Pre-sectarian Buddhism

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  └ Theravāda

See also: Early Buddhism

Pre-sectarian Buddhism,[1] also called early Buddhism,[2][3] the earliest Buddhism,[4][5] and original Buddhism,[6] is the Buddhism that existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being.[web 1]

Some of the contents and teachings of this pre-sectarian Buddhism may be deduced from the earliest Buddhist texts, which by themselves are already sectarian.[note 1][note 2][note 3]


Various terms are being used to refer to the earliest period of Buddhism:

Some Japanese scholars refer to the subsequent period of the Early Buddhist Schools as sectarian Buddhism.[2][3]


Pre-sectarian Buddhism refers to Buddhism as existing about one hundred years after the Parinirvana of the Buddha,[citation needed] in the period between the first discourse of Gautama Buddha until the first enduring split in the Sangha.[citation needed] This split occurred, according to most scholars, between the second Buddhist council and the third Buddhist council.[8]

Shortly after the second Buddhist council the first long-lasting schisms occurred in the Sangha. The first post-schismatic groups are often stated to be the Sthaviravada and the Mahasanghika.[note 5]

The shramanic movements[edit]

Early Buddhism was one of the shramanic movements.[9] The time of the Buddha was a time of urbanisation, and saw the growth of the shramana-movement, wandering ascetics who tried to escape samsara.[9][10] The Śramaṇa tradition gave rise to Yoga,[11] Jainism, Buddhism,[12] Ājīvika, and also popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).[13][note 6]

The ideas of samsara, karma and rebirth show a development of though in Indian religions: from the idea of single existence, at the end of which one was judged and punished and rewarded for one's deeds, or karma; to multiple existences with reward or punishment in an endless sries of existences; and then attempts to gain release from this endless series.[14] This release was the central aim of the shramanic movements.[9] Vedic rituals, which aimed at entrance into heaven, may have played a role in this development: the realisation that those rituals did not lead to an everlasting liberation lead to the search for other means.[9]

Contents and teachings of earliest Buddhism[edit]


Scholarly positions[edit]

According to Schmithausen, three positions held by scholars of Buddhism can be distinguished regarding the possibility to extract the earliest Buddhism:[15]

  1. Stress on the fundamental homogeneity and substantial authenticity of at least a considerable part of the Nikayic materials;[note 9]
  2. Scepticism with regard to the possibility of retrieving the doctrine of earliest Buddhism;[note 11]
  3. Cautious optimism in this respect.[note 14]

Textual comparison[edit]

Information on the contents and teachings of the earliest Buddhism cannot be obtained from the existing Buddhist schools, nor the from the Early Buddhist schools, since they were sectarian form the outset.[1][note 1]

One method to obtain information on the oldest core of Buddhism is to compare the oldest extant versions of the Theravadin Pali Canon, the surviving portions of the scriptures of Sarvastivada, Mulasarvastivada, Mahisasaka, Dharmaguptaka and other schools,[22][6] and the Chinese Agamas and other surviving portions of other early canons.[citation needed]}[note 15][note 16]

The oldest texts are the four main nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka,[note 17] together with the main body of monastic rules, the Vinaya Pitaka.[citation needed] Scholars have also claimed that there is a core within this core, referring to some poems and phrases which seem to be the oldest parts of the Sutta Pitaka.[24][note 18]

Resolving inconsistencies[edit]

The reliability of these sources, and the possibility to draw out a core of oldest teachings, is a matter of dispute.[25][26][27][18] According to Tillman Vetter, the comparison of the oldest extant texts "does not just simply lead to the oldest nucleus of the doctrine."[22] At best, it leads to

... a Sthavira canon dating from c. 270 B.C. when the middionary activities during asoka's reign as well as dogmatic disputes had not yet created divisions within the Shtavira tradition.[22]

According to Vetter, inconsistencies remain, and other methods must be applied to resolve those inconsistencies.[22] Exemplary studies are the study on descriptions of "liberating insight" by Lambert Schmithausen,[28] the overview of early Buddhism by Tilmann Vetter,[26] the philological work on the four truths by K.R. Norman,[29] the textual studies by Richard Gombrich,[18] and the research on early meditation methods by Johannes Bronkhorst.[30]

Dhyana and insight[edit]

