Buddhist Saints in India: A Study in Buddhist Values and Orientations

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Oxford University Press, 1994 - History - 508 pages
The issue of saints is a difficult and complicated problem in buddhology. This study is the first comprehensive examination of the figure of the Buddhist saint in a wide range of Indian Buddhist evidence. Drawing on an extensive variety of sources, Ray seeks to identify the prototypical Buddhist saint as a "renunciant of the forest". This classical type, Ray argues, provides the presupposition for, and informs the different major Buddhist saintly types and subtypes, including the buddha, pratyekabuddha, arhant, and bodhisattva. Discussing the nature, dynamics, and history of Buddhist hagiography, Ray surveys the ascetic codes, conventions, and traditions of Buddhist saints, and the cults both of living saints and of those who have "passed beyond". He traces the role of the saints in Indian Buddhist history, particularly at the times of Buddhist origins and the formation of the Mahayana. Calling for a reconceptualization of Indian Buddhist history that takes into account the essential role played by the saints of the forest, Ray proposes a new three-fold model of Buddhism, that adds the forest renunciant to the well-known figures of the Buddhist monastic and layperson. Of primary concern to scholars of Buddhism, Indian religions, Asian studies, and religious studies, Buddhist Saints in India will also interest those who study hagiography.

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The Buddhist Saints and the TwoTiered Model of Buddhism
Buddha Sakyamuni as a Saint

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About the author (1994)

Reginald A. Ray, Ph.D. is one of the most innovative and experienced meditation teachers currently teaching in the West, drawing on 38 years of study within the Tibetan tradition and many years of solitary and group retreat practice. He teaches within the dharma and meditation lineages of the great siddha Ch??gyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. On the faculty of Naropa University since its beginning, he is the author of Touching Enlightenment (Sounds True, 2008), In the Presence of Masters (Shambhala, 2004), Indestructible Truth (Shambhala, 2002), Secret of the Vajra World (Shambhala, 2002), Buddhist Saints in India (Oxford University, 1999), and other books.

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