The Golden Age of Indian Buddhist Philosophy

The Golden Age of Indian Buddhist Philosophy

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Description

Jan Westerhoff unfolds the story of one of the richest episodes in the history of Indian thought, the development of Buddhist philosophy in the first millennium CE. He starts from the composition of the Abhidharma works before the beginning of the common era and continues up to the time of Dharmakirti in the sixth century. This period was characterized by the development of a variety of philosophical schools and approaches that have shaped Buddhist thought up to the
present day: the scholasticism of the Abhidharma, the Madhyamaka's theory of emptiness, Yogacara idealism, and the logical and epistemological works of Dinnaga and Dharmakirti. The book attempts to describe the historical development of these schools in their intellectual and cultural context, with
particular emphasis on three factors that shaped the development of Buddhist philosophical thought: the need to spell out the contents of canonical texts, the discourses of the historical Buddha and the Mahayana sutras; the desire to defend their positions by sophisticated arguments against criticisms from fellow Buddhists and from non-Buddhist thinkers of classical Indian philosophy; and the need to account for insights gained through the application of specific meditative techniques. While
the main focus is the period up to the sixth century CE, Westerhoff also discusses some important thinkers who influenced Buddhist thought between this time and the decline of Buddhist scholastic philosophy in India at the beginning of the thirteenth century. His aim is that the historical presentation
will also allow the reader to get a better systematic grasp of key Buddhist concepts such as non-self, suffering, reincarnation, karma, and nirvana.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 163 x 242 x 25mm | 682g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 019873266X
  • 9780198732662
  • 435,493

Table of contents

Introduction
1 Abhidharma
2 Madhyamaka
3 Yogacara
4 The School of Dinnaga and Dharmakirti
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Review Text

Jan Westerhoff's book is an ambitious and thorough addition to The Oxford History of Philosophy series. This book, written by an eminent specialist in the field of Buddhist philosophy, serves as an advanced introduction to a fertile period of philosophy Ethan Mills, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Review quote

Jan Westerhoff's book is an ambitious and thorough addition to The Oxford History of Philosophy series. This book, written by an eminent specialist in the field of Buddhist philosophy, serves as an advanced introduction to a fertile period of philosophy * Ethan Mills, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * This book may be transformational for Western scholars, because in it Westerhoff stresses the overemphasis on Indian Buddhist philosophy of the classical era and settles Nagarjuna into a richer philosophical community in the Golden Age. The overall journey of this rigorous study is noteworthy: it flows well throughout, thanks in part to the organization of the ideas... Summing Up: Highly Recommended. * CHOICE * An excellent new history of Buddhist philosophy in India... very readable... in the sense of focusing on essentials, without attempting to go into too many details. * Chivan Thomas Jones, Western Buddhist Review * The detailed table of contents and main idea phrases in the margins aid both reference and focus. This reviewer anticipates that this book will be much cited in future scholarship and teaching. * D P Prianti, Choice *
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About Jan Westerhoff

Jan Westerhoff was educated at Cambridge and the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has taught Philosophy at the Universities of Oxford and Durham and is presently Professor of Buddhist Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Fellow and Tutor in Theology and Religion at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His books include Ontological Categories
(2005), Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka (2009), Twelve Examples of Illusion (2010), The Dispeller of Disputes: Nagarjuna's Vigrahavyavartani (2010), and A Very Short Introduction to Reality (2011), all published by Oxford University Press.
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Rating details

33 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 55% (18)
4 27% (9)
3 9% (3)
2 3% (1)
1 6% (2)
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