A core problem in the study of early Buddhism is the relation between dhyana and insight.[26][25][18] The Buddhist tradition has incorporated two traditions regarding the use of jhana.[25] There is a tradition that stresses attaining insight (bodhi, prajna, kensho) as the means to awakening and liberation. But it has also incorporated the yogic tradition, as reflected in the use of jhana, which is rejected in other sutras as not resulting in the final result of liberation.[26][31][18] The problem was famously voiced in 1936 by Louis de La Vallee Poussin, in his text Musila et Narada: Le Chemin de Nirvana.[32][note 19]

Schmithausen, in his often-cited article On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism notes that the mention of the four noble truths as constituting "liberating insight", which is attained after mastering the Rupa Jhanas, is a later addition to texts such as Majjhima Nikaya 36.[28][25][26] Schmithausen discerns three possible roads to liberation as described in the suttas, to which Vetter adds a fourth possibility:[33]

  1. Mastering the four Rupa Jhanas, where-after "liberating insight" is attained;
  2. Mastering the four Rupa Jhanas and the four Arupa Jhanas, where-after "liberating insight" is attained;
  3. Liberating insight itself suffices;
  4. The four Rupa Jhanas themselves constituted the core liberating practice of early buddhism, c.q. the Buddha.[34]

This problem has been elaborated by several well-known scholars, including Tilman Vetter,[26] Johannes Bronkhorst,[25] and Richard Gombrich.[18]

Core teachings[edit]

The Dhamma-cakka-ppavattana sutra[note 20] is regarded by the buddhist tradition as the first talk of the Buddha.[35] Scholars have noted some persistent problems with this view.[36] Originally the text may only have pointed at "the middle way" as being the core of the Buddha's teaching,[35] which pointed to the practice of dhyana.[26] This basic term was extensified with descriptions of the eightfold path,[26] itself a condensation of a longer sequence.[37] Under pressure of developments in Indian religiosity, which began to see "liberating insight" as the essence of moksha,[38] the four noble truths were added, as a description of the Buddha's "liberating insight".[35]

Karma and rebirth[edit]

Bruce Matthews notes that there is no cohesive presentation of karma in the Sutta Pitaka,[39] which may mean that the doctrine was incidental to the main perspective of early Buddhist soteriology.[39] Schmithausen is a notable scholar who has questioned whether karma already played a role in the theory of rebirth of earliest Buddhism.[40][41] According to Schmithausen, "the karma doctrine may have been incidental to early Buddhist soteriology."[42] According to Vetter, the Buddha at first sought "the deathless" (amata/amrta), which is concerned with the here and now. Only after this realization did he become acquanted with the doctirne of rebirth.[43] Bronkhorst disagrees, and concludes that the Buddha "introduced a concept of karma that differed considerably from the commonly held views of his time."[44] According to Bronkhorst, not physical and mental activities as such were seen as responsible for rebirth, but intentions and desire.[45]

Two views on the liberation from samsara can be discerned in the shramanic movements. Originally karma meant "physical and mental activity". One solution was to refrain from any physical or mental activity. The other solution was to see the real self as not participating in these actions, and to disidentify with those actions.[46] According to Bronkhorst, the Buddha rejected both approaches.[45] Nevertheless, these approaches can also be found in the Buddhist tradition, such as the four formless jhanas,[47] and disidentification from the constituents of the self.[48][note 21]


According to Tilmann Vetter, the core of earliest Buddhism is the practice of dhyāna.[26] Vetter notes that "penetrating abstract truths and penetrating them successively does not seem possible in a state of mind which is without contemplation and reflection."[50] Vetter further argues that the eightfold path constitutes a body of practices which prepare one, and lead up to, the practice of dhyana.[51]

According to Bronkhorst, dhyana was a Buddhist invention,[25] whereas Alexander Wynne argues that dhyana was incorporated from Brahmanical practices, in the Nikayas ascribed to Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta. These practices were paired to mindfulness and insight, and given a new interpretation.[52] Kalupahana argues that the Buddha "reverted to the meditational practices" he had learned from Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta.[53] Norman notes that "the Buddha's way to release [...] was by means of meditative practices."[54] Gombrich also notes that a development took place in early Buddhism resulting in a change in doctrine, which considered prajna to be an alternative means to "enlightenment".[55]


According to Johannes Bronkhorst,[25] Tillman Vetter,[26] and K.R. Norman,[54] bodhi was at first not specified. K.R. Norman:

