Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations / Edition 1

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The issue of saints is a difficult and complicated problem in buddhology. This study is the first comprehensive examination of the figure of the Buddhist saint in a wide range of Indian Buddhist evidence. Drawing on an extensive variety of sources, Ray seeks to identify the prototypical Buddhist saint as a "renunciant of the forest." This classical type, Ray argues, provides the presupposition for, and informs the different major Buddhist saintly types and subtypes, including the buddha, pratyekabuddha, arhant, and bodhisattva. Discussing the nature, dynamics, and history of Buddhist hagiography, Ray surveys the ascetic codes, conventions, and traditions of Buddhist saints, and the cults both of living saints and of those who have "passed beyond." He traces the role of the saints in Indian Buddhist history, particularly at the times of Buddhist origins and the formation of the Mahayana. Calling for a reconceptualization of Indian Buddhist history that takes into account the essential role played by the saints of the forest, Ray proposes a new three-fold model of Buddhism, that adds the forest renunciant to the well-known figures of the Buddhist monastic and layperson. Of primary concern to scholars of Buddhism, Indian religions, Asian studies, and religious studies, Buddhist Saints in India will also interest those who study hagiography.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ray's work has major implications for the understanding of Indian Buddhist history from its origins through the development of Mahayana and helps to make sense of later Buddhist developments, beyond the scope of his subject."--Choice

"Buddhist Saints in India is an extraordinarily impressive contribution to the study of Buddhism. The breadth of the research it embodies, its wealth of detail, and the rigor with which the argument is developed and sustained throughout distinguish it as the product of many years of careful scholarship....Ray's abundant offering should be considered essential reading for all who are interested in Buddhism and the religious traditions of India, as well as the study of the saints in the world's religions."--The Journal of Religion

"Ray's substantial work surveys an extensive body of primary and secondary sources with an eye toward a fundamental revision of common views about the sociology of the early Buddhist tradition."--History of Religions

"...I think that this is a very significant book that should awaken some important scholarly interest and produce further study in this area."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195134834
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 528
  • Lexile: 1490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 The Buddhist Saints and the Two-Tiered Model of Buddhism 15
2 Buddha Sakyamuni as a Saint 44
3 Saints of the Theragatha and Therigatha 79
4 Some Orthodox Saints in Buddhism 105
5 Saints Criticized and Condemned 151
6 Cults of Arhants 179
7 The Solitary Saint, the Pratyekabuddha 213
8 Bodhisattva Saints of the Forest in Mahayana Sutras 251
9 Ascetic Traditions of Buddhist Saints 293
10 The Buddhist Saints and the Stupa 324
11 The Cult of Saints and Buddhist Doctrines of Absence and Presence 358
12 The Buddhist Saints and the Process of Monasticization 396
Conclusion: Toward a Threefold Model of Buddhism 433
Bibliography 448
Index 469
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