Contents: 1. Introduction. 2. The teacher (Buddha). 3. The teaching (Dhamma). 4. The taught (Samgha). Buddhism in India: from the Buddha to Asoka. Buddhism in Asia: from Asoka to Olcott. Buddhism in the world: from Olcott to today. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.
"Today, when political ideologies/’isms’ are crashing and when, at the other end, the great monotheistic religions are trying to survive by turning their backs on logical thinking and intellectual consistency, it might be worthwhile taking a look at the ‘alternatives’ that by-pass the lopsided views of both materialism and idealism—the alternatives that do not have to explain how an omnipotent and all-benvolent God can permit evil, nor how human barbarism can persist doggedly in a progressing world society. And among these alternatives, Gunnar Gallmo rediscovers the oldest existing world religion: the first historically documented case of international (or perhaps non-national) thinking, a teaching that may, more or less, directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, have influenced all later religious, philosophical and political teachings: Buddhism.
From the vast corpus of the oldest preserved texts, Gunnar Gallmo marshals facts around Buddhism—quintessentially, authentically. His book is a well-knit, at once compelling presentation of the teacher (the Buddha), the teaching (Dhamma/Dharma), and the taught (the Samgha/the community) throughout the 2500-year-long history of Buddhism: first in India, then in Asia and, finally, today in the world. And since Buddhism is a religion with an actual historical personage as its founder, the author tries to explore how the enlightened master’s original teaching underwent a change in later tradition, and how the differences between the two have cropped up.
With a glossary of Pali/Sanskrit terms and highly significant bibliographic references, this treasury of facts about Buddhism is bound to fascinate scholars and general readers alike." (jacket)