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Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings Paperback – April 21, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195328172 ISBN-10: 0195328175 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195328175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195328172
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author


William Edelglass is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Marlboro College. Previously he taught at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala, India. His research focuses on Buddhist philosophy, environmental philosophy, and twentieth century continental philosophy.

Jay Garfield is Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple rofessor of Humanities at Yale-NUS College. His books include the translations of Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika: The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way (OUP, 1995); Tsong khapa's Ocean of Reasoning (OUP, 2002), and Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation (OUP, 2006).

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, not for beginners, is issued by Oxford University Press and directed more toward scholars of Western philosophy as an introduction than for Buddhist practitioners training in a particular formal order or sect; but I suggest that such students would much appreciate this book also, chiefly for breaking any attachments to notions of a superior approach or understanding from any Buddhist school of thought. History has the power to pull the rug under intellectual opinions and even interpretations of meditative insights. These chronological readings provide a perspective of doubt as given philosophies are challenged, modified, rejected, amalgamated, or superseded by others as the centuries follow and as Buddhism travels to new lands with their own indigenous traditions.

The book is organized into five sections each with editors' introductions: metaphysics and ontology; philosophy of language of hermeneutics; epistemiology; philosophy of mind and the person; and ethics. Each section in turn has an expert contributor who introduces a choice excerpt of a historic commentary or treatise. Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese schools are presented within each section, covering early classics to the rise of the modern Kyoto school, which introduces Western philosophical terminology and later contemporary scientific knowledge.

Some of the readings are very difficult, even with help of the introductions, but what becomes clear are the continuing metaphysical and ethical controversies within Buddhism, including origins and status of the feeling of self-hood, the scope of Buddha nature, mind and memory, and even the role and limits of gender. The introductions to sections and excerpts are in the main very good in explaining context and in summarizing key points.
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Format: Paperback
a useful anthology for those with a decent knowledge of buddhism and an interest in its philosophical discourse. lots of very heavy stuff from all major traditions, with introductions that put things in context without sounding like basic buddhism 101. the material, really, is pretty challenging stuff. the main understanding and impression i got after putting this book down was: "awesome! buddhism is even deeper, more profound and more complex than i thought, and crap, i STILL have so much to learn." a highly recommended read, though i wish this had maybe been expanded into multiple volumes for different traditions or topical areas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M-Stew on April 6, 2014
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This response to another, idiotic reviewer should suffice for a review.

"This is a seriously stupid review. First off, what do you even mean this book isn't 'unified in terms of topics'? Part I- 'Metaphysics and Ontology' (8 essays); Part II- 'Philosophy of Language and Hermeneutics' (6 essays); Part III- 'Epistemology' (8 essays); Part IV- 'Philosophy of Mind and the Person' (NO LESS THAN 9 ESSAYS); Part V- 'Ethics' (7 essays). Secondly, you have to look really hard to find any even casual comparison to any other religion in this book. This is not a book on comparative religion; this a a collection of essays which examines Buddhism from the viewpoint of some of main branches of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, plus Mind and Language), so your claim of 'slanted in terms of comparison' is not only badly and vaguely constructed but patently FALSE. Thanks to everyone like you for dumbing down objective reviews on Amazon."

I wrote this response because it was a 1-star review written by an ignoramus who quite possibly may not have actually read one word of this book. Anyway, this book is enormously helpful to those who have 1) a philosophy background, and 2) an intellectual curiosity about the connections between western philosophy and Buddhism. This is a fantastic and engaging book of essays and an enormous academic achievement.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gabriela Michaca Abrego on March 13, 2013
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It's a very interesting book. I'm a buddhist first reader so the vocabulary is hard to understand. But as a basic book is one of the best to start with.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dan on February 15, 2013
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The book is a collection of individual writers from various academic institutions. It is not unified in terms of topics, and is definitely slanted in terms of comparison with other religion...i.e. Christianity, for example.
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