Buddhism: A Concise Introduction by Huston Smith, Philip Novak

By Huston Smith, Philip Novak

A concise and updated advisor to the background, teachings, and perform of Buddhism through luminaries within the box of worldwide religions.

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By Huston Smith, Philip Novak

A concise and updated advisor to the background, teachings, and perform of Buddhism through luminaries within the box of worldwide religions.

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1–16), when the Brahmin Uddālaka Āruṇi teaches his son Śvetaketu. Uddālaka uses analogies with natural phenomena to explain that the self is the essence of all living beings. He first uses the example of nectar, which is collected by bees from different sources, but becomes an undifferentiated whole when gathered together. Similarly, he explains that water flowing from different rivers merges without distinction when reaching the ocean. After each analogy Uddālaka brings attention back to Śvetaketu, emphasising that the self operates the same way in him as it does in all living beings: ‘The subtle essence here is what the self is of this whole world.

He is also the author of Denying Existence: The Logic, Epistemology and Pragmatics of Negative Existentials and Fictional Discourse (New York: Springer, 1997). Wolfgang Fasching, University of Vienna: his publications include Phänomenologische Reduktion und Mushin: Edmund Husserls Bewusstseinstheorie und der Zen-Buddhismus (Freiburg and Munich: Alber, 2003). Elisa Freschi, Sapienza University of Rome, is the author of Duty, Language and Exegesis in Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā: Including an Edition and Translation of Rāmānujācārya’s Tantrarahasya, Śāstraprameyapariccheda (Leiden: Brill 2012).

One of my aims in this chapter is to review some of the key ideas regarding these issues in the early sources as a way of providing a context for some of the subsequent philosophical debates about the self that are discussed in the other chapters of this book. In the process, however, I also want to bring attention to how the Upaniṣads and Nikāyas articulate their arguments and positions. Unlike most later sources of Indian philosophy, both the Upaniṣads and Nikāyas present their philosophical views within the context of narratives about teachers, students, and rival philosophers.

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