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Early Buddhist Metaphysics: The Making of a Philosophical Tradition (Routledgecurzon Critical Studies in Bud) Paperback – February 11, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0415600019 ISBN-10: 0415600014 Edition: Reissue

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledgecurzon Critical Studies in Bud
  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reissue edition (February 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415600014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415600019
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,725,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'The author often uses methods of comparative philosophy of religion and draws on later Buddhist systems of philosophy, non-Buddhist Indian sources and also on achievements of western philosophical inquiries and Buddhological scholarship.]...[ the references...are always well chosen and are good pointers for reflection and stimulants for further research.'- Karel Werner, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London,Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

About the Author

Noa Ronkin received her PhD from the University of Oxford. She is currently Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University. Her research interests include a range of issues associated with Indian Theravada Buddhist philosophy and psychology, the Abhidhamma tradition and comparative Indian philosophy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Hermit on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My fingers tremble over the keyboard at the prospect of reviewing this amazingly sophisticated book, but there come times when somebody has to say something! My five star rating is intended only for those who are so seriously disturbed as to pay the high price for this book, and then undertake reading the densely written essays concerning the minute and numerous points of evolving Buddhist thought. The subject matter is necessarily elusive and difficult, and despite Ronkin's fine essay skills, I could handle only about ten pages per day.

At issue here are the great inconsistencies of principles that developed from the Early Buddhism of the Suttas into the highly scholasticized Abhidhamma literature. If this obscure topic interests you, I suggest you use Amazon's book search facility to explore the last chapter, "Concluding Reflections", which is a jaw dropper to ye true believers. To come to the point, those who made religion and philosophy out of the Buddha's teachings managed to reinstall revised versions of the Brahmanic essentialism and substantialism that the Buddha spent his life trying to overturn. That is the bottom line, but Ronkin traces these developments in such well reasoned detail as to provoke in the reader both amazement and agony. Her concluding idea is that principles that are valid in one philosophical category (such as epitomology) get dragged into other categories (such as ontology) where they do not belong. It is like realizing that some Biblebanger has gotten hold of The Constitution of the US and written his own stuff in to it. (My analogy, not Ronkin's, as her writing style for this book is very succinct and formal. You have to read carefully, because she won't tell you anything twice.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful By VeritasluxMea on October 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Foremost, there is utterly nothing "early" about Abhidhamma which didnt exist until the 3rd century C.E., to which "early buddhism (brahmayana Sn 5.4)" is nearly 700 years to the prior. This books content is about Theravada (sarvastivada) Abhidhammism, and nowhere within discusses in actuality "early buddhism", for such books refer to the Nikayas, or in commentary "Origins of Buddhism" by GC Pande, or Nakamuras books on same. It is without saying, mind-blowing, that any book would presume to talk about "early buddhism" and be based entirely upon sectarian 700-years-later commentarialist dogma unrelated to the soul-affirming "doctrine of the buddha" (buddhasasana). I would rate this book a negative 4, but Amazon doesnt allow such ratings.

The author completely fails to either explain much less grasp the descent (tolma, kathodos) metaphysics as embodied in the paticcasamuppada ontology which begins with the attribute of the Absolute, ie avijja/avidya; which means not ignorance, but only in the existential narative of empirical being, however in the context of buddhist metaphysics as relates to paticcasamuppada, refers rather to the Absolute in extrinsic nature 'towards other'; or the principle of all Monism and Emanationism. The author here not only misses this in the extreme, but posits something entirely different and worse still, the authors conjectures are based in commentaries of the theravadins, rather than doctrine of the Nikayas which is by definition "early buddhism".
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