Awakening : An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought book cover
7th Edition

An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought

ISBN 9781032122007
Published December 28, 2021 by Routledge
568 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought provides the reader with a thorough and valuable overview of the historical development of the major Eastern religious and philosophical traditions, primarily in India, China, and Japan. The book is written in an engaging style that contains a variety of anecdotes, analogies, definitions, and supporting quotes from primary and secondary sources. Awakening helps the reader to recognize the interrelationships that exist among the various traditions, to appreciate the relevance of these traditions to the concerns of modern times, and to understand the major issues of interpretation regarding these traditions. The primary focus of Awakening is Hinduism and Buddhism, and they serve as the broad umbrellas that include a number of specific schools, each of which is treated individually. Other schools–such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto–are included at the appropriate place.

Awakening is for all students and interested readers, whether new to the study of Eastern thought or not.

New to the Seventh Edition:
- A new Introduction
- A clearer definition and explanation of "Yoga" (throughout Part 1)
- A rewrite of the Aryan Migration section in Chapter 1, bringing it in line with current research
- An added sub-chapter to Chapter 6, dealing with Kundalini Yoga
- Further clarification of the meaning of Anatman in Chapter 10
- Emphasis on the contribution of Daoism to Chan Buddhism
- Clearer presentation of the Life of Buddha (Legend vs. Reality)
- Updated Study Questions
- Two new videos added to the companion website

Key Features:
An historical overview that attempts to show the development of Eastern philosophies, both within the individual traditions as well as within a broad but loosely unified system of thought
- Abundantly uses stories in chapter overviews to engage student readers and to better explain Eastern thought
- No background in Asian studies, philosophy, or religious studies is presumed, allowing any student to greatly benefit from reading this book
- A functional, visually attractive web site with author-produced videos on the content of the book, scores of pictures, and a comprehensive section on meditation

Table of Contents

Introduction to seventh edition

Part I: Hinduism and Related Traditions of South Asia

1. India Before the Vedas
The Lay of the Land
South Asia Before the Vedic Age
The Aryan Migrations
Varna: The Caste System
The Brahmin Caste
Questions for Discussion

2.Veda and the Vedas
Yajna: The Vedic Sacrifice
The Vedic Pantheon
In the Beginning
Principal Gods of the Vedic Pantheon
An Overview of Vedic Cosmology
Questions for Discussion

3. Introduction to the Upanishads
Key Elements of the Upanishads
An Overview of Vedanta Cosmology
Questions for Discussion

4. The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata
The Opening Scene
The Bhagavad Gita as Metaphor
The Awakened Person
Karma Yoga
Raja Yoga
Bhakti Yoga
Questions for Discussion

5. Ashtanga Yoga
The General Nature of Yoga
The "Eight Limbs" of Ashtanga Yoga
Questions for Discussion

6. Darshana
The Orthodox Darshanas
The Heterodox Darshanas
Questions for Discussion

7. The Devotional Movement
The Trimurti
The Hindu Temple
Questions for Discussion

8. A Millennium of Strife
The Muslim Era
The Modern Era
Questions for Discussion

Part II: Shakyamuni Buddha and the Early Development of Buddhism

9. The Life Story of Shakyamuni Buddha
The Palace Youth
The Sadhu Years
The Awakening
The Teaching Years
Questions for Discussion

10. Basic Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha
The Doctrine of Anatman
The Four Noble Truths
The Noble Eightfold Path
Questions for Discussion

11. Theravada Buddhism
The Early Centuries
Theravada Buddhism
Questions for Discussion

12. Mahayana Buddhism
Diversity and Religious Elements in Mahayana
The Nature of Buddha
The Bodhisattva
Artistic Expression in Early Mahayana
Questions for Discussion

Part III: Non-Buddhist Traditions of East Asia

13. Confucius and Confucianism
Other Voices from the Period of a Hundred Philosophers
Later Developments in the Evolution of Confucianism
Questions for Discussion

14. Daoism
Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching)
Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tzu)
Religious Daoism
Questions for Discussion

15. Shinto
The Shinto Creation Story
The Shinto Shrine and Festival
Historical Development of Shinto
Questions for Discussion

Part IV: Buddhism in China and Japan

16. Early Buddhism in China
Buddhism in the Tarim Basin
Tiantai Buddhism
Huayan Buddhism (Hua-Yen)
Pure Land Buddhism
Persecution and Recovery
Questions for Discussion

17. Tibetan Buddhism
The Establishment of Buddhism in Tibet
The General Character of Buddhism in Tibet
A Historical Overview of Buddhism in Tibet
Questions for Discussion

18. Chan Buddhism
After Huineng
Questions for Discussion

19. Zen Buddhism
Japan Before Zen
Rinzai and Soto Zen
The Zen Monastery
Zen and the Arts
Questions for Discussion

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Patrick S. Bresnan is a retired professor of history and philosophy at De Anza College, Cupertino, California, where he created a four-quarter course, Introduction to Eastern Philosophy, dealing with the historical development of the major philosophical traditions of Asian countries. That, plus extensive travel and study in Asia, resulted in the production of the college-level text Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought.


Praise for the Sixth Edition:

"The high praises attached to Awakening should not come as a surprise. This is the sixth edition of Awakening, and Bresnan has made significant changes in each edition—clarifying his presentations, honing the questions, and adding new elements. . . . [It] is truly a testament to a great educator who is well-versed in a wide range of Eastern traditions and philosophies."
 Paul J. D’Ambrosio in Teaching Philosophy