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- OUP USA
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- 522 g
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Hans Penner takes a new look at the classic stories of the life of the Buddha. He takes issue with Max Weber's assertion that "Buddhism is an other-worldly ascetic religion," a point of view that remains dominant in the received tradition and in most contemporary studies of Buddhism. His central thesis is that the "householder" is a necessary element in Buddhism and that the giving of gifts, which creates merit and presupposes the doctrine of karma, mediates the
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relation between the householder and the monk. Penner argues that the omission of the householder - in his view one-half of what constitutes Buddhism as a religion - is fatal for any understanding of Buddha's life or of the Buddhist tradition. This boldly revisionist and deeply learned work will be of
interest to a wide range of scholarly and lay readers.
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Buddhadharma Penner succeeds in presenting the Buddha's story in a way that involves the reader viscerally.
John Philips Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Dartmouth College
PART I; INTRODUCTION TO PART I; 1. Cosmology and the Great Declaration; 2. The Perfection of Giving; 3. The Birth and Early Life of Gotama; 4. Flight From the Palace; 5. Enlightenment and Liberation; 6. The Buddha Begins to Teach; 7. The Buddha Becomes a Wonder Worker; 8. The Buddha Meets a King and Two Brilliant Ascetics; 9. Rules, Rules and More Rules; 10. The Buddha Goes Home; 11. The Buddha Receives a Gift and Befriends a King; 12. Meeting a Murderer, A Visit Home, and a Quick Trip to Heaven; 13. Devadatta Attempts to Kill the Buddha; 14. The Buddha's Last Days; 15. Once the Buddha Was a Universal Monarch; 16. The Last Watch and The Funeral; PART II; INTRODUCTION TO PART II; 17. The Quest for the Historical Buddha; 18. The Cosmological Structure; 19. The Legends as Rites of Passage; 20. The Great Agent: Universal Monarchs and Buddhas; 21. The Gift, the Renouncer and the Householder; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX