[INDOLOGY] Book announcement: Visions of the Buddha

Eviatar Shulman eviatar.shulman at mail.huji.ac.il
Mon Jan 24 17:34:24 UTC 2022

Dear friends and colleagues,

Apologies for cross-posting. I am pleased to announce the recent
publication of my new book - *Visions of the Buddha: Creative Dimensions of
Early Buddhist Scripture *(OUP, 2021). Please see the description below of
the content, provided by the publisher.

Best wishes,
Eviatar Shulman

*Visions of the Buddha* offers a ground-breaking approach to the nature of
the early discourses of the Buddha, the most foundational scriptures of
Buddhist religion. Although the early discourses are commonly considered to
be attempts to preserve the Buddha's teachings, Shulman demonstrates that
these texts are full of creativity, and that their main aim is to beautify
the image of the wonderous Buddha. While the texts surely care for the
early teachings and for the Buddha's philosophy or his guidelines for
meditation, and while at times they may relate real historical events, they
are no less interested in telling good stories, in re-working folkloric
materials, and in the visionary contemplation of the Buddha in order to
sense his unique presence. The texts can thus be, at times, a type of

Eviatar Shulman frames the early discourses as literary masterpieces that
helped Buddhism achieve the wonderful success it has obtained. Much of the
discourses'  masterful storytelling was achieved through a technique of
composition defined here as the play of formulas. In the oral literature of
early Buddhism, texts were composed of formulas, which are repeated within
and between texts. Shulman argues that the formulas are the real texts of
Buddhism, and are primary to full discourses. Shaping texts through the
play of formulas balances conservative and innovative tendencies within the
tradition, making room for creativity within accepted forms and patterns.
The texts we find today are thus versions--remnants--chosen by history of a
much more vibrant and dynamic creative process.

Prof. Eviatar Shulman
Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Comparative Religion
Member, Department of Asian Studies
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

My new book
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