Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations

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Routledge, Jul 11, 2008 - Religion - 456 pages

Originating in India, Mahayana Buddhism spread across Asia, becoming the prevalent form of Buddhism in Tibet and East Asia. Over the last twenty-five years Western interest in Mahayana has increased considerably, reflected both in the quantity of scholarly material produced and in the attraction of Westerners towards Tibetan Buddhism and Zen.

Paul Williams’ Mahayana Buddhism is widely regarded as the standard introduction to the field, used internationally for teaching and research and has been translated into several European and Asian languages. This new edition has been fully revised throughout in the light of the wealth of new studies and focuses on the religion’s diversity and richness. It includes much more material on China and Japan, with appropriate reference to Nepal, and for students who wish to carry their study further there is a much-expanded bibliography and extensive footnotes and cross-referencing. Everyone studying this important tradition will find Williams’ book the ideal companion to their studies.


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My goal was to get a general overview of Mahayana Buddhism, and at first I thought this book was not for me. In fact there are several aspects to the book that I found disturbing: 1. The author, Paul ... Read full review


1 Introduction
2 The Perfection of Wisdom Prajnaparamita Sutras
3 Madhyamika
4 Yogacara
5 The Tathagatagarbha
6 Huayan the Flower Garland tradition
7 The Saddharmapundarika Lotus Sutra and its influences
8 On the bodies of the Buddha
9 The path of the Bodhisattva
the cults of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Index of names
Index of subjects

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About the author (2008)

Paul Williams is Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy and Co-director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. The author of six books and an editor of a further eight, he is a former President of the UK Association for Buddhist Studies. Among his other books for Routledge is Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition (2000).

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