On Being Buddha: The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood

On Being Buddha: The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood

On Being Buddha: The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood

On Being Buddha: The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood

Excerpt

In this study I am concerned at the level of theory with the nature of doctrine and its uses by religious communities, as well as with the heuristic value of the concept 'doctrine' for cross-cultural studies in the philosophy of religion.

In chapter one I state a formal definition of doctrine; this definition is intended to serve my substantive and exegetical interest in Buddhist doctrine.More precisely, I am concerned to lay bare the structure and meaning of classical Indian Buddhist doctrine about Buddha, and to do so by applying to it the theoretical framework given in chapter one.My goal here is to show that this framework may profitably be used in a particular case, and so also to suggest by example that the category 'doctrine' may have significant heuristic and analytical value for the cross-cultural study of one important aspect of the lives of religious communities.

In chapter two I consider in what ways and to what extent the category 'doctrine' can be applied to the texts of Indian Buddhism, and make some suggestions as to those terms in the technical discourse of Indian Buddhists that cover some of the semantic ground embraced by the English word 'doctrine.'

In chapter three I offer an overview of the particular doctrinal discourse developed by Indian Buddhists that is the central focus of this book.This is a discourse concerned with the properties of Buddha, with those qualities that must, according to the tradition, be predicated of every Buddha.It is a discourse analogous in important ways to that which Christians call 'christology.' I shall, following David Snellgrove and to avoid confusion with 'buddhology' (which labels all discourse . . .

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