Text, History, and Philosophy. Abhidharma Across Buddhist Scholastic Traditions discusses Abhidhamma / Abhidharma as a specific exegetical method. In the first part of the volume, the development of the Buddhist argumentative technique is discussed. The second part investigates the importance of the Buddhist rational tradition for the development of Buddhist philosophy. The third part focuses on some peculiar doctrinal issues that resulted from rational Abhidharmic reflections. In this way, an outline of the development of the Abhidharma genre and of Abhidharmic notions and concepts in India, Central Asia, China, and Tibet from the life time of the historical Buddha to the tenth century CE is given.
Contributors are: Johannes Bronkhorst, Lance S. Cousins, Bart Dessein, Tamara Ditrich, Bhikkhu Kuala Lumpur Dhammajoti, Dylan Esler, Eric Greene, Goran Kardaš, Jowita Kramer, Chen-kuo Lin, Andrea Schlosser, Ingo Strauch, Weijen Teng and Yao-ming Tsai.
Bart Dessein, Ph.D. (1994) is Full Professor at the Department of Chinese Language and Culture of Ghent University, and member of the Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies. He has mainly published on Sarvāstivāda and Mahāsāṃghika history and philosophy.
Weijen Teng, Ph.D. (2011) Harvard University, is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts. His research interests are Chinese Buddhist intellectual history, Sanskrit grammar study in Medieval China and Abhidharma.
‘In my own evaluation, the most important aspect of this collection is that it addresses an absolutely central issue about the study of Buddhist rational inquiry. The collection examines Buddhist rational inquiry as such, rather than in a context in which the concerns, categories, and concepts of Euro-American philosophy (or psychology) are uncritically assumed as a universal structure into which Buddhist thought is expected to fit. Only since about the beginning of the twenty-first century (a symbolic marker rather than an exact historical one) has the study of Buddhist thought, or as Dessein says “Buddhist ‘philosophy’” (2) begun to move out of the colonialist mode of viewing Buddhist thought as a resource for pre-existing conversations in Euro-American philosophy. More directly relevant to scholars of religious studies, the same dynamic applies to the treatment of Buddhism as a “religion.”‘
Richard K. Payne, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley,
Reading Religion, February 2018.
This work is of interest for institutes and academic libraries specializing in the history of Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist textual history, and for all who are interested in comparative philosophy.