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Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations Paperback – September 30, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0195134834 ISBN-10: 0195134834

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195134834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195134834
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Ray's work has major implications for the understanding of Indian Buddhist history from its origins through the development of Mahayana and helps to make sense of later Buddhist developments, beyond the scope of his subject."--Choice

"Buddhist Saints in India is an extraordinarily impressive contribution to the study of Buddhism. The breadth of the research it embodies, its wealth of detail, and the rigor with which the argument is developed and sustained throughout distinguish it as the product of many years of careful scholarship....Ray's abundant offering should be considered essential reading for all who are interested in Buddhism and the religious traditions of India, as well as the study of the saints in the world's religions."--The Journal of Religion

"Ray's substantial work surveys an extensive body of primary and secondary sources with an eye toward a fundamental revision of common views about the sociology of the early Buddhist tradition."--History of Religions

"...I think that this is a very significant book that should awaken some important scholarly interest and produce further study in this area."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion

About the Author

Reginald A. Ray is at University of Colorado, Boulder.

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Clarke Fountain on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
In the nineteenth century, many Western scholars began to study Buddhism, its texts and sources. For the most part, their orientation was either Protestant or materialist, and they weighed in heavily on the side of the Pali canon and what they perceived as "original, authentic" Buddhism. The teachings of the Buddhists of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Tibet were labeled as made-up, inventions, or even "corrupt." Witness the title of a book by the Protestant divine, Waddell: "Lamaism in Tibet." The claims made by the Mahayana streams of Buddhism about their origin have largely been dismissed in scholarly circles - until now. Dr. Ray closely examines the case for the authenticity of the Mahayana and Sanskrit Buddhist teachings, and presents some persuasive Western scholarly support for the claims made by Mahayana believers that their way is also a teaching that comes directly from Shakyamuni Buddha.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Godfrey on April 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ray sets out to accomplish two tasks in this book. The first is to draw more attention to the individuals of early Buddhism as he feels they have fallen into the background of modern Buddhology. This "scholastic repression" occurs due to the methodological bias of the popular focus on doctrine, historical contextualization, comparative work and the like. The second task is to demonstrate how a study of saints can reveal how early Buddhism developed from a forest-based tradition to a monastic-based one.

His first contention, that Buddhist saints are under-researched points of evidence strikes me as adding a significant amount of balance to more theoretical approaches. I find it self-evident that Ray is wont to work with data, and remarkable amounts of it at that, rather than work with theories. But the two are intimately related as theories are meaningless without data and data is meaningless without a theory to tie it all together. Ray uses a psychological metaphor of "repression" to explain the lack of popularity of his method, but I will offer a more suiting one. I'll choose Gestalt psychology's foreground and background dichotomy. If his field is "repressed," it has been repressed into the background, which is to say it hasn't really gone anywhere. Through following his research, I find that a more balanced and holistic perspective comes together, which has enriched my understanding of the subject.

Ray's second contention is to demonstrate how various points of data shifted values when the Buddhist community shifted from its forest dwelling roots to organized monastic living. Amongst other things, he examines the necessity of organization and rules in light of the irreplaceability of the Buddha's charismatic authority.
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