Early Buddhist Teachings
The Middle Position in Theory and Practice
By: Y. Karunadasa
This volume seeks to understand early Buddhist teachings as a critical response to the binary opposition between two perennial world- views, spiritual eternalism and materialist annihilationism. The first is the theory of the metaphysical self, a self that is distinct from the physical body. The second is the theory of the physical self, a self that is identical with the physical body. It is by keeping itself equally aloof from these two theoretical views of the self that early Buddhism becomes a “middle position”. If the doctrine of dependent arising is called the “middle doctrine”, this is because it transcends the mutual conflict between spiritual eternalism and materialist annihilationism. If the noble eightfold path is called the “middle path”, this is because, in the selfsame manner, it transcends the mutual conflict between the two practices associated with the two theoretical views, namely, self-mortification and sensual indulgence. Both in theory and practice, therefore, early Buddhism becomes a “middle position”. It is this “middle position”, as this work attempts to show, that provides synthetic unity and thematic coherence to early Buddhist teachings.
Y. Karunadasa, Ph.D. (London), Ph.D. Honoris Causa (Mahamakut), D. Litt. Honoris Causa (Kelaniya), is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Kelaniya and a former Director of its Postgraduate Institute of Pāli and Buddhist Studies. He has taught at the University of London, the University of Toronto, and the University of Calgary. At present he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong. Among his published works are The Buddhist Analysis of Matter and Early Buddhist Teachings.
Note: This book has been issued free to our members for the second mailing 2015.
Catalogue No. BP438S Language: English