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Cambridge University Press
Nirvana: Concept, Imagery, Narrative

Nirvana: Concept, Imagery, Narrative

by Steven Collins
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521708340
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/30/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Steven Collins is Chester D. Tripp Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

What is this book, and who is it for? 1

The discourse of felicity: imagining happiness 3

The Pali imaginaire 4

Eu-topia and ou-topia 7

Notes on the words 'Theravada' and 'religion' 8

1 Systematic and narrative thought: eternity and closure in structure and story 12

Closure in systematic thought 16

Closure in narrative thought 19

2 Nirvana as a concept 29

Action, conditioning, time, and timelessness 29

Nirvana in life and after death 39

Nirvana exists 47

Can one desire nirvana? 55

Silence and the production of meaning 58

3 Nirvana as an image 61

The words (pari)nirvana and (pari)nibbana; other referring terms and definite descriptions 63

Two aporias: consciousness and happiness 69

Imagery and expressibility 78

Appendix: happiness in meditation 94

4 Nirvana, time, and narrative 100

The myth of 'the Myth of the Eternal Return' 100

Individual versus collective time: can history end? Was Gotama unique? 105

The sense of an ending 110

Ending(s) in narrated time (erzählte Zeit)1: non-repetitive time 112

Ending(s) in narrated time (erzählte Zeit)2: repetitive time 114

Ending as an event in the time of narration (Erzählzeit) 122

5 Past and future Buddhas 126

Vamsa as a genre 136

Voice and temporal perspective in the Chronicle of Buddhas: repetitive and non-repetitive time interwoven 139

The Story of the Elder Maleyya and The History of the Future: unprecedented well-being 148

Appendix 1 Selections from the Buddhavamsa 153

Appendix 2 The Anagatavamsa 172

Conclusion: modes of thought, modes of tradition 185

Notes 189

Index 194

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