Recommended books for those who want to know more about Indian Buddhism - From introductory to specialized books, here are some of the best books I would highly recommend.

Indian Buddhist site Buddhism in India

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Recommended books for those who want to know more about Indian Buddhism - From introductory to specialized books, here are some of the best books I would highly recommend.

In this article I will present my recommendations for Buddhist books.

This blog is currentlyThe life of Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha) as seen through local a series of articles, and we will also introduce the books we refer to in this article.

First, we will introduce some recommended works as an introduction to the Buddha and Indian Buddhism, followed by a selection of reference books for those who want to learn more about Buddhism.

What I value in my study of Buddhism is the perspective that "religion is not only religion.

Religions do not consist only of beliefs and doctrines, but are established through a combination of various factors such as the historical background, political economy, culture, history, and international situation of the time. Therefore, when I study Buddhism, I also place importance on the historical background of India at that time and its relationship with other religions such as Brahmanism and Hinduism.

Therefore, my selection of reference books will be an unusual lineup for a Buddhist book, but I am sure that they will help you to discover something new.

Each of these links discusses the book in more detail, so if you are interested, please take a look at them as well.

So let's get started.

Three recommended introductory books on Buddhism

Kiyoshi SasakiThe Birth of Buddhism.

The Birth of Buddhism" is a highly recommended reference book for an introduction to Buddhism. If someone asks me, "I am interested in Buddhism, what should I read? I have recently been recommending this book to people who ask me "What should I read? It is so easy to understand and read. Moreover, it is very practical because you can think about how Buddhism is related to our daily life. This book is not just a book of knowledge, but a book of wisdom for living Buddhism.

Dr. Sasaki's books are very easy to read and feature a gentle narration that somehow seems to slip right into the heart.

This book explains the essence of Buddhism and the historical background of the time. This book is written in such a way that even those who have no knowledge of Buddhism can enjoy reading it, making it suitable for beginners. It is also a good book for those who have some knowledge of Buddhism, as it will make you think, "Oh, I didn't know there was such a way of thinking! I didn't know there was such a way of thinking! I think you will discover something new. I also got a clap on the knee when he compared the precepts in Buddhism to a traffic light.

We have introduced various Buddhist books on our blog, but this book is the best introductory book. I highly recommend this work as a first choice for an introduction to Buddhism.

Hazime NakamuraAn Introduction to Buddhism by Gen Nakamura.

Gen Nakamura's teachings are unique in that he discusses Buddhism not only in terms of ideology, but also in terms of historical background and his actual experiences in India. He shares many interesting topics in a language that is easy to understand, even for the novice student. This book is sure to be a good introduction to Buddhism.

Many people may feel that "learning Buddhism" requires a strenuous effort, but I recommend that you first listen to Gen Nakamura's lectures to get an overall picture of the teachings. However, I recommend that you first listen to Gen Nakamura's lectures to get an overall picture of Buddhism. The language is soft and easy to read, and you will easily understand the Buddhist teachings.

Of course, there are some Buddhist words that you may not come into contact with in everyday life, but if you read the explanations carefully, I am sure you will understand what they mean. This book is not about esoteric philosophy. Gen Nakamura explains Buddhism that is connected to our everyday life.

This book is an excellent gateway to Buddhism in Japan. The basics of everything are important. Japanese Buddhism was also born from this foundation of Indian Buddhism. By learning about the world in which Gautama Buddha lived, the background of the times, and the teachings of Gautama Buddha, we will surely be able to see something new.

This book is a great introduction for those who want to learn the basics of Buddhism. We encourage you to pick up a copy.

Translated by Gen NakamuraBuddha's Word of Truth."

The original title of the sutra "The Word of Truth" is "Dhammapada," and its Chinese translation is known as the "Dhammapada Sutra. This sutra is said to be the closest to the teachings of the Buddha. In other words, it is the best sutra for learning about the teachings of the Buddha himself.

Each sentence in "Words of Truth" is concise and very easy to understand. Most of the words are not philosophical, but rather practical life practices, so they are very easy to understand and penetrate easily into the mind.

Such clarity, directness, and simplicity are what made this sutra so popular throughout the world.

This sutra is an excellent introduction to Buddhism. I highly recommend this sutra to get a feel for the teachings that the Buddha was preaching.

It can be read in conjunction with the two books above to learn the basics of Buddhism.

From this point on, Buddhist teachings developed, and they are connected to our Japanese Buddhism. Some may be surprised at the differences between Japanese Buddhism and ours, but knowing these differences will help us understand what our Buddhism is all about. After all, there are things that can only be understood by comparing them. In this sense, this sutra is a recommended book to understand the atmosphere of early Buddhism.

Recommended reference books to learn more about Buddhism

From this point on, I will recommend reference books, including books with more specialized content, but not only about Buddhism but also about India and Sri Lanka. As I mentioned earlier, there is a world that can be seen by comparison. I am sure that these books will be of great help to you in learning more about Buddhism. I also recommend them with confidence.

Of course, I will not introduce here the kind of specialized books that researchers read. I will only introduce works that can be enjoyed by general readers, so please rest assured.

So, let's get started.

Hazime NakamuraAncient India.

This book will be a reference book on ancient India by Buddhist scholar Gen Nakamura.

Dr. Gen Nakamura is a classic in the study of Indian thought.A History of Indian Thought.The wonderful thing about "Ancient India" is that you can learn about the historical background and climate of ancient India, where Buddhism was born.

