Journals Higher Education

$29.95

Hardcover

15 October 2009

272 Pages

6 1/8 X 9 1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195385823


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Rediscovering the Buddha

The Legends and Their Interpretations

Hans H Penner

Hans Penner takes a new look at the classic stories of the life of the Buddha. He takes issue with Max Weber's assertion that "Buddhism is an other-worldly ascetic religion," a point of view that remains dominant in the received tradition and in most contemporary studies of Buddhism. His central thesis is that the "householder" is a necessary element in Buddhism and that the giving of gifts, which creates merit and presupposes the doctrine of karma, mediates the relation between the householder and the monk. Penner argues that the omission of the householder - in his view one-half of what constitutes Buddhism as a religion - is fatal for any understanding of Buddha's life or of the Buddhist tradition. This boldly revisionist and deeply learned work will be of interest to a wide range of scholarly and lay readers.

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Arts & Humanities > Religion > Buddhism