Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion, Modernity by Richard Cohen

By Richard Cohen

The majority of books on Buddhism describe the Buddha utilizing the note enlightened, instead of woke up. This bias has led to Buddhism turning into in most cases perceived because the eponymous faith of enlightenment. past Enlightenment is a cosmopolitan learn of a few of the underlying assumptions interested by the research of Buddhism (especially, yet now not completely, within the West). It investigates the tendency of such a lot students to flooring their examine of Buddhism in those specific assumptions in regards to the Buddha’s enlightenment and a selected realizing of faith, that is traced again via Western orientalists to the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation. putting a special emphasis on Indian Buddhism, Richard Cohen adeptly creates a piece that may entice people with an curiosity in Buddhism and India and likewise students of faith and heritage.

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Extra resources for Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion, Modernity (Routledgecurzon Critical Studies in Buddhism)

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Indeed, religion more so than Buddhism, since religiosity has become stereotyped as a universally human trait—even definitive of humanity—while membership in a specific religion is only ever an accident of time and place. Were religion a neutral construction it might not warrant such attention. But as a construction, religion is charged, and charged with a positive polarity. The Dalai Lama was speaking mere common sense when he told an audience in 1996: “there is every reason to appreciate and respect all forms of spiritual practice” since “the purpose of religion .

For Bauer, all Germans were enchained equally by the politics of religious prejudice. The important work was not to liberate Jews from Christian laws, but to liberate all human beings from religious prejudice—to abolish religion itself. Marx argued, in contrast, that Bauer’s solution was superficial: religious freedom does not necessarily translate into political freedom, and the latter is what matters. In the modern secular state (North America being Marx’s principal example), religion is not a matter of public regulation but a private concern of each individual.

There might be a second Buddhism; one that is not a term to denote a vast array of social and cultural phenomena. Like the first Buddhism, this second one might be contingent and even nominal. But unlike the first, its stability will be attributable to a factor intrinsic to Buddhism itself. BR’s introduction tells us, “Buddhism . . ” That is one Buddhism. Later, in the first chapter, BR describes the second Buddhism: Buddhism began with the Awakening of the Buddha . . an event that took place in the fifth or sixth century BCE at Bodhgaya, in the Ganges River plain of northeastern India.

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