The book begins with the prehistory of India, then moves on to the Indus civilization, the Aryan invasion, and the development of Brahmanism, detailing the process of the birth and decline of Buddhism. You will learn in an easy-to-understand manner why Buddhism was born, to which people Buddha's teachings resonated, how the Buddhist cult spread through India, and how it ended up declining in the end, and these major trends.

The book will strongly remind you of the importance of looking at Buddhism not only from the ideological aspect, but also from the historical, cultural, ethnic, and climatic aspects.

Dr. Nakamura wrote this book after actually experiencing India in person. Dr. Nakamura places great importance on the local atmosphere and sensations that cannot be understood only by reading books. How Indians lived in "the specific environment of India" is the key to understanding their religion and thought. I am keenly aware that there are things that cannot be understood only by looking at literature in distant lands.

You will also realize that Buddhism was born within the framework of Brahmanism and Hinduism, and that they continued to live in interaction with each other.

There are countless books explaining Buddhist teachings and ideas, but there are surprisingly few that summarize the historical background and climate in which these ideas were born in an easy-to-understand manner. This book is a valuable work that contains many unexpected discoveries for us Japanese. I am sure you will be surprised if you read this book.

A History of Buddhism in New Asia 01 India I: Background to the Emergence of Buddhism.

This book is a recommended work to learn about Indian society at the time the Buddhist Order was born.

It is clear that Buddhism, too, was not born out of the sudden birth of the great Gautama Buddha, but in the context of the Indian world that has continued since ancient times.

By looking at the social conditions of the time, we can see a picture of the Buddhist Order that cannot be seen through ideology and theory alone. This was stimulating. It made me realize once again that India is not a simple entity after all.

This "New Asian Buddhist History" series reflects the latest research as of 2010 and is relatively new among hardcover Buddhist books. Many of the best Buddhist books are quite old, so we are very grateful for these new and updated Buddhist books.

The book also contains many references for those who want to learn more in depth, making it a great book for future study. I highly recommend this series.

Hazime NakamuraGautama Buddha.

This book is a biography of Buddha by Buddhist scholar Gen Nakamura. What makes this work unique is that it explores the Buddha, who is not deified, using the original texts of primitive Buddhism.

This "Gautama Buddha (Popular Edition)" is a revised edition of "Nakamura Gen's Selected Works (Definitive Edition) Volumes 11 and 12: Gautama Buddha" for easy reading by general readers. However, the content of the book is quite solid, making full use of the original texts, so if you pick up this book as an introduction to Buddhism, you will probably be quite taken aback. This work is recommended for those who have some knowledge of the life of Buddha and wish to learn more deeply.

This biography carefully follows Buddha from the original sources to find out what kind of person he was and how and where he lived.

Me too.The life of Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha) as seen through local photographs.I have used this book as a great reference in

However, problems have been pointed out in recent years regarding this book. As we discuss in the following article, the problem has been pointed out that the very idea of a "Historical Human Buddha" that is not a "Mythical Buddha" is not valid.

I agree with these points. However, this does not mean that all of Gen Nakamura's achievements are overturned. Rather, by studying both the "Historical Human Buddha" and the "Mythical Buddha" as presented by Dr. Nakamura, we can learn the history of how Buddhism has been received. This is very interesting.

Series on Mahayana Buddhism, Vol. 5: Buddha and the Pure Land - Mahayana Buddhist Scriptures IIare currently hard to find, but we hope you will read these books as a set.

Gen Nakamura Selected Works, Vol. 17The Ethics of Life in Primitive Buddhism."

This book is a reference book about the lay people and Buddhist teachings that existed with the primitive Buddhist cult. Needless to say, the Primitive Buddhist Order is an ordained order. The true meaning of Buddhism is a life of ascetic practice, totally detached from the secular life.

However, the mission does not consist only of ordained believers. It is also an ordained order that depends on ordinary people who live as lay believers. In this book, you will learn how these ordinary people lived with Buddhism.

What kind of teachings of Buddhism did ordinary believers at that time sympathize with and what kind of life did they lead? This is a surprising blind spot. Dr. Gen Nakamura.There have been many books on "Buddhist ethics," both at home and abroad, but they are mainly about the precepts and customs of ordained monks, and are of little use to those of us living today."I think it is truly an insightful statement. Naturally, the lives of ordained practitioners and lay believers change. It is inevitable that as their lives change, so do their teachings. I think it is very important to know the daily lives of ordinary people in order to understand the overall picture of the Buddhist Order at that time.

The book also discusses the issues of "funeral rites" and "ancestral memorial services," which are of great concern to us Japanese priests.

Modern Japanese Buddhism is sometimes criticized as "funeral Buddhism," and it is often said that "Buddhism originally did not hold funerals. In this book, we will discuss whether this is true or not.

This book was another truly inspiring read.

The Selected Works of Gen Nakamura, Vol. 18The Social Thought of Primitive Buddhism."

The book will first discuss the caste system that strongly defined Indian society and primitive Buddhism under the theme of "equality. Buddhism is famous for its criticism of the caste system, but we will take a closer look at how the cult actually responded to this system and what position the Buddhist Order held in Indian society. (For more information on this subject, please refer to Motokazu Yamazaki's book, which has been previously published on this blog.Civilization and Society in Ancient India .It will be even more interesting to read this article in comparison with

And of particular interest in this book is the relationship between the primitive cult and the capitalist, as expounded in Chapter 3, "Economic Ethics - In Contrast to the Western Capitalist Spirit."

