Book

The Forerunner of All Things

Maria Heim

Published in print October 2013 | ISBN: 9780199331031
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199369386 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199331031.001.0001
The Forerunner of All Things

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This book treats systematically the ethical thought of the fifth-century CE Theravāda Buddhist thinker Buddhaghosa. It focuses on an important equivalence in Buddhist thought that identifies intention (cetanā) as the principal component of action (karma), and how this idea is interpreted in the four main genres of Pāli Buddhist literature: Suttanta, Abhidhamma, Vinaya, and narrative. Attentive to Buddhaghosa’s commentarial guidance in learning how to read each of these genres, it explores canonical and commentarial discussions of intention, agency, and moral psychology. In contrast to many studies that assimilate Buddhist moral thinking to Western theories of ethics, the book attends to distinctively Buddhist ways of systematizing and theorizing its own categories—charting new territory in Buddhist ethics and reading Buddhist commentary.

Keywords: Theravāda; intention; karma; agency; Buddhist ethics; moral psychology; Buddhaghosa; cetanā; Buddhist commentary; Pāli

Book.  256 pages. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Forerunner of All Things

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Constructing Experience in The Forerunner of All Things

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The Work of Intention in The Forerunner of All Things

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Conclusion in The Forerunner of All Things

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