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A Manual of Buddhism in Its Modern Development - An Old and Rare Book (Volume-56)

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Item Code: NAV646
Author: R. Spence Hardy
Publisher: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office
Language: English
Edition: 1967
Pages: 534
Cover: HARDCOVER
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 680 gm
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Preface

In the preparation of the present Manual, I have kept one object steadily in view. It has been my simple aim, to answer the question, "What is Budhism, as it is now professed by its myriads of votaries?" A deep interest in the subject intense application honesty of purpose; a long residence in a country where the system is professed a daily use of the language from which I have principally translated and constancy of intercourse with the sramana priests have been my personal advantages to aid me in the undertaking. In nearly all other respects, the circumstances in which I have been placed have been unfavourable. Throughout the whole course of my investigations, I have had to exercise a laborious ministry with the exception of one brief interval, I have been at a distance from any public library I have received no assistance from any society, literary or religious, though that assistance has not been unasked my acquaintance with the lore of Europe is limited and I have had little or no access to recent publications on subjects of Asiatic literature. I have been charged by my friends, with great temerity in risking, unaided, the publication of the present work but the same spirit that animated me to pursue my task, year after year, in the solitude of an eastern village, has urged me onward, to complete my under- taking, in the issue of the Manual now sent forth, from a more privileged residence in my native land.

My previous work, on Eastern Monachism, describes the discipline, rites, and present circumstances of the Budhist priesthood. All the reviewers who have no ticed it, have spoken of it in favourable terms and I am sincerely grateful for the encouragement. that, from this source, 1 have received. To avoid a seeming egotism, in quoting from myself, I have restricted to the Index all reference to its pages. Inadvertently, a few sentences that have appeared in it, are inserted in the Manual. By a perusal of both these works, the student will be prepared to understand the general outline of the system; as, although its literature is elaborate, its elementary principles are few.

The native authors are not studious of method and it is a formidable. task to reduce their materials to order. The arrangement I have adopted may be open to objection; but it must be remembered, that this is the first attempt to form an analysis of the deeds and doctrines attributed to Gétama. In the first two chapters I have described the various worlds of the universe their cycles of decay and renovation; their terrene continents; their abodes celestial their places of torment; and the men, the divinities, the demons, and the other orders of being, by whom they are severally inhabited. It is necessary to understand these matters, or the sequel will be an impenetrable mystery. The third chapter is devoted to an account of the origin of the present race of men, with a more extended description of the teachings of Gétama and his disciples on the subject of caste.

He was preceded by other Budhas, in "numbers without number," some of whose acts are detailed in the fourth chapter. Gdtama. became a Bédhisat, or a candidate for the Budhaship, myriads of ages before his birth as a prince in Magadha; and in the fifth chapter we have his history during some of these pre- vious states of existence. This is followed by a notice of his ancestors, tracing his lineage, by the race of the sun, from the first king In the legends of his life, we learn the circumstances of his birth; the promise of his youth, his marriage, and his subsequent aban- donment of the world; his contest with the powers of evil; the attainment of the Budhaship, by which he received the supremacy of the universe, with unlimited power to do or to know; his first converts his principal disciples; the most celebrated of his acts during a ministry of forty-five years; the distribution of his relics; anda detail of his dignities, virtues, and powers. The concluding chapters present a compendium of the ontology and ethics of Budhism, as they are understood by the modern priesthood, and now taught to the people.

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