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The Life Of Buddha As Legend And History Paperback – May 15, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1428600812 ISBN-10: 1428600817

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (May 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1428600817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1428600812
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,267,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Edward J. Thomas (also published under E. J. Thomas 1869-1958) was a Briton who lived as a scholar and librarian in India, where he pursued what were at the time cutting edge researches into the roots of Buddhist thought and history. His other noted work in this field--still showing up in bibliographies on account of its lucidity and comprehensiveness--is The History of Buddhist Thought. A review of that one from yours truly is in the offing, sometime down the road. The present work--undeservedly--has unfortunately fallen into obscurity. I am its first reviewer on Amazon, and at present it's not even available through Amazon's US site. I recommend Amazon's UK website or Pariyatti for a copy. Anyway...on to my review.

The book was first published in 1927; the third edition (the one presently available) was revised through 1948. As a work of scholarship it is definitely dated, and yet the extraordinarily wide range of its author's knowledge is on display on every page. At the time it was undoubtedly the best the field had to offer. Moreover, it is--as far as I am aware--still the most complete scholarly attempt to fit together the facts of the Buddha's life and ministry. This in itself is an amazing (and depressing) fact, but also speaks volumes for the author's ambitions. Whatever faults the text may possess, they aren't there for a lack of effort on Mr. Thomas' part.

He begins the book before the Buddha's birth, looking at the origins and ancestry of the Sakyan clan. This is quite interesting material, for it sheds light on what kind of environment, both cultural and familial, the Bodhisatta grew up in. Thomas draws on a wide range of materials from different canons (Pali, Mahayana and Tibetan) and non-canonical sources.
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