About the Book
An attempt has been made to explain as to what were the essential causes that led to the rise of the Mahayana, and, upon its emergence, how it tried to fulfil the religious aspiration and hopes of its adherents by removing such barriers as would prevent the ordinary people from enjoying the salvific peace of the Dharma which the Buddha, upon the attainment of enlightenment, had proclaimed to the masses of India. The Mahayanists carried out successfully the salvific mission of the Buddha by giving equal opportunity to both the religious and the laity insofar as the ultimate stereological goal of liberation from bondage was concerned. One of the ways of accomplishing this religious task was to deify the Buddha, and in doing so the Mahayanists thereby transformed Buddhism into a religion of devotion. This devotional spirituality will ultimately find its fullest expression in the compassion of a Bodhisattva. No more would a true Mahayanist seek his own salvation; rather he would work, out of deep compassion, for the salvation f others. It is this altruistic spirituality which permeates the ethos of Mahayanism.
At the philosophical level it discovered the limitation of reason, and so offered a sound critique of al those systems of thought, whether Buddhist or Hindu, which adhered to pluralistic realism. Taking into consideration the doctrine of dependent origination, it found out that all phenomenal originates have arisen not by themselves, but by depending upon various causes and condition. In relation to knowledge it would mean that knowledge itself is dependent upon the knower and the known. From this discovery the conclusion was arrived at: anything that arises dependently is destitute of any intrinsic nature. In philosophical terms it means that phenomenal entities are empty of any nature. It is this concept of "emptiness" which would be viewed as being identical with reality. The knowledge of reality as emptiness is not arrived at through wisdom. Thus it is compassion and wisdom which constitute the essence of Mahayana spirituality.
About the Author
Moti Lal Pandit is at present serving as Secretary of Dialog Center International (Arhus, Denmark) for Research and Dialog. He has written a number of papers on comparative religion, and has also published number of book on Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Some of his published books are : Towards Transcendence; In Search of the Absolute; Vedic Hinduism; Essentials of Buddhism; Being as Becoming; Beyond the Word; Sankara's Concept of Reality; and Religio-Philosophical History of Savaism.
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