By Akira Sadakata
With a foreword by Hajime Nakamura
This extensively researched and illustrated volume offers Western readers a rare introduction to Buddhism’s complex and fascinating views about the structure of the universe. The book begins by clearly explaining classical cosmology, with its symmetrical, India-centred universe and multitudinous heavens and hells, and illuminates the cosmos’s relation to the human concerns of karma, transmigration and enlightenment. It moves on to discuss the Mahayana conception of the universe as a lotus flower containing uncountable realms, each with its own buddha. Then, examining changes in the notions of hell and the gods, the author traces Buddhism’s gradual shift from a religion to a mythology. Throughout, treatment of Buddhism’s historical, geographical and doctrinal origins complements detailed cosmological descriptions. Finally, the author shows us how this ancient philosophy resembles the modern scientific view of the cosmos, and how even today it can help us lead more fulfilling lives.
Akira Sadakata, professor at Tokai University, is a specialist in Indian philosophy and the author of many books on Buddhism.
Hajime Nakamura, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, is the director of the Eastern Institute.
208 pp. 13.3 x 2.3 x 21 cm (Paperback)
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