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Insights Into Buddhism - Selected Essays on Buddhist, Philosophy, Art and History (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAS057
Author: S. K Gupta
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: English
Edition: 1986
ISBN: 8170310223
Pages: 214
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 320 gm
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Book Description

The Sixth Century B.C. witnessed an unusual spurt in the spiritual and intellectual awakening of mankind. The eastern hemisphere stirred with the invocations of prophets of great religions. Confucius and Lao Tse in China, Isaiah in Babylon, and Mahavira and Buddha in India were ushering in anew era of intellectual ferment, heart-searching and quest for meaningful life.

Buddha, among them, stands out for his rebellion against well-entrenched orthodoxy, preaching of an egalitarian social order in the caste- ridden melieu and firing his disciples with the fervent zeal of the missionary. A picturesque mythology and lore, awe-inspiring works of sculpture and the yellow-robed bhikshus and bhikhunis in well-organised sanghas endowed Buddhism with an extraordinary glamour. The message of Buddha crossed the Himalayas and the seas under the patronage of a great monarch like Emperor Ashok. The first Indian pro-selytising religion won adherents in far-flung Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan. Nearer home Buddhism successfully inundated Sri Lanka, Burma, Nepal, Tibet, Indonesia, Kampuchea, Thailand and Vietnam.~ The universal Buddhist slogan. .

I take refuge in the Buddha

I take refuge in the Doctorine

I take refuge in the Order

echoed in the most populous segments of the earth. Today about one-fifth of the world population is Buddhist by faith.

Conditions in Buddhist lands have changed many times since Buddha first developed the answers to the riddle of why men suffer. Buddhism—broadly divided into Mahayana and Hinayana sects—has displayed a remarkable capacity to adapt itself to changing conditions. Despite the overbearing ideology and state power in the communist regime, Buddhism has survived as a living faith. Mahayana Buddhist monks are gaining new adherents all over the world. Zen Buddhist practices are a craze in the western world today.

Though Buddhism suffered reversal in the land of its birth, thanks to Hindu backlash, its impact is noticeable on the other faiths. How modern Hinduism is moulded "by Buddhism is + subject of study of the present volume (see p 22—32). In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "if China or Japan or Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) follow the teachings of the Great Master, India worships Him as God incarnate on earth... Hinduism cannot live without Hinduism nor Buddhism without Hinduism,"? Even the Zoroastrian doctrine of the Parsees has a unique inter- dependent relationship with Buddhist thought (see p. 177-181). Elsewhere the volume deals with the ethics, theology, scriptures, philosophical problems, places of pilgrimage, and role of Emperor Ashok in propounding the faith. Written by well- known scholars, the essays do not skip the criticisms and controversies surrounding Buddha and the 2500 years history of Buddhism.

Buddha is contemporary and relevant in rejecting the idea of caste. To Him all men were equal, and all were to be treated: as brothers and friends. He forbade His followers to lie, to steal, to commit adultery, to indulge in drinking or to make any claim to superhuman powers. He permitted, nay encouraged, women to join the order of monks. His verdict is clear: "Women are competent, Ananda," the Blessed One declared, "to attain the fruit of conversion, to attain release from the wearisome repetition of rebirths, to attain sainthood." (p 46).

The creed of non-violence and universal brotherhood is the cornerstone of Buddhist practice. Did He not exhort his followers, "purify your hearts and cease to kill. That is true religion?"’ For a world balancing itself on the razor’s edge of survival and nuclear holocaust, His message is a lighthouse of hope. Buddha, ‘therefore, is relevant to all of us as much as He is to the Buddhist faithfuls.

Buddhism means the religion of those seeking to be awaken- ed. Each person, Buddha declared, must explore, experiment and search thoughtfully. The true Buddhist does not accept an authority; he is free to examine, criticise and investigate for himself. The number of issues raised in the book are likely to help the seeker to discover the truth about Buddha and Buddhism and reach a conclusion.

This volume would acquaint the readers with the Enlightened One’s ennobling thoughts and their wides impact on humanity. To quote John Milton, ‘"‘what was scattered in many volumes . . . with no cursory pains I laid together, to save the reader a far longer travail.’

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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