By Edward Conze
Publish yr note: First released in 1980
In this authoritative consultant, one of many world's so much exclusive students of Buddhism offers a compact precis of the tradition's improvement, from the time of the Buddha to the 20 th century exile of the Dalai Lama.
Covering the entire Buddhist faculties from Maháyána to Zen, this entire, concise examine is generally said because the vintage advent to the background of the Buddhist culture, ideal for college kids and readers alike. Edward Conze studied Indian and comparative philosophy on the universities of Bonn and Hamburg.
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Additional resources for Buddhism: A Short History
They asserted that they had been preached by the Buddha in the course of His life on earth, that parallel to the Council at Rájagrha, which codified the Sútras of the Hínayána, the Maháyána Sútras had been codified by an assembly of Bodhisattvas on the mythical mountain of Vimalasvabháva; that the texts had been miraculously preserved for five centuries and stored away in the subterranean palaces of the Nágas, or with the king of the Gandharvas, or the king of the Gods. Then, as Nágárjuna puts it, “five hundred years after the Buddha’s Nirvana, when the Good Law, after having gradually declined, was in great danger”, these treasures from the past 52 were unearthed, revealed and made known, so as to revivify the doctrine.
As different communities fixed themselves in different parts of India, local traditions developed, though in spite of all geographical and doctrinal divisions the different sects generally speaking remained in constant communion with each other. Not only did individual monks constantly travel from one centre to another, but the institution of regular pilgrimages of masses of monks and laymen to the holy places of Magadha, which were hallowed by the life of the Buddha and by the relics of His body, caused a constant intermingling of the most diverse elements.
What benefits then does the monk bestow upon the laymen? He increases both their spiritual and their material welfare. He promotes the first by sermons on those aspects of the doctrine which are intelligible and relevant to the laity, as well as by the example of a holy life which will give courage and zest to those still tied to the world and can give them a glimpse of the freedom and serenity they may achieve in a future life. In the course of time a vast literature of Birth stories (játaka), which tell of the Buddha’s previous lives, animal as well as human, and of edifying tales (avadána) was composed for the benefit 45 of the laity.
Buddhism: A Short History by Edward Conze