By Richard Cohen
Nearly all of books on Buddhism describe the Buddha utilizing the observe enlightened, instead of woke up. This bias has ended in Buddhism turning into quite often perceived because the eponymous faith of enlightenment.
Beyond Enlightenment is a worldly examine of a few of the underlying assumptions fascinated by the examine of Buddhism (especially, yet no longer solely, within the West). It investigates the tendency of so much students to floor their learn of Buddhism in those specific assumptions concerning the Buddha’s enlightenment and a selected knowing of faith, that is traced again via Western orientalists to the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation.
Placing a special emphasis on Indian Buddhism, Richard Cohen adeptly creates a piece that might entice people with an curiosity in Buddhism and India and likewise students of faith and historical past.
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Extra info for Beyond Enlightenment, Buddhism, Religion, Modernity
Here an experiential event is Buddhism’s real source—enlightenment provides a factor internal to Buddhism that serves as a stabilizing factor. Indeed, pay attention to that “however” at the crux of the second sentence. If it is however the case that expressions of enlightened truth are mediate and contingent, do we not infer that the enlightenment event, as the condition of possibility for those mediated expressions, may have been actually immediate and unconditioned? BR has no qualms about describing the signifier—expressions of truth— as socially and culturally conditioned.
Nowhere is this knot more capably disentangled than in Karl Marx’s “On the Jewish Question” (1844), a critical review of Bruno Bauer’s Die Judenfrage. In that day Germany was an expressly Christian state; Jews were required to obey laws born of a theology and tradition they expressly 13 A BENIGN INTRODUCTION rejected. Bauer thus asked whether Jews deserve special release from state regulations regarding religion. His answer: a clear no. For Bauer, all Germans were enchained equally by the politics of religious prejudice.
Why pay such attention to the anachronistic currency of Buddhism? If this book is the long answer, then here is the brief one: Strong constructionism threatens more than the sinecure of a few dozen scholars in a marginal academic discipline. The deconstruction of Buddhism raises doubts about the value and values of the taxonomic structure that houses it. Is religion any less constructed than 29 A BENIGN INTRODUCTION Buddhism? Religion too is a byproduct of observation and classification at the edges of intercultural contact.