Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"The Bodhisattva Ideal"

Dhr. Seven and CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Buddhist Publication Society (
Buddhist devotion of the Hindu-influenced Mahayana movement (Kazempson/flickr)
The Bodhisattva Ideal: Essays on the Emergence of Mahayana brings together six essays listed below on the origin and history of the bodhisattva ideal and the emergence of the Mahāyana.

[A  bodhisattva is an "enlightenment being" or a "being bent on gaining supreme enlightenment," that is, buddhahood. And Mahayana is the "Great Vehicle" school, sometimes also referred to as Northern Buddhism].
The essays approach the subject from different perspectives -- scholarly examinations of the terms in the Nikayas and Agamas (ancient collections of sacred Buddhist texts) to the relationship of the bodhisattva ideal and the arhat ideal (personal enlightenment).

This division is explored within the broader context of the social environment in which Mahayana formed and further developments that lead to the formulation of the full-fledged bodhisattva path.

As such, this collection of essays provides a good overview for a wider Buddhist readership of the history of changes that eventually led to the emergence of the Mahayana.

Mahayana Buddhist images Buddha, Kwan Yin, arhats (Pauloslachevsky/flickr)

  1. “Arahants, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas” (famed American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi)
  2. “The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravāda Theory and Practice” (Jeffrey Samuels)
  3. “Bodhi and Arahattaphala From Early Buddhism to Early Mahāyāna” (Karel Werner)
  4. “Vaidalya, Mahāyāna, and Bodhisatva in India: An Essay Towards Historical Understanding” (Peter Skilling)
  5. “The Evolution of the Bodhisattva concept in Early Buddhist Canonical Literature” (Bhikkhu Anālayo)
  6. “Orality, writing and authority in South Asian Buddhism: Visionary Literature and the Struggle for Legitimacy in the Mahāyāna” (David McMahan)

  • Available from Buddhist Publication Society
  • $5.50 (US), 275 (Rs) Sri Lankan rupees
  • Tel: +94 81 2237283
    Fax: +94 81 2223679
    Buddhist Publication Society
    P.O. Box 61, 54 Sangharaja Mawatha
    Kandy, Sri Lanka

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