The Origin of Buddhist Meditation: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Origin of Buddhist Meditation

1st Edition

By Alexander Wynne


172 pages

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Having identified early material that goes back to the Buddha himself, the author argues that the two teachers of the Buddha were historical figures. Based on the early Brahminic literature, namely the early Upanishads and Moksadharma, the author asserts the origin of the method of meditation learned by the Buddha from these teachers, and attempts to use them to identify some authentic teachings of the Buddha on meditation.

Stimulating debate within the field of Buddhist Studies, the following claims are put forward:

  • the Buddha was taught by Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, as stated in the literature of numerous early Buddhist sects, is historically authentic
  • Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta taught a form of early Brahminic meditation
  • the Buddha must consequently have been trained in a meditative school whose ideology was provided by the philosophical portions of early Upanishads

Shedding new light on a fascinating aspect of the origins of Buddhism, this book will be of interest to academics in the field of Buddhist studies, Asian religion and South Asian studies.


'[A] well-argued and well-researched scholarship that takes us through the many byways of early Buddhism… [A] thoroughly enjoyable read.' - Roger Bantock, The Middle Way, Vol 82, No 2, August 2007

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta 3. Formless Meditation and Early Brahminism 4. The Philosophy of Early Brahminic Yoga 5. Meditation in the Parayanavagga 6. Conclusion: The Origin of Buddhist Meditation and Early Buddhism

About the Author

Alexander Wynne is a translator for the Clay Sanskrit Library. He was awarded a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford in 2003 and was a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford, from 2002--2006.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism - Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies

These titles are published in association with the Centre for Buddhist Studies, Oxford, UK.

Founding Editors: Charles S. Prebish, Utah State University, USA and Damien Keown, Goldsmith's College, London University, UK.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
RELIGION / Buddhism / History
RELIGION / Buddhism / Rituals & Practice
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General