Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition Kindle Edition
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- Length: 336 pages
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is not for everyone. It is definitely not an introduction to Buddhism ¡V Williams assumes that the reader has a little bit of background. Nor is this for traditional Buddhists who like their myths intact. Williams takes a historical approach that leads him to poke holes in many common beliefs. I consider this a plus - it's intriguing to watch Williams demolishing so many tired stereotypes.
Unfortunately, this book has a major flaw. Williams may be quite knowledgeable about Indian Buddhism, but he isn¡¦t a very talented stylist. His prose is dull, and sometimes this lackluster writing makes it difficult to understand what he¡¦s getting at. This is a shame, because the content is so good. The pace picks up considerably toward the end; Anthony Tribe writes with much more vigor, and he gives an extremely lucid introduction to Indian Buddhist tantra. I fault the publisher ¡V Routledge should definitely have subjected this book to some major editing to punch up the dreary style.
Despite this drawback, I would still strongly recommend this book.Read more ›
Paul Williams is one of the finest writers on Buddhism and philosophy, and here he has written a wide-ranging book that -- while being devoted to doctrinal and practical and historical matters -- also touches on philosophy. The book is informed by his learning, and that of his co-author too (Tribe is responsible for just the one chapter.) I recommend it, and encourage readers to have a glance at Paul Williams' other books, and those of David Harvey as well.
Incidentally, the best short-and-sweet introduction to Buddhism must surely be Damien Keown's little book entitled Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. And should the reader want to move to the other extreme and tackle philosophically weightier, cutting-edge topics, he or she should pick up works by Jay Garfield or (especially) George Dreyfus.
I always appreciate illuminating passages, no matter what the sort of book I'm reading happens to be. I mean the sort that make you snatch out a pen and scribble something next to it, or underline a sentence or paragraph. There are quite a few in this book, particularly, I'd say, in the first two chapters, which make up 40% of the book's text proper.
Chapter one, entitled "The doctrinal position of the Buddha in context," offers an excellent starting point. Indeed, some things said here need to be remembered by everyone venturing into the world of Buddhism. Consider the following from pages 2-3:
"Buddhism is thus...concerned first and foremost with the mind, or, to be more precise, with mental transformation, for there are no experiences that are not in some sense reliant on the mind. This mental transformation is almost invariably held to depend upon, and to brought about finally by, oneself for there can also be no transformation of one's own mind without on some level one's own active involvement or participation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was so excited to purchase this book, but I find it unfortunately obtuse. Buddhist thought is a complex topic, but the authors make it even less penetrable with their rambling... Read morePublished on April 3, 2009 by Teacher S
This book was recommended to me by a very serious student of Buddhism who
had the largest collection of Buddhist books I have ever encountered. Read more
The reader should be aware of the fact that the author of this book was in the process of converting from Buddhism to Catholicism when he wrote it. Read morePublished on April 18, 2007 by Curtis Steinmetz
This is not a great book - pure and simple. The author is chaotic in his exposition of the subject and time after time tries to come up with his own reinterpretation of the key... Read morePublished on March 10, 2005 by Jo Everest
I've only read chapter seven of Williams' "Buddhist Thought," which was actually written by Anthony Tribe. Read morePublished on November 25, 2002 by Jeff Wilson
Williams trumps his masterful classic "Mahayana Buddhism" with an even better book. This is vastly superior to any previous effort (David Kalupahana, eat your heart... Read morePublished on June 4, 2002 by Brian C. Holly
Coming to see things the way they really are, is the path of Buddha Dharma, the Buddhist doctrine, that leads to enlightenment, as clarified by the author Paul Williams. Read morePublished on May 27, 2001 by Duodecimus