Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities

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Overview

This book presents a new answer to the question: what is nirvana? Part One distinguishes between systematic and narrative thought in the Pali texts of Theravada Buddhism, looking at the place of nirvana in both. Part two explores other Buddhist utopias and relates Buddhist utopianism to studies of European and American utopian writing. Steven Collins discusses these issues in relation to textuality, world history, and ideology in premodern civilisations, aiming to contribute to a new vision of Buddhist history which integrates the inside and the outside of texts.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This major publication belongs in all undergraduate and graduate libraries supporting religious studies programs." John Clifford Holt, Religious Studies Review

"This is a fantastic work. It is highly informative, intriguing, and thoroughly researched. I recommend it without reservation for anyone interested in the Pali literature. The only criticism I have is that the author might have made this one colossal work into a few smaller ones. Otherwise, this is an excellent accomplishment." Vanessa Sasson, ARC, the Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgments
List of abbreviations
Textual chronology
General introduction: Buddhism and civilizational history 1 - structures and processes 1
Pt. 1 Nirvana in and out of Time
Introduction to part 1: systematic and narrative thought - eternity and closure in structure and story 121
1 The concept of nirvana 135
2 The imagery of nirvana 191
3 Nirvana, time and narrative 234
Conclusion to part 1: modes of thought, modes of tradition 282
Pt. 2 Paradise in Heaven and on Earth
Introduction to part 2: utopia and the ideal society 289
4 Heaven, the land of Cockaygne and Arcadia 297
5 Millennialism 346
Critical discussion: what is "millennialism"? Premodern ideas and modern movements 395
6 The perfect moral commonwealth? Kingship and its discontents 414
7 The Vessantara Jataka 497
Conclusion to part 2: in what sense can one speak of Buddhist utopianism? 555
General conclusion: Buddhism and civilizational history 2 - reprise 563
App. 1 Selections from the Buddhavamsa 577
App. 2 Chapters 1 and 2 of the Mahavamsa 593
App. 3 The discourse (containing) a lion's roar on the Wheel-turning king (Cakkavatti-sihanada Sutta) 602
App. 4 Selections from the Story of the Elder Maleyya (Maleyyadevattheravatthu) 616
App. 5 The discourse on what is primary (Agganna Sutta) 627
Bibliography 635
Glossary and index of Pali and Sanskrit words 670
Name index 676
Subject index 681
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