It is not at all clear what gaining bodhi means. We are accustomed to the translation "enlightenment" for bodhi, but this is misleading [...] It is not clear what the buddha was awakened to, or at what particular point the awakening came.[54]

According to Norman, bodhi may basically have meant the knowledge that nibbana was attained,[56][57] due to the practice of dhyana.[54][26]

Bronkhorst notes that the conception of what exactly this "liberating insight" was developed throughout time. Whereas originally it may not have been specified, later on the four truths served as such, to be superseded by pratityasamutpada, and still later, in the Hinayana schools, by the doctrine of the non-existence of a substantial self or person.[58] And Schmithausen notices that still other descriptions of this "liberating insight" exist in the Buddhist canon:

"that the five Skandhas are impermanent, disagreeable, and neither the Self nor belonging to oneself";[note 22] "the contemplation of the arising and disappearance (udayabbaya) of the five Skandhas";[note 23] "the realisation of the Skandhas as empty (rittaka), vain (tucchaka) and without any pith or substance (asaraka).[note 24][59]

Discriminating insight into transiency as a separate path to liberation was a later development.[60][61] This may have been to due an over-literal interpretation by later scholastics of the terminology used by the Buddha,[62] or to the problems involved with the practice of dhyana, and the need to develop an easier method.[63] According to Vetter it may not have been as effective as dhyana, and methods were developed to deepen the effects of discriminating insight.[63] It was also paired to dhyana, resulting in the well-known sila-samadhi-prajna scheme.[63] According to Vetter this kind of preparatory "dhyana" must have been different from the the practice introduced by the Buddha, using kasina-exercises to produce a "more artificially produced dhyana", resulting in the cessation of apperceptions and feelings.[64] It also lead to a different understanding of the eightfold path, since this path does nit end with insight, but rather starts with insight. The path was no longer seen as a sequential development resulting in dhyana, but as a set of practices which had to be developed simultaneously to gain insight.[65]

The eightfold path[edit]

According to Vetter, the description of the Buddhist path may initially have been as simple as the term "the middle way".[26] In time, this short description was elaborated, resulting in the description of the eightfold path.[26] Vetter and Bucknell both note that longer descriptions of "the path" can be found, which can be condensed into the eightfold path.[26][37] One of those longer sequences, from the CulaHatthipadopama-sutta, the "Lesser Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprints", is as follows:[66]

  1. Dhammalsaddhalpabbajja: A layman hears a Buddha teach the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take ordination as a monk;
  2. sila: He adopts the moral precepts;
  3. indriyasamvara: He practises "guarding the six sense-doors";
  4. sati-sampajanna: He practises mindfulness and self-possession (actually described as mindfulness of the body, kdydnussati);
  5. jhana 1: He finds an isolated spot in which to meditate, purifies his mind of the hindrances (nwarana), and attains the first rupa-jhana;
  6. jhana 2: He attains the second jhana';
  7. jhana 3: He attains the third jhana;
  8. jhana 4: He attains the fourth jhana;
  9. pubbenivasanussati-nana: he recollects his many former existences in samsara;
  10. sattanam cutupapata-nana: he observes the death and rebirth of beings according to their karmas;
  11. dsavakkhaya-nana: He brings about the destruction of the dsavas (cankers), and attains a profound realization of (as opposed to mere knowledge about) the four noble truths;
  12. vimutti: He perceives that he is now liberated, that he has done what was to be done.

The four truths[edit]

K.R. Norman concluded that the earliest version of the Dhamma-cakka-ppavattana sutra sutta did not contain the word "noble", but was added later.[29][note 25] Lambert Schmithausen concluded that the four truths were a later development in early Buddhism.[25]

Carol Anderson, following Lambert Schmithausen and K.R. Norman, notes that the four truths are missing in critical passages in the canon,[70] and states:

... the four noble truths were probably not part of the earliest strata of what came to be recognized as Buddhism, but that they emerged as a central teaching in a slightly later period that still preceded the final redactions of the various Buddhist canons.[71]

The four truths probably entered the Sutta Pitaka from the Vinaya, the rules for monastic order. They were first added to enlightenment-stories which contain the Four Jhanas, replacing terms for "liberating insight". from there they were added to the biographical stories of the Buddha:[36]

[I]t is more likely that the four truths are an addition to the biographies of the Buddha and to the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta.[72]

