BUDDHISM: Its Doctrines and Its Methods by Alexandra David-Neel

BUDDHISM: Its Doctrines and Its Methods

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Alexandra David-Neel is best known for the many popular works based on her extensive travels in Tibet--products of her utterly eccentric genius (and fine journalistic sense) which blend fact and fantasy, the mundane and the occult. Mme. David-Neel's failure to draw a line between fact and fiction, resulted, however, in one of her more peculiar accomplishments: in no wise a charlatan, she created an extraordinary corpus that has little more value than a charlatan's for serious study. All the more welcome, then, the republication of this little-known 1939 volume--a good, clear, unadorned, and reasonably accurate introduction to the fundamental teachings of the Buddhist religion; no more, no less. Scholars may be disturbed by two weaknesses, inaccurate transcriptions of some Sanskrit and Tibetan terms, and a tendency to interpret the Buddhist mentalist school as solipsism. But this does not affect the lucid discussions of Buddhist approaches to the problems of suffering, causality, spiritual discipline, and liberation which constitute the greater part of the text. Would that the author had presented more of her vast store of knowledge in a similar straightforward form.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's