Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Beginnings of Buddhist art. 3. Buddhist art in Japan. 4. Buddhist art and architecture. 5. Greco-Buddhist art. 6. Buddhism: a religion or a philosophy? 7. Facets of Buddhist thought. 8. The Buddhist analysis of mind. 9. Buddhist cosmology. Bibliography. Index.
The fifth century B.C. is not so remote a period that it must always elude archeological research: the interval between the death of Buddha and the first information transmitted to us concerning him is not so considerable that we cannot flatter ourselves with the idea of discerning across Buddhism is a historical fact; only it has not yet been completely incorporated into history: sooner or later that will be achieved. Meanwhile its initial period remains, we must confess, passably obscure. To add to our difficulty, the little that we think we know of the social and political state of India in the times of its birth has been learned almost entirely through its medium: thus the frame is no better defined than the picture. But the task, arduous though it may be, is not impossible. It the veritable physionomy of the work, if not-in conformity with the pious, but too tardy wish of later generations the actual features of the worker. This hope is still more confident, and the ambition less audacious, when it is a question of the beginnings of Buddhist art. (jacket)