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What the Buddha Thought

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In What the Buddha Thought, Richard Gombrich argues that the Buddha was one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of all time. Intended to serve as an introduction to the Buddhas thought, and hence even to Buddhism itself, the book also has larger aims: it argues that we can know far more about the Buddha than it is fashionable among scholars to admit, and that his t ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Equinox Publishing (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Michael
081211: this is very interesting, certainly makes a good try at uncovering the buddha’s original insights, placing it in context, reconciling contradictions, by returning to the pali canon- the oldest texts from the first council. in many cases it is later additions that introduce confusion, in some cases it is the usual corruption that religious thought suffers in becoming institutionalized religion...

the key of this work is it argues well that the buddha created a logical, pragmatic, universal
...more
Frank Jude
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism, philosophy
Richard Gombrich is an eminent buddhist scholar, specializing in the Pali tradition of early buddhism and the Theravada tradition in particular. He's also the founder and president of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. The man has written over 200 publications, and several of his books are truly deserving of "must read" status, including his Theravada Buddhism: A Social History and How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings.

In this book, Gombrich does what you would
...more
Ben
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is revolutionary, it changed many of my preconceived notions about the teachings of the Buddha. In particular, Gombrich is adept at putting the Buddha's teachings into perspective: with particular emphasis on the Brahmanical-Vedic influence on the Buddha's thinking and His usage of the extant terminology of these philosophies to create his own soteriology.
Highly recommended, particularly if you consider yourself to be well-versed and knowledgeable about the Buddha's teachings; you may
...more
Ellison
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written in a style that is somehow both academic and avuncular. I found it irritating at first but by the half way point it became enjoyable. He often seems to go around the block to get next door but he is writing about the neighborhood and the architecture of the times not just about the Buddha’s house.
It deepened my understanding of the concept of karma and its central role in Buddhism:
‘For the Buddha, the most important thing about living beings was their moral aspect, their karma. Though
...more
Serdar
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ambitious and expertly-argued look at the Buddha in, and out of, his historical context.

http://www.genjipress.com/2012/01/wha...
...more
Bethany
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Buddha said that just as the ocean has only one flavour, that of salt, his teaching had only one flavour, that of liberation. While the comparison strikes as a natural one to make, the Buddha and his audiences lived very far from the ocean.'

An intriguing book as to why the Buddha was one of the greatest thinkers. Sometimes I found the language difficult to fully comprehend, however the information and detail included was wonderful. It was also really refreshing to read a book about Buddhism
...more
Barnaby
The introduction was full of interesting ideas, but it become too technical for me from chapter 7 onwards.
Jessica Zu
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leisure, diss
Simply the best! I've never known the Buddha as a satirist! But he is! Read this book then you'll know why.
Thiago Silva
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddhism-studies
This is a good book to read if one is interested in understanding early buddhism (and what the Buddha taught/thought). It is easier if the reader is familiar with scholar language. But I advise any reader to be cautious and alert to catch where the grains of salt are.

The reason for the caution is twofold: first, this is a scholar author writing about buddhism from the point of view of research (if the reader can't scrutinize the evidences, he/she is left with "believing" instead of "knowing"). S
...more
Neil Hayes
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Richard Gombrichs's insight into how the original Buddhist texts should be translated is precious. He uses his deep knowledge of life in ancient India, together with mastery of both Pali and Sanskrit, to give insights that are unique and rewarding. He uncovers the wit in the Buddha's teachings, and some valuable links between key concepts that are not available in other sources. In researching my own book on the Buddha's teachings, I referred to this book, and indeed contacted Richrd and found h ...more
Sarah
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting but a bit too academic and detailed for my requirements!
Lisa
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dharma
Not at all what I thought this book would be like. It was a bit to technical and not what I had wanted at the time. There are some solid references and areas that were useful.
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