The Buddha and the Upanishads
richard.gombrich at BALLIOL.OX.AC.UK
Thu Dec 7 11:00:06 UTC 2006
Dear Jan, Here is a list of some of my publications which show the
Buddha referring to passages in the Upanishads, mainly to the BAU.
Old bodies like carts. Journal of the Pali Text Society, vol. 11:
Recovering the Buddha's message. In Earliest Buddhism and
Madhyamaka. D. Ruegg and L. Schmithausen, editors. Leiden: E.J.
Brill, 5–23, 1990. Reprinted in The Buddhist Forum: Seminar papers
1987-1988. T. Skorupski, editor. London: School of Oriental and
African Studies, University of London, 1: 5–20, 1990.
The Buddha's Book of Genesis? Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 35: 159–
A visit to Brahmå the heron, Journal of Indian Philosophy, v.29,
April 2001, 95–108.
How Buddhism began: the conditioned genesis of the early teachings.
2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2006.
Religious experience in early Buddhism? Eighth Annual BASR Lecture,
1997. British Association for the Study of Religions Occasional Paper
17. Printed by the University of Leeds Printing Service, Leeds .
Kindness and compassion as means to Nirvana. (1997 Gonda Lecture)
Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1998.
I am just completing a set of ten lectures as Numata Visiting
Professor at SOAS in which I draw this material together and add some
more, but I am afraid it will be a while before these lectures are
It is of course perfectly possible that the texts we now have of the
Upanishads were compiled over a long period; I don't see how that
hypothesis could ever be conclusively disproved. However, unless we
subscribe to the view that the Buddha was omniscient and could
therefore respond to texts which would be composed in the future, I
do not understand how his references to important passages in the BAU
etc. can fail to be interpreted as showing that they already existed
when he preached.
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