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Buddhism, the First Millennium

Buddhism, the First Millennium
Pub. Year

2009

Publisher

Middleway Press

ISBN

978-0-9779245-3-0

  Buddhism, the First Millennium (Kodansha International, 1977)

The history of Buddhism during the centuries following the death of its founder, Shakyamuni, is as fascinating and important as it is problematic. Little documentary evidence remains, but it was in this period that the religion split into its two major branches, the Maha sanghika and the Theravada, and spread beyond India to Central Asia and China in the north and Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia to the south.

In Buddhism, the First Millennium, the author pieces together the fabric of events from the distant past with insightful conjecture to bring to the surface the basic pattern of how and why Buddhism came to be a major world religion—spreading into Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan—helped along by exceptional rulers like the Indian king Ashoka and the Greek philosopher-king Menander, and monks and lay believers like Vimalakirti, Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu.

Ikeda, a leading Buddhist thinker and founder of the world’s most diverse and engaged lay Buddhist movement, shows the relevance of the teaching and spirit of the Buddha, not only to Indian society as it was then, but to the world and humankind as they are now.

Buddhism, the First Millennium is also available in Japanese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portugese, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Danish, Vietnamese and Indonesian.


CONTENTS

Editor’s Note
Preface
Translator’s Note

  1. THE FORMATION OF THE BUDDHIST CANON
  2. The First Council
    The Recitation of the Words of the Buddha
    The Teachings of Great Religious Leaders

  3. THE THERAVADA AND THE MAHASANGHIKA
  4. The Background of the Second Council
    The Origins of the Schism
    The Movement to Restore the Original Meaning of Buddhism

  5. KING ASHOKA
  6. The King of Monarchs
    Absolute Pacifism in Government
    Relations Between the State and Religion

  7. QUESTIONS OF KING MILINDA
  8. A Greek Philosopher-King
    The Wisdom of Nagasena
    The Debate of Wise Men and of Kings

  9. CULTURAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
  10. The Turning Point in East-West Relations
    Buddhism and Christianity
    The Conditions for a World Religion

  11. THE RISE OF MAHAYANA BUDDHISM
  12. Origins of the Mahayana Movement
    Differences Between the Mahayana and Hinayana Schools
    The Buddhist Renaissance

  13. VIMALAKIRTI AND THE IDEAL OF THE LAY BELIEVER
  14. Vimalakirti
    The Building of a Buddha Land
    How the Bodhisattva Benefits Others
    The Doctrine of the Mysterious

  15. THE FORMATION OF THE LOTUS SUTRA
  16. The Preaching of the Dharma on Eagle Peak
    The Voice-hearer Disciple and the Mahayana Bodhisattva
    The Spread of Buddhism After Shakyamuni's Death

  17. THE SPIRIT OF THE LOTUS SUTRA
  18. Practitioners of the Lotus Sutra
    The Spirit of the Mahayana Buddhists
    The Concept of the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra

  19. NAGARJUNA AND VASUBANDHU
  20. Nagarjuna's Search for the Mahayana
    The Theories of the Middle Way and Non-Substantiality
    The Path of Asanga and Vasubandhu
    The Dharma Analysis Treasury and Consciousness-Only Treatises

Glossary
Index



REVIEWS

“It is not always easy for a Western mind to understand the true meaning and grasp the subtleties and nuances of Buddhist thinking…I discovered that Mr. Ikeda was opening up new vistas of the totality of things which enriched my outlook.”

Aurelio Peccei, Club of Rome co-founder


“A clear and accurate introduction to developments in Buddhism after the death of its founder…Highly recommended for inclusion in academic collections as an articulate, modern statement of the Mahayanist viewpoint.”

Choice


“This book provides a general overview of the first thousand years of one of the world’s largest and most influential religions…and clearly defines the original ideas underlying Buddhism.”

Los Angeles Times