By combining insightful anecdotes from the Zen tradition with clinical studies, discussions of current psychotherapy theory and forays into art, film, literature and philosophy, Manu Bazzano integrates Zen Buddhist practice with psychotherapy and psychology. This book successfully expands the existing dialogue on the integration of Buddhism, psychology and philosophy, highlighting areas that have been neglected and bypassed. It explores a third way between the two dominant modalities, the religious and the secular, a positively ambivalent stance rooted in embodied practice, and the cultivation of compassion and active perplexity. It presents a life-affirming view: the wonder, beauty and complexity of being human. Intended for both experienced practitioners and beginners in the fields of psychotherapy and philosophy, Zen and Therapy provides an enlightening and engaging exploration of a previously underexplored area.
This second volume of the five-volume commentary by the renowned Buddhist scholar Geshe Lhundub Sopa focuses on the key Buddhist concepts of karma, or cause and effect, and dependent origination. Considered one of the finest living Buddhist scholars, Geshe Sopa provides commentaries essential for anyone interested in a sound understanding of Tibetan Buddhist practice and philosophy. Never has a book gone into such clear detail on karma and dependent origination--concepts which, despite many references in contemporary culture, are too often misunderstood. Here, Geshe Sopa starts from the beginning with a faithful reading of the "Lamrim Chenmo" and, in the end, leaves readers with the proper tools for incorporating core Buddhist concepts into their study, teaching, and practice.
For Buddhists everywhere, the Three Jewels - the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha - are at the heart of daily life and practice. But how can we engage with these precious ideals in a way that makes a difference to how we live? In this, the companion volume to The Three Jewels I, in which the nature of Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels is explored, are gathered three much-loved books: Who is the Buddha?, What is the Dharma?, and What is the Sangha? In this volume, Sangharakshita tackles a great range of subjects, offering original and imaginative perspectives on all the topics one might expect an introduction to Buddhism to cover - karma and rebirth, Nirvana and the spiral path, and the nature of Buddhahood itself, as well as clear and pragmatic guidance on matters of personal concern, such as individuality, fidelity, gratitude, parenthood and seeking a spiritual teacher. The teachings are underpinned by many references to the Pali canon and other sources, to provide an authentic guide to the Dharma life in all its aspects, and much encouragement and inspiration to live that life to the full.
Sangharakshita read the Diamond Sutra for the first time the summer he turned seventeen. It seemed to awaken him to something whose existence he had forgotten, and he joyfully embraced those profound teachings 'with an unqualified acceptance'. This experience decided the whole future direction of his life.In this first volume of memoirs he describes how, from a working-class childhood in the London suburb of Tooting, he came, a twenty-four-year-old Buddhist novice monk, to Kalimpong in the eastern Himalayas. Sangharakshita paints a vivid picture of the people, the places and the experiences that shaped his life: his childhood, his army days, and the gurus he met during his years as a wandering ascetic staying in the caves and ashrams of India. He moves between the ordinary and the extraordinary, from the mundane to the sublime; his narrative takes in the psychological and aesthetic, the philosophical and spiritual. His experiences are both universal - love and loss, comedy and tragedy - and unique to what is an exceptional life.
The eagerly awaited Complete Works of Sangharakshita begins with Volume 9 on Dr Ambedkar and the revival of Buddhism. One of the most far-reaching of Sangharakshita's contributions to modern Buddhism was giving shape to the Buddhist conversion movement begun by the great Indian statesman and reformer, Dr B.R. Ambedkar. In 1956, along with hundreds of thousands of his followers, Ambedkar renounced the Hindu caste system - according to which they were condemned to be 'untouchable' - and converted to Buddhism, thus beginning a new life.The first part of this volume tells the story of how Ambedkar overcame the suffering and struggle of his early years to become the shaper of the Indian constitution and the leader of his people to a new life; and how, following Ambedkar's untimely death, Sangharakshita took on the challenge of teaching Buddhism to the new community of Buddhists.The second part is a collection of 36 edited talks, many published here for the first time, from Sangharakshita's tour of the Buddhist communities in India in 1981-2. Wherever and in whatever circumstances you live, there is much here to bring new life and depth to your Buddhist practice.
Throughout the history of Buddhism, little has been said prior to the Twentieth Century that explicitly raises the question whether we have free will, though the Buddha rejected fatalism and some Buddhists have addressed whether karma is fatalistic. Recently, however, Buddhist and Western philosophers have begun to explicitly discuss Buddhism and free will. This book incorporates Buddhist philosophy more explicitly into the Western analytic philosophical discussion of free will, both in order to render more perspicuous Buddhist ideas that might shed light on the Western philosophical debate, and in order to render more perspicuous the many possible positions on the free will debate that are available to Buddhist philosophy. The book covers: Buddhist and Western perspectives on the problem of free will The puzzle of whether free will is possible if, as Buddhists believe, there is no agent/self Theravada views Mahayana views Evidential considerations from science, meditation, and skepticism The first book to bring together classical and contemporary perspectives on free will in Buddhist thought, it is of interest to academics working on Buddhist and Western ethics, comparative philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, agency, and personal identity.
This book breaks new ground by examining trans-oceanic connectivity through the perspective of coastal shrines and maritime cultural landscapes across the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea. It covers a period of expanding networks and cross-cultural encounters from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. The book examines the distinctiveness of these shrines, and highlights their interconnections, and their role in social integration in South and Southeast Asia. By drawing on data from shipwreck sites, the author elaborates on the material and religious intersections and transmissions between cultures across the seas. Many of these coastal shrines survived into the colonial period when they came to be admired for their aesthetic value as 'monuments'. As nation states of the region became independent, these shrines were often inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List on account of their Outstanding Universal Values. The book argues that in the 21st century there is a need to promote the cultural connectivity of the past as transnational heritage on UNESCO's global platform to preserve and protect our shared heritage. The volume will be essential reading for academics and researchers of archaeology, anthropology, museum and heritage studies, history of South and Southeast Asia, religious studies, cultural studies, and Asian studies.
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