Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion, Modernity

Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion, Modernity

by Richard Cohen
     
 

What is enlightenment? For Buddhists it involves the discovery of the truth of duhkha-pain, suffering, and sorrow-followed by the realization that duhkha can be brought to an end. In like manner, Protestant Christians speak of enlightenment as a moment when, touched by God, one becomes aware of one's own escape from eternal-damnation. Likewise, European philosophers… See more details below

Overview

What is enlightenment? For Buddhists it involves the discovery of the truth of duhkha-pain, suffering, and sorrow-followed by the realization that duhkha can be brought to an end. In like manner, Protestant Christians speak of enlightenment as a moment when, touched by God, one becomes aware of one's own escape from eternal-damnation. Likewise, European philosophers have imagined an age of Enlightenment, a time of individual freedom and social equality. In all three cases, enlightenment, as insight into reality, is conjoined with enlightenment, as a state of harmony and peace, beyond politics.

Beyond Enlightenment treats the political implications of this apolitical ideal. It is a sophisticated study of some of the assumptions underlying, and ramifications involved in, the study of Buddhism [especially, but not exclusively, in the West], and of the tendency of scholars to ground their study of Buddhism in particular assumptions about the Buddha's enlightenment and a particular understanding of religion, traced back through Western orientalists to the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation. Richard Cohen's book will be of interest to buddhologists, indologists, scholars of comparative religion, and intellectual historians.

About the Author:
Richard S. Cohen is Associate Professor of South Asian Religious Literatures at the University of California, San Diego

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415372947
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
06/13/2006
Series:
Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism Series
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

1A benign introduciton1
2A place of exceptional universal value35
3A tale of two histories69
4The anthropology of enlightenment108
5What do gods have to do with enlightenment?149
6A baroque conclusion181

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