Study Guide

The World's Religions - Chapter III, Buddhism, Basic Buddhist Concepts, Summary & Analysis

Huston Smith
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The World's Religions.
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Chapter III, Buddhism, Basic Buddhist Concepts, Summary and Analysis

Getting a total outlook on the Buddha's concepts is difficult because he wrote nothing during his lifetime, although he taught for forty-five years. There is a gap of almost a century and a half between his actual teaching and the first transcriptions of his words. There appears to be some partisan slant to many of the writings, even to the point of minimizing the Buddha's break with Brahmanic Hinduism. Added to that, the Buddha's own silence by shunning even the appearance of philosophy leaves other voids in our present day understanding of the man and his teaching. For example, when asked about the nature of nirvana, the Buddha turned the question around and asked about the wind. The idea is that some things defy description. Because nirvana excludes description, the Buddha...

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