What the Buddha Thought

In What the Buddha Thought, Richard Gombrich argues that the Buddha was one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of all time. Intended to serve as an introduction to the Buddha’s thought, and hence even to Buddhism itself, the book also has larger aims: it argues that we can know far more about the Buddha than it is fashionable among scholars to admit, and that his thought has a greater coherence than is usually recognised.

Interpreters both ancient and modern have taken little account of the historical context of the Buddha’s teachings; but by relating them to early brahminical texts, and also to ancient Jainism, Richard Gombrich gives a much richer picture of the Buddha’s meaning, especially when his satire and irony are appreciated. Moreover, since many of the Buddha’s allusions can only be traced in the Pali versions of surviving texts, this book establishes the importance of the Pali Canon as evidence.

 

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