An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy

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In this clearly written undergraduate textbook, Stephen Laumakis explains the origin and development of Buddhist ideas and concepts, focusing on the philosophical ideas and arguments presented and defended by selected thinkers and sutras from various traditions. He starts with a sketch of the Buddha and the Dharma, and highlights the origins of Buddhism in India. He then considers specific details of the Dharma with special attention to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology, and examines the development of Buddhism in China, Japan, and Tibet, concluding with the ideas of the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh. In each chapter he includes explanations of key terms and teachings, excerpts from primary source materials, and presentations of the arguments for each position. His book will be an invaluable guide for all who are interested in this rich and vibrant philosophy.

About the Author:
Stephen J. Laumakis is Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Our current interest in non-Western thought calls for factual knowledge of Eastern philosophies if we are to understand better our world. Of prime importance, Laumakis (philosophy, Univ. of St. Thomas) believes, is a beginner's text in Buddhist teachings, which he attempts to offer here. Laumakis does a good job of narrowing his focus, clearly presenting Buddhist theory, and posing helpful questions to help make the subject more graspable. This is not a book about how to practice Buddhism, but readers are encouraged to trust their own life experiences rather than to rely on dogma. Included are short biographical passages of current Buddhist leaders Thich Nhat Hanh and the 14th Dalai Lama; a discussion of the Buddah, Siddha¯ rtha Gautama; an exploration of key concepts (e.g., mindfulness, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path); and an examination of Buddhism as it has taken form in different lands. Although Laumakis intends to be concise, one of the book's defects is its all-too-brief coverage of Zen Buddhism, a major Buddhist sect in North America. Best suited to undergraduate students and novices to Buddhism; recommended for academic philosophy collections and the philosophy collections of larger public libraries.
—Lisa Liquori

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Laumakis is Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of St Thomas, St Paul.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Epigraph     x
Preface     xiii
A sketch of the Buddha and the Dhamma     1
The life of Siddhattha Gotama     3
The contexts for the emergence of Buddhism     19
The basic teachings of the Buddha     45
One Buddhism or many Buddhisms?     61
Details of the Dhamma     81
Kamma, Samsara, and rebirth     83
Interdependent arising     105
Impermanence, no-enduring-self, and emptiness     125
Moksa and Nibbana     149
Development of the Dhamma/Dharma     175
Bodhidharma's and Huineng's Buddhisms     177
Pure Land Buddhism     207
Tibetan Buddhism     229
Two forms of contemporary Buddhism     247
Glossary     265
Bibliography     277
Index     282
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