The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Buddhism


A Modern Perspective Edited by Charles S. Prebisch
  • Copyright: 1973
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 348 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-01185-1
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-01195-0

Paperback Edition: $32.95Add to Cart

“This book is a valuable addition to the literature on Buddhism. It presents a basic and accurate survey of the tremendous variety of traditions and practices associated with Buddhism throughout the world.

In the past half century Buddhist ideas have been introduced to Western countries in very impure forms due to the particular viewpoints of the adventurers and translators who interpreted them. It is especially unfortunate that Buddhism has been presented as a theistic religion, whereas in fact it is a non-theistic spiritual philosophy, psychology, and way of life. In recent decades the practice of Zen meditation has become well known in the West. While this is an improvement over the ways in which Buddhism was presented earlier, there is still very little clear presentation of other forms that meditation practice can take, or of the philosophy which is an essential part of the study of Buddhism.

The value of this book, then, lies in the care and scholarship which the authors have shown in outlining the doctrines in a simple and straightforward way, and in providing ample resources for further study. It is a beginning step in the vast amount of work which needs to be done if Buddhism is to take a firm root in American soil.”

The contributors are Stefan Anacker, Stephan V. Beyer, Francis H. Cook, Roger J. Corless, Douglas D. Daye, Mark A. Ehman, Lewis R. Lancaster, and Charles S. Prebish.


List of Contributors ii

Foreword ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xi

Part I: Indian Buddhism

1. The Background to Buddhism

Stephan V. Beyer 3

2. Life of the Buddha

Charles S. Prebish 10

3. Early History of the Buddhist Order

Charles S. Prebish 16

4. Buddhist Councils and Divisions in the Order

Charles S. Prebish 21

5. Aśoka and the Missionary Activity of the Buddhists

Stefan Anacker 27

6. Doctrines of the Early Buddhists

Charles S. Prebish 29

7. Major Schools of the Early Buddhists: Mahāsāmghika

Charles S. Prebish 36

8. Major Schools of the Early Buddhists: Theravāda

Charles S. Prebish 39

9. Major Schools of the Early Buddhists: Sarvāstivāda Charles S. Prebish 42

10. Kanișka

Stefan Anacker 46

11. The Vinaya Pitaka

Charles S. Prebish 49

12. The Sūtra Pitaka

Francis H. Cook 54

13. The Abhidharma Pitaka

Stefan Anacker 59

14. The Rise of the Mahāyāna

Lewis R. Lancaster 65

15. The Prajñāpāramitā Literature

Lewis R. Lancaster 69

16. Doctrines of the Mahāyāna

Lewis R. Lancaster 72

17. Major Schools of the Mahāyāna: Mādhyamika 76

Douglas D. Daye

18. Major Schools of the Mahāyāna: Yogācāra

Stefan Anacker 97

19. The Saddharmapundarīka-Sūtra 102

Mark A. Ehman

20. The Vimalakīrti-Nirdeśa Sūtra

Stefan Anacker 108

21. The Lańkāvatāra Sūtra

Mark A. Ehman 112

22. The Pure Land Sūtras

Mark A. Ehman 118

23. Cosmology

Douglas D. Daye 123

24. Buddhist Logic

Douglas D. Daye 127

25. Nirvāna

Francis H. Cook 133

26. The Doctrine of Meditation in the Hīnayāna

Stephan V. Beyer 137

27. The Doctrine of Meditation in the Mahāyāna

Stephan V. Beyer 148

Part II: Buddhism Outside of India

28. Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon

Mark A. Ehman 161

29. Monastic Life in Ceylon

Charles S. Prebish 166

30. Introduction of Buddhism to Southeast Asia and

Subsequent History up to the Eleventh Century

Stefan Anacker 170

31. Medieval Buddhism in Southeast Asia

Stefan Anacker 178

32. The Spread of Buddhism into China

Roger J. Corless 187

33. History of Buddhism in China

Roger J. Corless 190

34. Ch'an

Roger J. Corless 194

35 Ching-t'u

Roger J. Corless 198

36. Chinese Academic Schools and Doctrinal


Francis H. Cook 201

37. Chinese Buddhism and the Communist Regime Roger J. Corless 208

38. Introduction of Buddhism to Korea and

Subsequent Development

Lewis R. Lancaster 212

39. Buddhism in Korea Survives Suppression and


Lewis R. Lancaster 215

40. Introduction of Buddhism to Japan and Its

Development During the Nara Period

Francis H. Cook 218

41. Heian, Kamakura, and Tokugawa Periods in


Francis H. Cook 223

42. Japanese Innovations to Buddhism

Francis H. Cook 229

43. Japanese Buddhism and the New Religions

Francis H. Cook 234

44. Buddhism in Tibet

Stephan V. Beyer 239

45. Buddhism and the West

Roger J. Corless 248

Appendix: Partial Listing of Representative Buddhist Groups in the United States

Roger J. Corless and Charles S. Prebish

Glossary 259

Bibliography 311

Index 319

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