New Introduction to The Ātman-Brahman in Ancient Buddhism

By David Reigle on August 17, 2015 at 10:55 pm

A corrected reprint of Kamaleswar Bhattacharya’s book, The Ātman-Brahman in Ancient Buddhism, has now been issued with a new introduction. The new introduction, written by myself, has been posted separately at Academia.edu: https://www.academia.edu/14990642/New_Introduction_to_Atman-Brahman_in_Ancient_Buddhism. It begins:

The most serious objection to Kamaleswar Bhattacharya’s thesis that the Buddha did not deny the universal ātman may be put in the form of this question: Why, then, did Buddhists down through the ages think he did? Reply: Actually, they did not think this, as far as we can tell from their writings that refute the ātman and teach the anātman or no-self doctrine. The idea of the ātman as the impersonal universal ātman did not become dominant in India until some time after the eighth century C.E. Before then, throughout the Buddhist period, the dominant idea of the ātman in India was that of a permanent personal ātman. Judging from their writings, the Indian Buddhist teachers from Nāgārjuna to Āryadeva to Asaṅga to Vasubandhu to Bhavya to Candrakīrti to Dharmakīrti to Śāntarakṣita thought that the Buddha’s anātman teaching was directed against a permanent personal ātman.

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