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बौद्ध-दर्शन-मीमांसा: Buddhist Philosophy

Foreword
Numerous works have been written in the west as well as in India 3n the different phases of Buddhist religion and thought and attempts at a systematic presentation of some of the main philosophical teachings of the more popular schools have also been made from time to time. But a complete history of Buddhist Philosophy, based on the original Pali and Sanskrit Texts and their learned commentaries by Indian and trans Indian scholars of the times and also 011 the fragments which are available as Mrvapakshas in various Sanskrit works of the Hindus and Jains, is still a great desideratum. The chapters on Buddhist philosophy in the several standard works on Indian Philosophy are necessarily brief, being confined to the essentials; and a thorough and critical work on the entire Buddhist philosophy, more or less on the lines of Prof. Stcherbatski's Buddhist Logic., has not yet papered in any language.

In these circumstances, therefore, the step which the author o e present monograph has taken in summing up the results of t judies of--modern scholars in the field of Buddhist philosophic-religious thought and presenting theist-in a popular form in the vernacular may be regarded in some quarters as a bold one. Bold it certainly is, but it is a highly welcome attempt and represents a step in the right direction. In fact the author has succeeded in bringing out, as a result of his studies through long years, an excellent readable work on the subject, the like of which does not perhaps exist in Hindi or in any other vernacular literature of India. The book does indeed claim to be original. A glance through its page s would convince the reader of the critical acumen and powers of discretion with which the raw materials of scattered and disjointed researches of individual scholars working in different ages and with different mental predilections have been reduced to a system and invested with a meaning. There is no doubt that some of the chapters, especially those on Sunyavada and Buddhist Tantras, may be regarded as fresh contributions in a sense, in the form in which they are presented to the readers, to a knowledge of the subject derived from any of the Indian Vernaculars.

The work is divided into five parts dealing respectively with the essentials of ancient Buddhism, with the evolution of Dharma, with the philosophical schools, with Logic and Mysticism and with the propagation of Buddhism in foreign countries. It seems to me that a separate section devoted to a consideration of the influence of the currents of early and contemporary Indian philosophy on the origin and development of Buddhist Thought and of the manner in which Hindu and Jain schools of thought reacted to the growing development of philosophical ideas of the Buddhists should have been added. It is well known that works on Vedanta, Nyaya, Vaishesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Minions, Saiva Agama and Jainism contain not only nom1 references to specific Buddhist views about also actual quotations of passages from original-Buddhist• texts and summaries of argument if support of those views. In the present state of our imperfect knowledge, it may not be possible to trace all those quotations to the sources and to verify each of these views. But assuming their general correctness we have to base on them, on the actual texts accessible to us, a working knowledge of the system as a whole. No history of Buddhist Philosophy would thus be complete without a consideration of these views in their proper setting.

The first part of the book contains in seven chapters a short account of the Buddhist religious thought in its earliest states. It is a review of Indian society and religion in the days of the Buddha and of the moral and religious teachings of the teacher. A list of the canonical literature of early Buddhism, presented in the Pali Tripitaka and a discourse on the four noble Truths, revealed to the Buddha, together with his philosophical speculations have also been added. The theory of Natural causation and the Buddha’s views on Matter Soul and Rebirth has been expounded. In connection with the Four Truths there appears a short analysis of the eight-fold path said to have been discovered by the Buddha. This eight-fold path is actually one path, known as the Middle Path, the path which avoids the extremes.

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