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An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Christopher Bartley

An Introduction to Indian PhilosophyAn Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Christopher Bartley

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

This very engaging introduction to Indian Philosophy can be thought of as a series of essays on some of the most prominent schools of thought of ancient Indian philosophy, with each essay being followed up by detailed ‘further readings’ that can be used to explore particular ideas further. While this presentation of the book facilitates an easy introduction to each of the schools of thought, it can have the effect of obscuring the subtle interconnections and derivations within and between them.

Also, the fact that Bartley chose to use Buddhist arguments as the point of departure for defining all the other schools of thought has the unfortunate effect of making them seem overly derivative. In spite of these defects, the books is worth a read, particularly the sections on Sankhya and Nyaya are a discursive delight to read.

The section on Buddhism is a bit stretched out, as it had to be given the nature of the presentation. The section on Mimamsa school is given a slightly simplistic explanation and the earlier and later schools are not delineated enough to give full play to the power of this school of thought, nor are the connections with Sankhya, particularly with Gita, fully explored. The Vedanta school is given a lot of detail and space but without looping back and connecting fully with Sankhya through the upanishadic arguments.

Given the scope of an introductory book, it is perhaps asking too much to address all the nuances but some of the space dedicated to quoting Sankara’s and others’ arguments could have been given over to tracing the differences and similarities between the schools and in showcasing the organic nature of the growth of the entire philosophic edifice.

P.S. Forgive the omission of diacritical marks. Please do google to pick out exact pronunciations.

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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Book Reviews, Books, Philosophy

 

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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki


My Rating★★★★★

 

 

 

If and when you meet The Buddha,
Kill him.
Then come back
And sit.
Sit
In Zazen.
Be.
Enlightenment is there,
Before it arrives.

 

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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Book Reviews, Books, Creative, Philosophy, Poetry, Thoughts

 

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Book Review: Buddha by Karen Armstrong

BuddhaBuddha by Karen Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Armstrong manages to crystallize the disjointed fragments of mythology and history into a coherent powerful narrative. The story progresses without many digressions and mythic overtones and the reader manages to get a rare glimpse into the character, the aspirations, the struggles and the real journey taken by Buddha – the Man; not Buddha – the God.

That is the real achievement of this book: the fact that Armstrong has managed to make the reader feel for and with Gautama as if he were a fellow traveler.

The philosophy is not heavy and is interspersed throughout the text, thus making it very accessible and also easy to comprehend due to the contextual nature in which these tenets appear. Armstrong makes sure that the wisdom, the philosophy and the doctrine is passed on to us in the same linear path as Buddha experienced it or conveyed to his followers.

This gradual hand holding that the author does with us helps us ease into the Buddhist way of life and thinking and leaves us with a profound sense of understanding and longing for this amazing path that promises so much and demands so much.

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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Book Reviews, Books, Thoughts

 

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