On Being Buddha: The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood

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SUNY Press, 1994 - Religion - 261 pages
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What is it like to be a Buddha? Is there only one Buddha or are there many? What can Buddhas do and what do they know? Is there anything they cannot do and cannot know? These and associated questions were much discussed by Buddhist thinkers in India, and a complex and subtle set of doctrinal positions was developed to deal with them. This is the first book in a western language to treat these doctrines about Buddha from a philosophical and thoroughly critical viewpoint.
The book shows that Buddhist thinkers were driven, when theorizing about Buddha, by a basic intuition that Buddha must be maximally perfect, and that pursuing the implications of this intuition led them into some conceptual dilemmas that show considerable similarity to some of those treated by western theists. The Indian Buddhist tradition of thought about these matters is presented here as thoroughly systematic, analytical, and doctrinal.
The book s analysis is based almost entirely upon original sources in their original languages. All extracts discussed are translated into English and the book is accessible to nonspecialists, while still treating material that has not been much discussed by western scholars."
 

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Contents

The Doctrinal Study of Doctrine
1
11 Primary Doctrines
6
12 Secondary Doctrines
12
122 Rules of Interpretation and Combination
20
13 The Doctrinal Uses of Primary Doctrines
21
14 Applying the Theory
23
Chapter 2 Buddhist Doctrine
27
22 The Authority of the Doctrinal Digests
33
44 Buddhas Perfections of Action in the World
101
441 Spontaneity and Effortlessness
103
442 Endlessness and Omnipresence
107
Buddhas Consumption of Food
110
45 Buddhas Perfections of Cognition in the World
115
451 Omnilinguality
116
452 Awareness of What Is Possible and What Is Impossible
118
46 One Body of Magical Transformation at a Time? A Controversy
119

23 The Content and SubjectMatter of the Doctrinal Digests
41
24 The Goals of the Doctrinal Digests
43
25 Theories of Doctrine in the Doctrinal Digests
46
252 Rules of Interpretation
51
Buddhalogical Doctrine
57
31 Buddhalogy and Maximal Greatness
58
32 Titles and Epithets of Buddha
60
33 Properties of Buddha
66
34 Analytical and Organizational Schemata
75
35 Metaphysical Embeddedness and Systematic Location
82
Buddha in the World
87
42 Bodies of Magical Transformation
90
43 Buddhas Perfections of Appearance in the World
97
Buddha in Heaven
127
51 Ornamenting Heaven
128
52 Bodies of Communal Enjoyment
134
Buddha in Eternity
147
61 Epistemic Predicates
151
612 Buddhas A wareness
153
62 Metaphysical Predicates
173
Doctrinal Criticism
181
Notes
203
Glossary
229
Bibliography
233
Index
253
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Paul J. Griffiths is Associate Professor in the Divinity School and in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He has previously published books on Buddhist philosophy (On Being Mindless and The Realm of Awakening) and on cross-cultural philosophy and theology (An Apology for Apologetics).

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