As we have shown in the past in this blog, the main patrons of the Buddhist Order were royalty, aristocracy, and capitalists. The primitive Buddhist Order was born in India at a time when industry was born and economic activity was very active. The caste system was not conducive to business. One can only be profitable when one is free to do business with anyone. In addition, merchants with power beyond caste emerged rapidly as they accumulated wealth. It was very interesting to learn how the Buddhist Order thought about economic activities in such a historical background.

Yasuaki NaraA History of Indian Buddhism as Culture.

As I wrote in the title of this article, I highly recommend this book to monks who are troubled by criticism of funeral Buddhism. In the past, this blog hasA History of Buddhism in New Asia 02 India II: The Formation and Development of Buddhism.and by Noboru Karashima and Yasuaki NaraA World History of Life 5: Faces of India."I have introduced a number of books on funeral issues in Buddhism and the relationship between the real life of a Buddhist cult and the general congregation, such as

Reading these books, I strongly felt that criticism of Japanese Buddhism from the standpoint of primitive Buddhist supremacism is a problematic discourse to begin with. Of course, it is important for each of us monks to take Buddhism seriously as monks. However, I feel that we can clearly say "no" to the criticism that "the current Japanese Buddhism is wrong because it is written like this in the primitive Buddhism.

This book, "History of Indian Buddhism as Culture," takes the criticism of Japanese Buddhism even further.

That cut is also the name of the book.Buddhism as Culture.It is.

It is clear that Buddhism is not only a doctrine written in literature, but has walked with the people who live there. I myself received a lot of courage from this book. I feel that Buddhism will surely lead to the power to live even today.

Even non-monks interested in the meaning of rituals in Buddhism will find much in this work.

This is a great book that I would highly recommend. It was a wonderful book that conveys the author's beliefs.

Kiyoshi SasakiMahayana Buddhism: Where is Buddha's Teaching Heading?"

We have been discussing Dr. Kan Sasaki's books on this blog for some time now.The Birth of Buddhism., ,What is ordained?and other works, this book, "Mahayana Buddhism: Where is Buddha's Teaching Going?" is another very accessible Buddhist book.

The Birth of Buddhism.In the following section, as the title suggests, it explains how Buddhism was born in the period in which the Buddha lived,What is ordained?In the "The Meaning of Ordination and Precepts in the Indian Order of Buddha," he explained the significance of ordination and the meaning of the precepts.

In this book, "Mahayana Buddhism: Where is Buddha's Teaching Heading?

I knew the term Mahayana Buddhism, and I knew that Japan was a Mahayana Buddhist country, but I had no idea what this Mahayana Buddhism was all about. But I had no idea what this Mahayana Buddhism was all about.

This is not only true for general readers, but in fact, many monks themselves may feel the same way.

As Buddhist monks, we also learn the basics of Buddhism, but our studies tend to focus on the doctrines of our own sect. Of course, we learn what Mahayana Buddhism is and the characteristics of the major Japanese sects, but it is difficult for us to go into the details of their formation process, scriptures, and doctrines.

In this aspect, this book is a very significant commentary for monks of all sects.

Kuniko MaejimaFrom Ruins to Sacred Sites: Buddhist Sacred Sites in a Globalized World.

This book is a work that lets you know the shocking facts about Bodh Gaya, a sacred Buddhist site in India.

Bodh Gaya is a world-famous holy site where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

But what if this sacred place has been forgotten for a long time and was only recently discovered?

We Japanese tend to think of India as the land of Buddha and the home of Buddhism, but it is a strict fact that Buddhism in India died out in the early 13th century and there are almost no Buddhists in India today. (*New Buddhists have emerged in the form of Ambedkar, but only as a new entity, and they are an exception.)

Hindus and Muslims make up the majority of India's population. Culturally, Buddhism was largely forgotten.

The same is true of Bodhgaya.

Buddha became so familiar to Hindus as an incarnation of Lord Krishna that Buddha was no longer worshipped as a Hindu temple. In such a Hindu and Islamic-dominated city, a Buddhist sanctuary suddenly appeared.

In this book, you will learn more about its history and background.

To be honest, the contents of this book may be quite shocking to Japanese people. I was able to tolerate it to some extent in Sri Lanka, so I was shocked in a different way, but for those who are longing for "India is the holy land of Buddha! However, for those who have a longing for "India is the holy land of Buddha!

Of course, that does not diminish the significance of the site as a holy place of Buddha, nor does it change the fact that it is an important place of worship for Buddhists around the world.

However, I do not think it is a waste of time to know what was happening here. No matter how inconvenient that may be for me as a Buddhist...

Recommended reference books about India

Buddhism was also established and lived on in the context of ancient India.

Learning about ancient India is also a significant part of learning about Buddhism.

The following books will definitely change the way you look at Buddhism. We have not introduced any books that are too heavy or technical in style. They are all easy-to-read books, so why don't you pick one up? They are very stimulating and interesting.

Tsuyoshi FujiiCaste in History: Self-Portrait in Modern India.

This work shows how the caste system in India was made more complex and fixed by British colonial policy.

I picked up this book by Aya Ikegame, which I have previously mentioned on this blog.India's Cruelest Tales: The World's Toughest Peoplewas the catalyst.

