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Faith and Devotion in Theravada Buddhism

by: V.V.S. Saibaba

This is an analytical study of faith (saddha), devotion (bhatti) and worship (puja) in the Theravada school of Buddhism. It elucidates these concepts and deals with their objects, viz., gods in general and Buddha in particular as described in the Pali canonical, post-canonical and comment arial literature.

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ISBN: 9788124603291
Year Of Publication: 2005
Edition: 1st
Pages : xxix, 231
Bibliographic Details : Bibliography; Indices
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Foreword By : Sanghasen Singh
Size: 23 cm.
Weight: 550

Overview

This is an analytical study of faith (saddha), devotion (bhatti) and worship (puja) in the Theravada school of Buddhism. It elucidates these concepts and deals with their objects, viz., gods in general, and Buddha in particular, as described in the Pali canonical, post-canonical and commentarial literature. The first chapter of this book examines the conception of the “the Deities” and “the supernatural”; the attributes, knowledge, powers and functions of Buddhist deities; their role as objects of meditation; how Theravada Buddhism is non-theistic and how its basic concepts are incompatible to the conception of Creator God. The second chapter discusses the special attributes, knowledge, powers and functions of the Buddha in the Theravada literature which establishes His supramundane character and spiritual eminence over gods, arhants and pratyekabuddhas. It throws light on the origins of Buddha’s deification, his docetic conception and other Buddhological speculations which led him to become an object of highest reverence, adoration and devotion. The third chapter outlines the origin, nature and scope of faith and devotion for the Buddha in Theravada literature; how and why he has been regarded as the object of absolute confidence (saddha), recollection and contemplation (buddhanussati), devotion (bhatti) and worship (puja) and thereby viewed as Bhagavan and compassionate Saviour. The book provides an authentic and comprehensive account of faith (saddha) and devotion (bhatti) in Pali canonical and post-canonical literature of Theravada Buddhist School. This work is an invaluable aid to students, teachers and researchers of Pali literature and Buddhist philosophy.

Contents

Foreword — Sanghasen Singh
Preface
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
1. Theravada Conception of Gods and God
Meaning of the Word Deva
Buddha’s Attitude on the Existence of Devas, their Place in his Doctrine
General Characteristics of Deva in Theravada Buddhist Perspective
Devotional Attitude of the Devas of Higher and Lower Status
Recollection and Contemplation on Devas (Devanussati)
A Comparative Study of Some Buddhist Devas
Vedic and Brahmanical Gods
The Buddhist Conception of Creator God, the Absolute and the Supernatural
Theravada Buddhist Criticism of Theism
Doctrinal Points which are Inconsistent and Incompatible with the Conception of Creator
The Chief Purpose of Buddha’s Teaching
2. The Buddha in the Theravada Literature
Meaning of the word ‘Buddha’
The Exalted Personality of the Buddha
The Supernormal Knowledge of the Buddha
Buddha’s Great Compassion
The Supernormal Powers of the Buddha
The Functions of the Buddha
The Supremacy of the Buddha
The Pre-eminence and the Divinity of the Buddha
Buddha as Superman
The Divinity of the Buddha
The Transcendence of the Buddha
Theravada and Docetism
3. Saddha and Bhatti in Theravada Buddhism
Part A – Saddha
The Meaning and Scope of Saddha
Saddha in the Ti-Sarana (Three Refuges)
Means of Cultivation of Saddha
Advantages of Cultivation of Saddha
Disadvantages of Lack of Saddha
Harming the Buddha and its Retribution
Part B – Bhatti
Origins and Meaning of Bhatti in the Pali Canon
Nature and Scope of “Bhatti”
Objectives of Buddha-Bhakti
Acts of Devotion
Advantages of Devotion
Disadvantages of Lack of Devotion
Epilogue
Bibliography
Index of Buddhist Works
Index of Buddhist Words and Proper Names

Meet the Author
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1947
Dr. V.V.S Saibaba (1947-), a Professor at Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, wherefrom he holds his Master’s degree (1973) and Ph.D degree (1985). He was the Head in the Centre for Mahayana Buddhist Studies at Acharya Nagarjuna University (1987-89). He taught Buddhist Sanskrit texts, philosophy of the Buddha, Scriptural readings, Indian philosophy and Shankara Advaita. He has participated in several International and National Conferences and supervised research on Jaina and Buddhist Philosophical texts, Buddhist history, Art, Architecture, Literature, Judaism, Catholic Christianity and Hatha Yoga. He has published the book Facets of Buddhist Philosophy: Theravada and Mahayana; many research papers in International and National Buddhist journals. He was a consulting editor of the Contemporary Who is Who, American Biographical Institute, USA.
Books of V.V.S. Saibaba