The Buddha’s Teaching: A Buddhistic Analysis

Springer Singapore (2021)
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Abstract

This book approaches the Dhamma, the Buddha’s teaching, from a Buddhistic perspective, viewing various individual teachings presented in hundreds of early discourses of Pali canon, comprehending them under a single systemic thought of a single individual called the Buddha. It explicates the structure of this thought, going through various contextual teachings and teaching categories of the discourses, treating them as necessary parts of a liberating thought that constitutes the right view of one who embraces the Buddha’s teaching as his or her sole philosophy of life. It interprets the diverse individual dhammas as being in congruence with each other; and as contributory to forming the whole of the Buddha’s teaching, the Dhamma. By exploring some selected topics such as ignorance, configurations, not-self, and nibbāna in thirteen chapters, the book enables readers to understand the whole in relation to the parts, and the parts in relation to the whole, while realizing the importance of studying every single dhamma category or topic not for its own sake but for understand the entirety of the teaching. This way of viewing and explaining the teachings of the discourses enables readers to clearly comprehend the teaching of the Buddha in early Buddhism.

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Chapters

The Gradual Path

This chapter examines the progressive nature of the noble eightfold path leading to the cessation of suffering, by discussing its threefold classification: virtuous conduct, concentration, and wisdom; the precedence of right view; the mundane and supramundane levels of each factor of the path; the s... see more

Learning the Dhamma

This chapter explains the essentiality of right view and right thinking, for understanding the Buddha’s teaching; and introduces the types of immediate benefits that one possessing right view enjoys. Among the benefits, it highlights two important immediate benefits: the skill of meeting one’s death... see more

Sensory Experience

This chapter presents the Buddha’s analysis of a sensory experience into consciousness and name-and-matter, or into the five aggregates as a whole. In the process of this presentation, it rectifies some scholarly misconceptions regarding the interpretation of name-and-matter, and points out that nam... see more

Subjective Configurations

This chapter presents the Buddha’s concept of configurations and shows how the discourses use the term saṅkhārā in both general and specific senses. In its general sense it refers to either objective or subjective, or both types of configurations, that function as conditions for configuring a thing.... see more

The Ultimate Goal

This chapter discusses the ultimate goal nibbāna and the Arahat’s experience. It introduces the meanings, behind some of the key epithets and special terminologies and phrases regarding nibbāna. It arrives at the conclusion that these epithets and terms convey, that nibbāna is the Arahat’s experienc... see more

Ignorance of Ignorance

This chapter introduces the Buddha’s definition of ignorance as non-knowledge of the four noble truths, and discusses the necessity of initial trust in his teaching where the four noble truths are taught, if one were to eliminate ignorance. It also informs that it is only the Buddha’s teaching that ... see more

Introduction

This chapter introduces the basic meanings of the terms Dhamma and dhamma, and also the methodology adopted to understand the Dhamma, and the overall focus and chapter division in the book.

Craving for Self-Continuity

Introduces bhava and vibhava as two psychological categories useful for understanding the mundane person’s perception of self and the noble person’s perception of not-self. It interprets bhava as self-continuity, existence, and continuity of the present persona, “my self;” and vibhava as self-discon... see more

Conclusion

This chapter , the final concluding chapter, presents a summary of the key discussions in the book exhibiting how the parts, the individual dhamma categories examined in separate chapters in this book, come to form the whole, the Buddha’s Dhamma.

The Middle Theory

This chapter introduces the theory of dependent co-arising, and also presents an overview of India’s religious background at the time of the Buddha. It highlights how dependent co-arising, as the Buddha’s causal theory of conditionality, situates his teaching as the middle doctrine; while excluding ... see more

The Birth-Cycle

This chapter examines how the Buddha sees so-called rebirth and how he attempts to convey his position, through his use of such distinctive terminologies as punabbhava and jāti-saṃsāra . It explains that birth in his teaching refers to the birth of the persona, “I,” or “my self,” in a new life, with... see more

Three Sufferings

This chapter introduces birth, ageing, and death as three existential sufferings of the mundane person; and shows that Arahat is free from them as he takes neither the aggregates nor the senses to be “I” or “my self”. It explains that the mundane person suffers the three sufferings because of his cl... see more

Reckoned Suffering

This chapter introduces the Buddha’s concept of suffering, by way of delineating a twofold suffering: felt-suffering and reckoned-suffering. It claims that the Buddha defines suffering very differently from the way we normally understand it to be, and that the pessimistic outlook that some scholars ... see more

Craving for Sensuality

This chapter discusses the Buddha’s concept of sensuality in general and the craving for sensuality in particular; by examining the textual passages where the term sensuality is used either singly, or in such compounds as bond of sensuality, strands of sensuality, and clinging to sensuality. It poin... see more

Not-Self

This chapter examines the Buddha’s teaching of not-self, as presented in the discourses. In the course of this examination, it introduces the five aggregates, the things that the uninstructed mundane person takes as “this is mine,” “this am I,” or “this is my self;” and points out that these aggrega... see more

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