original Buddhism

India Sri LankaBuddhism in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Southeast Asia

R. Gombrich, "History of Theravada Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka" - "Who Listened to Buddha's Teachings?" a great book that makes us think about the connection between society and Buddhism.

この本はスリランカの仏教の大枠を学ぶのに非常におすすめな作品です。

スリランカといえば本書タイトルにありますように日本の大乗仏教とは異なる「上座部(テーラワーダ)仏教」が根付く国です。そのスリランカにおける仏教の歴史をインドにおける仏教誕生から遡って考えていくのが本書の大きな流れとなります。

本書で特徴的なのは「仏教の社会史」という視点があることです。本書では単に思想的、歴史的な問題だけでなく、当時の社会との関わりの中において仏教がどのように存在していくかを見ていきます。この本を読めば皆さんもきっと驚くと思います。ぜひぜひおすすめしたい名著です。

Birth of BuddhismBuddhism in India

Kan Sasaki, The Birth of Buddhism - A good introduction to Buddhism for beginning students!

This work, "The Birth of Buddhism" is a highly recommended reference book for an introduction to Buddhism. If you ask me, "I am interested in Buddhism, but 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.

I have introduced various Buddhist books on this blog, but this book is the best introductory book. I would highly recommend it as well.

ブッダの生涯Buddhism in India

Akira Hirakawa, "The Life of the Buddha: Reading the 'Buddha's Praises'" - Recommended introductory book that looks at the life of the superhuman Buddha based on the Chinese translation of the Buddha's biography.

In our previous article, we introduced the Buddhacharita, a Buddhist epic by Ashvaghosa, who was active around the 2nd century.

This "Buddhacharita" was translated into Chinese around A.D. 430 as "Buddhacharita" (仏所行讃) by Cloudy I-Ching. It was introduced to Japan and passed down to Japanese Buddhists. Saicho, Kukai, Honen, and Shinran must have read this Buddhist biography and thought about Buddha.

This book is an introduction to Buddhism in which the life of the Buddha is explained in an easy-to-understand manner while reading a transcript of this Chinese translation of the Buddha's Praises for the Practice of Buddhism.

Buddha CharitaBuddhism in India

The Complete Translation of the Buddhacharita - The great source of Buddhist biography, also known as the "Praise of Buddha's Place of Practice" by Ashvaghosha (Ma-Ming)! An epic of Buddha's life!

今作『ブッダチャリタ』は1~2世紀頃にインドで活躍した仏教詩人アシュヴァゴーサ(馬鳴)による仏伝です。漢訳では曇無讖によって『仏所行讃』として翻訳されています。空海や最澄、鎌倉仏教の開祖たちもこの仏伝を読んでブッダの生涯を学んでいたのではないでしょうか。

現在語られるブッダの生涯の大元となったアシュヴァゴーシャの『ブッダチャリタ』。物語としても非常に面白い作品でした。

JainismIndian thought, culture and history

Kenji Watanabe, "Jainism: Non-Possession, Non-Violence, Non-Killing: Its Doctrine and Real Life" - A recommended commentary with interesting comparisons to Buddhism!

This book provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the basic tenets of Jainism and the background of its formation.

I especially appreciated the book's detailed knowledge of the Six Master Exoteric Traditions as the background from which Jainism emerged.

The Six Teachers of the Exoteric Tradition are Indian thinkers who were contemporaries of the Buddha from the Buddhist side. One of these would be Mahavira, the founder of Jainism (called Niganta Namaputta in Buddhism).

The thinkers of the Six Masters and the Way of the Buddha are also very important in learning about the period in which the Buddha lived. After all, Buddhism and Jainism were born in the same cultural background at the same time and share many similarities in their formation process.

I highly recommend this book to learn what Jainism is all about along with this historical background.

インド仏教史Buddhism in India

Akira Hirakawa, "History of Buddhism in India" - An immortal classic of Buddhist studies! A masterful book covering the history and doctrines of Buddhism!

この本が出版されたのは1974年ですが、今なお名著中の名著として高く評価されている仏教書です。2011年には新版が出版され、現在においても仏教を深く学びたい方必読の参考書となっています。

一つの著作でここまで教えを網羅し、ひと流れの仏教史として書き上げられた本書は驚異としか言いようがありません。

これはものすごい本です。初学者に気軽におすすめできる本ではありませんが、仏教をより深く学びたいという方にはぜひおすすめしたい一冊です。

インド性愛文化論Buddhism in India

Sadakata Chen, "Indian Sexual Culture Theory" - Sexuality as taught in Buddhist scriptures. A Reference Book that Truly Inquires into the Relationship between Buddhism and Sexuality.

この本は普段私たちがなかなか触れることのない「仏教と性の関係性」についてストレートに論じた作品です。

「わたしはいま仏教の裏街道を示そうとしている。仏教学者のなかにはこれを好まない人がいるかもしれない。しかし、人間にとって大事な性の問題を避けて、仏教のなにがわかるだろうか。性愛(カーマ)はインドでは人生の三大目的の一つにあげられているくらいである。人間のすべての面を知ってこそ仏教の意義が正しく理解できると、わたしは考える。」

本書におけるこの言葉は非常に重要な提言ではないでしょうか。

realism (as opposed to nominalism)Indian thought, culture and history

Kautilya's "Pragmatics" - Ancient Indian Machiavellianism! What a thoroughgoing imperialism that should be compared to "The Theory of Monarchs"!

Machiavelli's "The Theory of the Monarchs" is a rather gruesome treatise on power and intrigue, but this "Theory of Pragmatism" is also quite gruesome.

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.

manu codeIndian thought, culture and history

The "Code of Manu" - The cornerstone of Indian Hindu society. Scriptures expounded on a grand scale from the creation of the world to the laws of human reason.

The Code of Manu is more than just a law book. The first thing that surprises you when you start reading "The Code of Manu" is that the scripture suddenly begins with the story of creation. It begins with a magnificent cosmology and worldview centering on the Creator, Brahman, and from there, it tells us how we should live and what should be the norms and rules for our lives.

In reading the Code of Manu, I strongly feel that Hindu practices and ideas are incorporated into every aspect of life. Furthermore, I found that not only that, but also detailed regulations are set forth in the rites of passage from birth to death. I strongly felt that the Hindu view of the world is carried through from birth to death, and even to the afterlife.

The Code of Manu is a very significant scripture in the study of Buddhism.

ヒンドゥー教と叙事詩Indian thought, culture and history

Hinduism and Epic Poetry, Volume 30 of Gen Nakamura's Selected Works - A masterpiece that also provides insight into the connections with Buddhism and Japan! Experience the depth of Indian thought

中村元先生は宗教を単に思想や理論として見るのではなく、当時の社会状況と合わせて考察していきます。インドにおける宗教を知るには、インドそのものも視野に入れて考えていかなければなりません。

なぜインドではヒンドゥー教が栄え、仏教は衰退していってしまったのか。そのことをこの本では見ていくことができます。そこには単に思想面だけではなく、もっと大きな社会的要因が絡んでくるのでありました。

また、この本では書名にありますようにインド二大叙事詩『マハーバーラタ』と『ラーマーヤナ』についても詳しく見ていくことができます。仏教学者中村元先生ならではの視点で説かれるインド神話の講義を聴けるのは非常に興味深いものがありました。