Philosophy of the Buddha is a philosophical introduction to the teaching of the Buddha. It carefully guides readers through the basic ideas and practices of the Buddha, including kamma (karma), rebirth, the not-self doctrine, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, ethics, meditation, non-attachment, and Nibbâna (Nirvana).
The book includes an account of the life of the Buddha as well as comparisons of his teaching with practical and theoretical aspects of some Western philosophical outlooks, both ancient and modern. Most distinctively, Philosophy of the Buddha explores how Buddhist enlightenment could enable us to overcome suffering in our lives and reach our full potential for compassion and tranquillity.
This is one of the first books to introduce the philosophy of the Buddha to students of Western philosophy. Christopher W. Gowans' style is exceptionally clear and appropriate for anyone looking for a comprehensive introduction to this growing area of interest.
Table of Contents
1. Observing the Stream 2. The Life of the Buddha 3. The Teaching in Brief 4. Practical Dimensions of the Teaching 5. Theoretical Dimensions of the Teaching 6. An Interpretation of the Not-Self Doctrine 7. The Rationale for Thinking There are No Substance-Selves 8. Some Philosophical Issues: Are We Substance-Selves or Process-Selves? 9. Kamma, Rebirth and the Not-Self Doctrine 10. The Nature and Extent of Suffering 11. The Origin of Suffering 12. The Cessation of Suffering: Nibbana-in-Life 13. The Cessation of Suffering: Nibbana-after-Death 14. The Eightfold Path: Wisdom 15. The Eightfold Path: Virtue 16. The Eightfold Path: Concentration 17. A Message of Hope: The Buddha's Invitation to Live Selflessly
Christopher W. Gowans is professor of philosophy at Fordham University, USA. He is editor of Moral Disagreements (Routledge 2000), Moral Dilemmas (Oxford University Press 1987) and the author of Innocence Lost: An Examination of Inescapable Wrongdoing (Oxford University Press 1994).