In this book, I learned about the tragic reality of caste discrimination that continues to this day. And it was this book, "Caste in History: Self-Portrait of Modern India," that was introduced in the book.

Caste discrimination in India has existed since ancient India. However, modern caste discrimination is not necessarily from ancient India.It is not something that has continued as it is.The following is a list of the most common problems with the

There was the influence of colonial rule in England, as well as India's own complex culture and ethnicity.

The caste system in India is anyway complex.

It is true that there was a caste system in ancient India. And as we have seen on this blog, it was Buddhism and Jainism that criticized the caste system.

However, it was the British colonial policy that transformed the indigenous Indian caste system and made it stronger. And to make matters more difficult, the book reveals that there were also efforts on the part of the Indians to use their own caste in order to survive British colonial rule.

This book is very valuable for a detailed look at the two-way action between the British and other Western nations and the local Indians, which has led to the current caste.

The author pointed out in this book that the caste system in India tends to be spoken of in simplistic terms. This book clarifies why such a simplified caste system is talked about in the historical context.

This book is a very gratifying work to learn about the complexity of India. I highly recommend this book.

Shunji HosakaA History of the Rise and Fall of Indian Religions.

This book is a much appreciated reference for learning about Indian religions.

This book is unique in that it does not look at each of India's many religions separately, but focuses on their interrelationships.

The relationship between Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism in ancient India. What was the background from which Hinduism and Islam grew in power over time? Why did Buddhism decline, and why has Jainism, which is said to be its sister religion, been able to survive today? This book is very valuable because it allows us to look at these questions from the historical background and the interrelationships among religions. Religion is not only religion. History, culture, politics, and economics are all involved. This book is a very stimulating work that allows us to feel the dynamism of such history.

Tatsuo Morimoto, Hinduism: Sacred and Secular in India

Pooja (Prayer)Wikipedia.

When I think of India and Hinduism, I tend to associate it with worship rituals like the one pictured above, but in this book, you can learn not only about the origins and philosophy of Hinduism, but also about the beliefs of ordinary believers on a daily level.

India is a country of mystery. This book is a fun way to learn about India, a country that even seems otherworldly, even though it is part of the same Asian region. The author's narrative is very easy to understand, and you will discover the fascinating world of India, which is complex and mysterious. It is interesting to know "why India is so unique" along with the historical background.

From our point of view, India appears to be a complex and mysterious magical land. In the background, there is a unique religious situation. This was very interesting.

You will also learn many other interesting religious situations in India in this book. And they are not limited to Indian religions, but also make you think about what religion is all about in the first place.

This was an interesting book. I feel myself getting more and more addicted to the Indian swamp.

Noboru Karashima, Yasuaki NaraA World History of Life 5: Faces of India."

In this book you will learn about the culture and spirituality of the Indian level of life. As the author states, in real life there are "real feelings and built-up feelings. If you ignore this and focus only on one or the other, you will end up with something completely different.

In addition to these religious aspects, the book covers a wide range of aspects of "Indian life," including caste, art, food (including curry), politics, language, urban and rural areas, sexuality, and more. I found this book very interesting in terms of the birth of Buddhism and its absorption into the Hindu world. I highly recommend this book. I highly recommend you to pick up a copy of this book.

Martin J. DoughertyEncyclopedia of Indian Mythological Tales.

Doherty does not merely tell us the story, but also the historical background and the depth of the culture.

In this work, "Encyclopedia of Indian Mythology," Doherty states, "To understand any religion, it is essential to know the society and culture behind it, and the history of its formation (p. 13)," and he is very grateful that we can also learn the historical background of the formation of Hinduism. The book is a very useful book to learn about the historical background of the formation of Hinduism.

Man cannot know all the truths of the world. Myth itself does not provide answers either. But,Self-awareness exists there."The following is a list of the most common problems with the

I was struck by this commentary. I have been studying the subject of "Shinran and Dostoevsky" for about four years now, and the idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth rarely comes up in a Christian worldview. The existence of God, the Absolute and Creator, is there as self-evident. In India, however, this was not the case. It is interesting to feel these differences between the West and the East.

And as you read this book, you will also learn about the Hindu view of life and death and the afterlife. When you think about these things in the context of the historical background of the time, you will realize that Buddhism is exactly what it was.The Indian Context."I strongly felt that I was born from

I realized once again that the very idea of Buddhism and the terms and concepts used in it came from the world of Hinduism. There are things that can be seen by going back to Buddhism and learning about Indian history and culture. This reading convinced me of that. This is interesting. I think it is a wonderful work that gives us a new perspective on Buddhism.

Katsuhiko KamimuraThe World of the Bhagavad Gita: Hindu Salvation.

Arjuna and his best friend Krishna (the blue figure) in the carriageWikipedia.

This work is the great Indian epicThe Mahabharata.India's premier book of thought, written inThe Bhagavad Gita.This will be a commentary on the

As noted in the product introduction above, the author points out the connection to Japanese culture and Mahayana Buddhism in this Bhagavad Gita.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Japanese are, so to speak, "hidden Hindus. One of the purposes of this book is to show that."

It's a shocking word, isn't it?

But in this book, these words feel all too real. The connection with Japanese culture and Mahayana Buddhism is explained very clearly.

This book is a commentary on the ancient Indian philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, and as such, it may be a difficult book to get a hold of. However, I suggest that you switch your perspective and look at this book as a Buddhist book.

