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Buddha: His Life, His Doctrine, His Order

Buddha: His Life, His Doctrine, His Order
Item Code: IDC112
Author: Hermann Oldenberg and William Hoey
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9788120814974
Pages: 462
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5" x 5.5"
weight of the book: 555 gms
About the Book
This is translation of a German work by Prof. Hermann Oldenburg. The original had attracted the attention of European scholars and the name of Oldenburg is a sufficient guarantee of the value of its contents. The distinguished author has in this work demolished the skeptical theory of a solar Buddha put forward by M. Senart. He has shifted the legendary elements of Buddhist tradition and has given the reliable residuum of facts concerning Buddha's life. He has gone to the roots of Buddhism in pre-Buddhist Brahmanism and has given to Ideologists the original authorities for his views of Buddhist doctrines in Excursus at the end of the work.

THE history of the Buddhist faith begins with a band of mendicant monks who gathered round the person of Gautama, the Buddha, in the country bordering on the Ganges, about five hundred years before the commencement of the Christian era. What bound them together and gave a stamp to their simple and earnest world of thought, was the deeply felt and clearly and sternly expressed consciousness, that all earthly existence is full of sorrow, and that the only deliverance from sorrow is in renunciation of the world and eternal rest. An itinerant teacher and his itinerant followers, not unlike those bands, who in later times bore through Galilee the tidings: "the kingdom of heaven is at hand," went through the realms of India with the burden of sorrow and death, and the announcement: "open you your ears; the deliverance from death is found."

Vast gaps separate the historical circle, in the middle of which stands the form of Buddha, from the world on which we are won’t next to fix our thoughts, when we speak of the history of the world.

Those upheavals of nature which partitioned off India from the cooler lands of the west and north by a gigantic wall of vast mountains, allotted at the same time to the people, who should first tread this highly favored land, a role of detached isolation. The Indian nation, in a manner scarcely paralleled by any other nation in the civilized world, has developed its life out of itself and according to its own laws, far removed alike from the alien and the cognate peoples, who in the west, within the compass of closer mutual relations, have per-formed the parts to which history called them. India took no share in this work. For those circles of the Indian race, among whom Buddha preached his doctrine, the idea of non-Indian lands had hardly a more concrete signification than the conception of those other worlds, which, scattered through infinite space, combine with other suns, other moons and other hells, to form other universes.

The day was yet to come, when an overpowering hand broke down the partition between India and the west--the hand of Alexander. But this contact of India and Greece belongs to a much later period than that which formed Buddhism: between the death of Buddha and Alexander's Indian expedition there elapsed perhaps about one hundred and sixty years. Who can conceive what might have been, if, at an earlier epoch, when the notional life of the Indians might have opened itself more freshly and genially to the influences of a foreign life, such events had overtaken it as this incursion of Macedonian weapons and Hellenic culture? For India Alexander came too late. When he appeared, the Indian people had long since come, in the depth of their loneliness, to stand alone among nations, ruled by forms of life and habits of thought, which differed wholly from the standards of the non-Indian world. Without a past living in their memory, without a present, which they might utilize in love and hate, without a future, for which men might hope and work, they dreamed morbid and proud dreams of that which is beyond all time, and of the peculiar government which is within these ever-lasting realms. On scarcely any of the creations of the exuberant culture of India, do we find the stamp of this Indian characteristic so sharply, and therefore, too, so enigmatically impressed, as on Buddhism.

But the more completely do all external bonds between these distant regions and the world with which we are acquainted, as far as they consist of the inter-course of nations and the interchange of their intellectual wealth, seem to us to be served, so much the more clearly do we perceive another tie, which holds closely together internally what are outwardly far apart and apparently foreign : the bona of historical analogy between phenomena, which are called into being in different places by the working of the same law.

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