Walter Henry Nelson, a respected historical scholar and author, offers readers a distinctly accessible and authoritative biography of the Buddha and his teachings. In this essential, gripping, and inspiring introduction for the general reader, Buddha explores ancient legends surrounding Buddhism’s founder. It shows how the simple story and profound struggle of Price Siddhartha, who died five hundred years before the birth of Christ, were transformed into one of the world’s great religions.
From tales of Gautama’s struggle to parables of the intervention of gods in his journey, Nelson takes readers through the historical existence and ideals at the heart of a religion and philosophy that searches beyond materialism for the true aim of life.
In the 6th century B.C.E., a young prince named Siddhartha Gotama set out on an ascetic quest to alleviate human suffering. In the middle ground between opulence and self-denial, he discovered a path to enlightenment and self awareness--and he dedicated his life to sharing that discovery. The man called Buddha, the Awakened One, traveled as an itinerant monk, imparting principles of enlightenment throughout India and what is now southern Nepal. He was not worshipped as a god, but became teacher and model to ascetics, royalty, and townsfolk alike. In the 2,500 years that followed, through the spread of Buddha's teachings and the monastic communities that upheld them, the world's oldest missionary religion has grown so that it now boasts over 350 million followers worldwide.
The story of Buddhism unfolds through a series of narrative chapters, dealing with the Brahmanical cosmology from which Buddhism emerged, the stories and myths surrounding Buddha's birth, Buddha's path to enlightenment, and the eventual spread of his teachings throughout India and the world. Kinnard's clear telling of the tale helps students understand such complex concepts as the natural law of cause and effect (karma), the birth/life/death/rebirth cycle (samsara), the ever-changing state of suffering (dukkha), and salvation, the absence of all states (nirvana). Primary documents, illustrations, glossary and biographical sketches illuminate the extraordinary life and legacy of the man called Buddha.
Weaving ancient sources and modern understanding into a compelling narrative, Gautama Buddha places his birth around 484 BCE, his Enlightenment in 449 BCE and his death in 404 BCE, a century later than the traditional dates. Vishvapani Blomfield examines Gautama's words and impact to shed fresh light on his culture, his spiritual search and the experiences and teachings that led his followers, to call him "The Awakened One."
Placing Gautama in a credible historical setting without assuming that he was really just an ordinary person, this book draws on the myths and legends that surround him to illuminate the significance of his life. It traces Gautama's investigations of consciousness, his strikingly original view of life and his development of new forms of religious community and practice.
This insightful and thought-provoking biography will appeal to anyone interested in history and religion, and in the Buddha as a thinker, spiritual teacher and a seminal cultural figure. Gautama Buddha is a gripping account of one of history's most powerful personalities.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This is one man’s confession.
In his classic Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor offered a profound, secular approach to the teachings of the Buddha that struck an emotional chord with Western readers. Now, with the same brilliance and boldness of thought, he paints a groundbreaking portrait of the historical Buddha—told from the author’s unique perspective as a former Buddhist monk and modern seeker. Drawing from the original Pali Canon, the seminal collection of Buddhist discourses compiled after the Buddha’s death by his followers, Batchelor shows us the Buddha as a flesh-and-blood man who looked at life in a radically new way. Batchelor also reveals the everyday challenges and doubts of his own devotional journey—from meeting the Dalai Lama in India, to training as a Zen monk in Korea, to finding his path as a lay teacher of Buddhism living in France. Both controversial and deeply personal, Stephen Batchelor’s refreshingly doctrine-free, life-informed account is essential reading for anyone interested in Buddhism.
Rediscovering the Buddha : The Legends and Their Interpretations: The Legends and Their Interpretations
The book describes the emergence and maturity of encounter dialogue and analyzes the new doctrines and practices of the school to revise the traditional notion of Mazu and his followers as iconoclasts. It also depicts the strivings of Mazu’s disciples for orthodoxy and how the criticisms of and reflections on Hongzhou doctrine led to the schism of this line and the rise of the Shitou line and various houses during the late Tang and Five Dynasties periods. Jia refutes the traditional Chan genealogy of two lines and five houses and calls for new frameworks in the study of Chan history. An annotated translation of datable discourses of Mazu is also included.