The book is designed to be read without any knowledge of ancient India or Indian thought. At the same time, the work is easy enough to understand that it can also serve as an introduction to Buddhism. This is a great book.

This is a highly recommended work that will give you a new perspective on Japanese Buddhism. Why not pick up a copy?

Nobuyuki WataseThe Code of Manu, The Prototype of the Hindu World."

This book was the cornerstone of the worldview and code of life of the Indian Hindu world.Manu Code."This is a reference book for

This work is an excellent, easy to understand overview of the "Code of Manu".

Religion in India is an integral part of life itself. It is not merely a spiritual belief, but exists as a way of life itself. Buddhism was born out of this inter-religious and worldview of India.

This "Code of Manu," as it is also preached in this work, has also been greatly influenced by Buddhism, Jainism, and various ordained practitioners. No, to be more precise, ideas and institutions have been created by influencing each other.

When we Japanese try to study Buddhism in India, we tend to see the Indian world only from the Buddhist side. In India, however, Buddhism was more of an outsider's existence. The mainstream is still Hinduism.

Moreover, Buddhism adopted a policy of not intervening too much in the daily lives of its lay believers. In other words, the daily life and rites of passage of Buddhists remained within the framework of the Hindu world.

This book is very valuable to know the norms of life and worldview of the Hindu world, which has also coexisted with such Indian Buddhists. I think it is a very significant work for thinking about Indian Buddhism.

Kautilya.A Pragmatism."

Kautilya, the author of this work, is a man with whom we Buddhists have a great deal to do. Kautilya was a famous vizier of Chandragupta, the founder of the Maurya dynasty founded in 317 B.C. The most famous figure of this dynasty was King Asoka, who appeared a little later.

King Ashoka Pillar in Vaishali. It was erected around 250 BC. Across from it is theStupaThere is aWikipedia.

King Ashoka is famous for spreading Buddhism throughout India, and his dynasty was able to have a power that spread throughout India because of the political power of this Kautilya.

So, for us Buddhists, too, there is actually a connection to Kautilya.

Now, Machiavelli'sThe Monarchist.In "The Theory of Pragmatism," the author explains the scheming and scheming of the Japanese people, but this "Theory of Pragmatism" is also quite brutal.

The commentary also states, "The author of this book describes every possible tactic a monarch should employ in order to protect his own security, increase his national power, and acquire the territory of others. The examples of espionage activities that are developed throughout the book are among the most noteworthy. In the Indian classics, espionage is given great importance, and even in later works of literature, kings who fail to make proper use of spies are condemned. The use of spies is especially carefully explained, as stated in the following passage.

Reading this book, I do not envy you at all for being born in royalty. No matter how extravagant I may be, I would respectfully give back that right. Maybe Buddha felt that way too.

Even during the reign of the Buddha, several hundred years before "The Pragmatics," the whole of India was in a period of warfare, and the rule was based on the rule of the weak and the strong. Furthermore, Buddha was a prince of the Sakyamuni tribe, and he had to rule the country by using the power and tactics that were originally taught in the "Theory of Pragmatics. As a result, Buddha abandoned this path and became an ordained monk, and the Sakyamuni was subsequently destroyed by the great Kosala kingdom. The Buddha witnessed the annihilation of the country of his birth.

Even the Kosala State, which destroyed the Sakyamuni, was destroyed by the Magadha State soon thereafter. Incidentally, the king of Magadha at that time was a famous man named Ajase. I am sure you have heard of him.

Buddha preached Buddhism based on his firsthand experience of the realities of this kind of weak and powerful world. This reminds us of how far Buddha's peaceful teachings were from the common sense of the time.

The peace preached by the Buddha is merely an ideal. It is powerless in the face of reality. Governing a country is not a pretty business."

I have had such painful thoughts many times, but I still think it is a great thing that Buddha taught his teachings with conviction and lived to the end.

This book is also a very useful work in understanding the difficult Indian situation at that time.

Recommended Books on Sri Lankan Buddhism

Sri Lanka's iconic Sigiriya RockWikipedia.

You may be thinking, "If I want to learn about Indian culture and history, I can't go to Sri Lanka to learn about Buddhism. But wait a minute. What if you could change your view of Buddhism in India 180 degrees by learning about Sri Lanka?

I studied Buddhism in Sri Lanka and was left shocked. I keep coming across things that I never thought possible. I would say that it has overturned my view of Buddhism from the very foundation. At the same time, it also made me think deeply about what "Buddhism" means to me. I think that by learning about the existence of others who are different from us, it gave us a chance to know more deeply what we believe in.

The books we are about to introduce are also a very exciting lineup. We highly recommend these works.

An Invitation to Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia."

This book is a recommended reference to learn about Buddhism in Southeast Asian countries. In Southeast Asia, Buddhism, which is completely different from our Japanese Buddhism, has taken root. To know the difference is not only to know "Japanese Buddhism" but also to think about "what is Japanese".

Rather than taking a detailed look at the Buddhist doctrines of each Southeast Asian country, this book takes the form of a look at what the lives and faith practices of Buddhists in those countries are like.

Of course, the first chapter of this book provides an easy-to-understand explanation of what Theravada Buddhism is in the first place, so it is designed to be friendly to those without specialized knowledge. In Japan, "Mahayana Buddhism" was introduced and continues to this day, but in Southeast Asia, a completely different lineage of Buddhism is practiced. This work is extremely valuable because it explains the differences between the two in an easy-to-understand manner. Moreover, since it is taught in a narrative style that even beginners can easily read, it is highly recommended for those who want to learn not only about Buddhism but also about the culture itself.

