875p., 29 cm. (History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Volume VII, Part 9)
The volumes of the Project on the History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization aim at discovering the main aspects of India’s heritage and present them in an interrelated way. In spite of their unitary look, these volumes recognize the difference between the areas of material civilization and those of ideational culture. The project is not being executed by a single group of thinkers and writers who are methodologically uniform or ideologically identical in their commitments. The Project is marked by what may be called ‘methodological pluralism’. Inspite of its primarily historical character, this project, both in its conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by scholars drawn from different disciplines. It is for the first time that an endeavour of such a unique and comprehensive character has been undertaken to study critically a major world civilization. Buddhism can truly be called a universal religion. Like a kaleidoscope one can glean different spiritual structures in it. For some the rationalist and agnostic aspects of the early Pali Buddhism is important, others are inspired by the Mahayana texts and the Japanese tradition. Buddhism is to be valued for its idealistic, transcendental even non-dual tendencies. Still for some others the existential tendency and phenomenology seem significant in Buddhism. The study of Buddhist logic as preserved in Tibet and Mongolia also led to the appreciation of Buddhist philosophy as logic and epistemology with a strong ‘Kantian’ bias. The contribution of Buddhism went a long way in creating the essence of Indian culture, universal in its teachings. The catholic and rational message of Buddhism made it a dynamic and expansive world religion. What seems an anti-essentialist philosophy to the modern man actually shows different levels of spiritual experiences culminating in niruana. The study of Buddhism has attracted a host of scholars in India and abroad in all disciplines, e.g. History, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Literature and the Arts since ancient times. The present volume covers all the aspects of Buddhism by distinguished scholars. The topics range from archaeology and the date of the Buddha to contemporary Buddhism. The intricacies of the original Gospel, Hinayana, Mahayana, Buddhist monasticism and art, and Buddhism in relation to contemporary issues have been dealt with thoroughly.