This book was very exciting to learn about Theravada Buddhism and what it is and what it is like at the level of the lives of the people living there. It was very interesting to read it while thinking about the differences and similarities with Japanese Buddhism.

Yoshio SugimotoBecoming a Fatalist in Sri Lanka, an Island of Buddhism and Caste."

This book is a valuable work that provides an insight into the religion of Sri Lanka and the real lives of the local people.

The religion of Sri Lanka is Theravada Buddhism, which is different from the Mahayana Buddhism that was introduced to Japan. The Theravada Buddhism itself is not discussed here, but it is often said that Theravada Buddhism is characterized by its beliefs being close to the teachings of the primitive Buddhism that originated in India.

Sri Lanka is often seen as a so-called holy land of Theravada Buddhism, but this book discusses how Buddhism is actually practiced there and how the local people interact with the Buddhist cult.

It was very interesting to see from the perspective of fieldwork that Buddhism is deeply connected to the issue of "life and death" in Sri Lanka as well.

Another gratifying aspect of this book is that you can learn about Sri Lanka's religion and real life not only from a religious perspective, but also from a political and economic one. If you look at Sri Lanka only as "a devout Buddhist country," you will be mistaken. In fact, the background of Sri Lanka is quite complex. It is also fascinating to learn about the complexity of the society.

This is a good book I have come across. It has made me more and more interested in Sri Lanka. I think this book will be a great inspiration for those who actually visit Sri Lanka.

Toshio ShibuyaSri Lanka Today Magazine.

As the title suggests, this book is about contemporary Sri Lanka and the conflict. While this blog has featured various books on Sri Lankan history and Buddhism, this is the first book to focus specifically on Sri Lanka's civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2009.

The civil war in Sri Lanka was largely a civil war between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Tamil Hindu minority. In other words, religion was one of the major causes of the civil war.

Of course, religion was not the only major factor, but history and political and economic issues up to that time were also a major factor, and I was shocked to learn that Buddhism had become involved in the civil war. I was shocked to learn that Buddhism was involved in the civil war.

The civil war in Sri Lanka has seen a strong form of Buddhism being used for nationalism. We will look at this process in this book, "Sri Lanka Today". You will also learn in this book why the ethnic conflict deepened and why Buddhism, which was supposed to be a peaceful teaching, took a radical turn.

The book is written in a way that it can be read by those who have no knowledge of Sri Lanka, so I would highly recommend this work to first time students. It is a very useful work to learn about contemporary Sri Lanka. It is also a great book for those who want to learn about ethnic conflicts and religious conflicts.

Gombrich, Obesekara.Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Although Sri Lankan Buddhism may be associated with Theravada Buddhism, which adheres to strict precepts, modern Sri Lankan Buddhism itself was actually a recent construction. Sri Lankan Buddhism is sometimes said to be the closest to the primitive cult, but that was actually an image that was created in the last few centuries. This book will certainly surprise you. I believe that your impression of Sri Lankan Buddhism will change drastically.

The obi of this book says, "Why does Buddhism, which died out in its birthplace, India, continue to live on in Sri Lanka?" and this is precisely the reality of modern Sri Lankan Buddhism that will be examined in detail in this book.

Since Sri Lanka became a British colony in 1815, the traditional village society that had existed until then was in decline, and Colombo experienced rapid urbanization. Furthermore, English-speaking elites actively absorbed British culture. In particular, they brought English Protestant religious views into the world of Sri Lankan Buddhism. This would have a decisive influence on modern Sri Lankan Buddhism.

Also not to be overlooked is the movement on the Buddhist side at the sacred site of Kataragama in southern Sri Lanka. This was originally the sacred site of the Hindu god Skanda (popularly known in Japan as Vikiten). Sri Lankan Buddhists are now flocking there in droves. This is a contradiction in terms of Sri Lanka's Theravada teachings, which claim to be faithful to primitive Buddhism. But this is clearly a trend. This is clearly a major trend, and it is also largely due to the political and economic problems in Sri Lanka.

This book does not simply look at Sri Lankan Buddhism from an ideological perspective, but makes use of the knowledge gained from fieldwork in the area. The reality of Sri Lankan Buddhism can be seen only from what I have actually seen in the field. This is very interesting. I was so excited that I read this book in one sitting. It is very interesting.

Noritoshi BabaBuddhist Orthodoxy and Heresy: The Establishment of the Pali Cosmopolis."

When studying Buddhism, we often come across the terms "Sanskrit source texts" and "Pali source texts. Sanskrit was not only the sacred language but also the common language of ancient Indian thought. Pali is likewise the classical language of Sri Lankan Buddhism. This is usually enough to understand the difference between these two languages, but there is a tremendous fact about the difference between Sanskrit and Pali. In this book, we will take a closer look at it.

Which language is older, Sanskrit or Pali, and what was its origin? Why did Sri Lanka use Pali instead of Sanskrit?

This is where the historical background of India and Sri Lanka came into play. This was not only a matter of Buddhist thought, but also a political issue at the national and royal level.

Furthermore, although the image of Sri Lanka as "a Theravada Buddhist country that has inherited the teachings closest to primitive Buddhism" inevitably comes to mind, in fact, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism coexist in the country, and it was once even a major center of Mahayana Buddhism in Southeast Asia. This also involves political issues.

Buddhism in Sri Lanka has been spun out of the relationship with royal authority. Buddhism has moved within a larger framework that cannot be defined simply at the level of religion or ideology. Of course, these issues of religion and history are not limited to Sri Lanka. However, Sri Lanka, as a country on the periphery of India, needs something solid to assert its identity and legitimacy. In Sri Lanka, this was the Pali language and "Buddhism," which most faithfully inherited Buddha's teachings. In this way, we can see that "the most faithful inheritor of Buddha's teachings" is not an objective fact, but rather "a claim made by Sri Lanka. This book also looks at this situation in detail.

Frankly, it is tremendously interesting. It may seem unlikely that there has been a look at Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka from the perspective of international and domestic politics. I highly recommend this book.

Recommended reference book to learn how Buddhism in India was introduced to China and Japan.

Finally, here are some recommended reference books to help you understand how Indian Buddhism was introduced to East Asia.

A History of Buddhism in New Asia 05: Central Asia: Crossroads of Civilizations and Cultures.(at sentence-end, falling tone) indicates a confident conclusionBuddhism was not packed up in India and shipped off to China."As the saying goes, Buddhism was transmitted from India to China under the influence of each region, including Central Asia.

And it is the same after it entered China. The Buddhism that entered China was completely foreign to the Chinese. How to accept such a foreign existence was a very big problem. Therefore, China came to have its own interpretation of Buddhism, which was different from that of India. The Buddhism that had been transformed through this Chinese understanding was finally introduced to Japan, and the history of Buddhism in Japan began. However, after the arrival of Saicho Kukai and the new Buddhism of Kamakura, Japan began to develop its own Buddhism.

In considering Japanese Buddhism, it is important to understand how Buddhism in India was introduced to East Asia and how it was transformed to suit each region. By comparing the regional characteristics of each region, we can see the characteristics of each Buddhism.

We hope you will also find the following reference books useful in taking a larger view of Buddhism.

A History of Buddhism in New Asia 06: China I, Northern and Southern Dynasties: The Eastern Propagation and Reception of Buddhism.

I touched on this a little above.A History of Buddhism in New Asia 05: Central Asia: Crossroads of Civilizations and Cultures.In "The History of Buddhism in New Asia 06: China I, Nanbei Dynasty: Eastern Transmission and Reception of Buddhism", we will finally enter Buddhism in China.

Buddhism was not packed up in India and shipped off to China."As the saying goes, Buddhism was transmitted from India to China under the influence of each region.

And it is the same after it entered China. Buddhism in China is completely foreign to the Chinese. How to accept such an alien existence is a very big problem.

Also, Buddhism, which originated in India, was naturally not written in Chinese. It is also very interesting to know how the Chinese translated Buddhist scriptures written in Indian languages. In this book, you can learn about episodes of famous Buddhist sutra translators such as An Shi Gao, Hatomarai Shih, and Xuanzang, as well as how Buddhism was accepted in China.

It was very interesting to hear how the original Chinese thought mingled with and mutually influenced Buddhism.

The introduction of Buddhism in China is of great significance in understanding Japanese Buddhism. As we have seen, the "New Asian Buddhist History" series offers a broad overview of Buddhist history. This work is also a very good introduction to Chinese Buddhism, as it looks at the introduction of Buddhism in China. It also contains a wealth of references, which will be very useful for future study. I highly recommend this book.

Miki Mikiro MoriLao Zhuang and Buddhism."

'This book is a tremendously interesting classic! It's one of those books that is so stimulating that it sparks your brain!"

Well, I am here for this book. This book is definitely one of the best books on China that I have ever read on this blog. I would say that this book ranks at the top not only in China but also in all books related to Buddhism. It is such an interesting book.

The main theme of this book is how Buddhism, which came from India, was accepted and transformed in China, and this is extremely exciting.

Here is one of the passages that impressed me the most.

Nevertheless, through this historical process, we can see that the Indian view of life and the Chinese view of life are completely opposite. For the Indians, the theory of reincarnation was an object of fear: "Even if you die, you will have to repeat your painful life. The Chinese, on the other hand, took it as gospel that "even if you die once, you can live again. In this, we can discover a stark contrast between the Indian philosophy, which sees life as essentially painful, and the Chinese philosophy, which sees life as something to be enjoyed.

Kodansha, MIKUSABURO MORI, Laozhuang and Buddhism, p. 133

The book reveals that the differences between Indian and Chinese views of life and religion had a tremendous impact on the acceptance of Buddhism.

Other interesting topics in the book, such as an overview of Lao Zhuang thought, the relationship between Chinese Buddhism and politics, and the development of Zen Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism, just keep coming up.

Oh no, it's interesting! It sparked my brain. It is not often that you come across a book that sparks your brain so much. I highly recommend this book.

Buddhist Thought 5: Absolute Truth (Tendai)

When we Japanese think of Tendai, we usually think of the Tendai Sect founded by Saicho of Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei. The teachings of the Lotus Sutra were transmitted from India to Japan via China.

This book is a recommended work to learn about the history and thought content of the "Lotus Sutra".

The wonderful thing about this work is that it allows us to neatly learn the history of the establishment of the Lotus Sutra in India, its reception in China, and its propagation to Japan.

It is very interesting to see how the Lotus Sutra evolved from its birth to its acceptance in Japan.

And it is important to note, as mentioned in the above quote, that the Tendai sect on Mt. Hieizan became the mother of the later Kamakura Buddhists, Honen, Shinran, Eisai, Dogen, and Nichiren. All of these great patriarchs studied Tendai at Hieizan. This book will also look at why they were not satisfied with the teachings of Tendai and tried to open a new Buddhism.

In addition, this book also discusses the historical background of the period, so it is fascinating to look at Tendai Buddhism from a larger perspective. I also believe that it is very important to study Tendai Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra in order to understand the foundations of Japanese Buddhism. This book is an excellent introduction to the Tendai sect and the Lotus Sutra. It is very interesting. I highly recommend this book.

The next volume, "Buddhist Thought 6: The Infinite Worldview (Kegon)," is also recommended along with this book. The Lotus Sutra and the Kegon Sutra were two of the major works that had a decisive influence on the subsequent development of Mahayana Buddhism. Both schools of Buddhism developed in China, stimulating each other and refining their ideas. The Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple in Nara is the very embodiment of the ideas of the Kegon Sutra. The political philosophy of Nara Buddhism is also closely related to the Kegon Sutra. The Kegon Sutra is also very important in understanding the history of the Nara and Heian periods. I highly recommend that you read this book together with "Buddhist Thought 5: Absolute Truth " to learn more about the Buddhism of this period.

Buddhist Thought 8: Anxiety and Joyful Life in the Pure Land of China.

I am a Jodo Shinshu priest. As such, I have come into contact with many of Shinran's writings and his life, but I have to admit that I have not had much opportunity to learn about Chinese Pure Land Buddhism. But I was surprised to find many things in this book. It was an eye-opening experience to learn about the history of Jodo-kyo before it came to Japan. Of course, I had learned about the ideas of the Chinese Pure Land masters, such as Shinran, Dogen, and Zendo, in graduate school, but I did not know the details of their lives.

In this book, you can learn not only about the thought of Shinran, Dogen, and Zhenguang, but also their lives and historical backgrounds. It is clear that Buddhism was a result of the political situation in China at that time. It was very interesting to see how Chinese Pure Land Buddhism developed in the midst of repeated warfare and suppression of Buddhism, and how, during Zendo's time, Zendo's Pure Land Buddhism gained support in the prosperous downtown area of the international city of Chang'an. It is interesting to see the connection between great historical figures and their historical backgrounds. As a Jodo Shinshu monk, I tend to spend a lot of time with Shinran and Honen, but I feel that tracing back to their origins is also very significant. It is only by tracing back to the source that we can see Shinran's characteristics and uniqueness.

In this sense, this book is a very valuable work for learning about Shinran. The author's narration is easy to understand, and the reading experience is like reading a historical picture scroll. It is simply an interesting read.

I would highly recommend this book.

A New History of Buddhism in Asia 11: Japan I. The Foundations of Japanese Buddhism.

Let me say this first.

This book, "New Asian Buddhist History 11 Japan I: Foundations of Japanese Buddhism" is extremely interesting!

So far in this blog, the first in the "History of Buddhism in New Asia" seriesA History of Buddhism in New Asia 01 India I: Background to the Emergence of Buddhism.I've been introduced to a number of books since and all of them have been "What! Really?!" I have introduced a number of reference books from the

And among them, this work, "New Asian Buddhist History 11 Japan I: Foundations of Japanese Buddhism," was one of the most stimulating and interesting.

I once learned in a Japanese history class that Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 538 or 552. Even now, the phrase "Garbage is here" remains strong in my mind. At the time, I took it without question, but now I laugh to think that it is quite a thing to say "Garbage is here" about Buddhism, even if it is just a play on words.

The date of the arrival of Buddhism in 552 is based on the "Nihon Shoki" (Chronicles of Japan). However, the "Nihon Shoki" was a troublesome book, which was not merely a compilation of history, but had a very strong aspect of creating a mythology for the management of the nation. In other words, what is narrated here is not a historical fact, but rather a history that could be called a national myth.

I cannot say more here, but I was truly astonished to learn the other side of this theory of the arrival of Buddhism in 552. People and ideas familiar to those interested in Buddhism and Japanese history, such as the Soga clan, the Mononobe clan, Prince Shotoku, and the Latter Day Sabbath, appear before us in a new guise. This is shocking. It was especially eye-popping shock to see the Latter Day of the Law ideology as the main story of statecraft.

I also appreciated learning more about other Buddhism of the Nara and Heian periods. You can also learn about superstars such as Saicho and Kukai.

It was also very interesting to learn what the history of Shinto/Buddhist syncretism, which is often talked about in common parlance, actually was. It is often said that Buddhism and Shintoism coexisted in Japan, but we learned that this saying itself is actually not true. In this book, you will also learn where our image of Shinto/Buddhist syncretism and Honji-dujaku came from and what kind of background they came from. This book is full of surprises. I am already full. I highly recommend this book.


Now that we have introduced reference books in a variety of genres, not limited to Buddha and Indian Buddhism, what do you think?

I have not introduced this lineup out of the blue. I introduce these books with confidence and with great seriousness. All of the books introduced here are reference books that I highly, highly recommend.

I have introduced many other books on this blog, but basically all the books I have uploaded to this blog are books that I can recommend with confidence. So there are many more interesting books than the ones introduced in this article, so please take your time to visit our blog.

The above is "Recommended books for those who want to know more about Indian Buddhism - From introductory to specialized books, here are some gems that I would highly recommend.

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