According to both Bronkhorst and Anderson, the four truths became a substitution for prajna, or "liberating insight", in the suttas[73][36] in those texts where "liberating insight" was preceded by the four jhanas.[74] According to Bronkhorst, the four truths may not have been formulated in earliest Buddhism, and did not serve in earliest Buddhism as a description of "liberating insight".[75] Gotama's teachings may have been personal, "adjusted to the need of each person."[74]

This replacement was probably caused by the influence and pressures of the wider Indian religious landscape, "which claimed that one can be released only by some gtruth or higher knowledge."[38]


Warder, in his 1970 publication Indian Buddhism, which predates the discoveries of Norman, Schmithausen, Vetter, Bronkhorst and Gombrich, regards the Bodhipakkhiyādhammā, the 37 factors of enlightenment, to be a summary of the core Buddhist teachings which is common to all schools.[76] These factors are summarized Maha-parinibbana Sutta,[note 26] which recounts the Buddha's last days, in the Buddha's last address to his bikkhus:

Now, O bhikkhus, I say to you that these teachings of which I have direct knowledge and which I have made known to you — these you should thoroughly learn, cultivate, develop, and frequently practice, that the life of purity may be established and may long endure, for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, well being, and happiness of gods and men.

And what, bhikkhus, are these teachings? They are the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four constituents of psychic power, the five faculties, the five powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, and the Noble Eightfold Path. These, bhikkhus, are the teachings of which I have direct knowledge, which I have made known to you, and which you should thoroughly learn, cultivate, develop, and frequently practice.[web 2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Leon Hurvitz: "... stressed that the written canon in Buddhism is sectarian from the outset, and that presectarian Buddhism must be deduced from the writings as they now exist."[1](quote via Google Scholar search-engine)
  2. ^ a b J.W. De Jong: "It would be hypocritical to assert that nothing can be said about the doctrine of earliest Buddhism [...] the basic ideas of Buddhism found in the canonical writings could very well have been proclaimed by him [the Buddha], transmitted and developed by his disciples and, finally, codified in fixed formulas."[5]
  3. ^ a b A.K Warder: "...a reconstruction of the original Buddhism presupposed by the traditions of the different schools known to us."[6]
  4. ^ This kernel of doctrine is presumably common Buddhism of the period "before the schisms of the fourth and third centuries BC. It may be substantially the Buddhism of the Buddha himself."[6]
  5. ^ Collin Cox: "Virtually all later sources agree that the first schism within the early Buddhist community occurred with the separation of the Mahasamghika school, or "those of the great community," from the remaining monks referred to as Sthaviras, or the "elders."".[8]
  6. ^ Flood & Olivelle: "The second half of the first millennium BCE was the period that created many of the ideological and institutional elements that characterize later Indian religions. The renouncer tradition played a central role during this formative period of Indian religious history [...] Some of the fundamental values and beliefs that we generally associate with Indian religions in general and Hinduism in particular were in part the creation of the renouncer tradition. These include the two pillars of Indian theologies: samsara - the belief that life in this world is one of suffering and subject to repeated deaths and births (rebirth); moksa/nirvana - the goal of human existence."[13]
  7. ^ According to A.K. Warder, in his 1970 publication "Indian Buddhism", from the oldest extant texts a common kernel can be drawn out.[16] According to Warder, c.q. his publisher: "This kernel of doctrine is presumably common Buddhism of the period before th great schisms of the fourth and third centuries BC. It may be substantially the Buddhism of the Buddha himself, although this cannot be proved: at any rate it is a Buddhism presupposed by the schools as existing about a hundred years after the parinirvana of the Buddha, and there is no evidence to suggest that it was formulated by anyone else than the Buddha and his immediate followers."[16]
  8. ^ Richard Gombrich: "I have the greatest difficulty in accepting that the main edifice is not the work of a single genius. By "the main edifice" I mean the collections of the main body of sermons, the four Nikāyas, and of the main body of monastic rules."[18]
  9. ^ Well-known proponents of the first position are A.K. Warder[note 7] and Richard Gombrich.[17][note 8]
  10. ^ Ronald Davidson: "While most scholars agree that there was a rough body of sacred literature (disputed)(sic) that a relatively early community (disputed)(sic) maintained and transmitted, we have little confidence that much, if any, of surviving Buddhist scripture is actually the word of the historic Buddha."[19]
  11. ^ A proponent of the second position is Ronald Davidson.[note 10]
  12. ^ Bronkhorst: "This position is to be preferred to (ii) for purely methodological reasons: only those who seek nay find, even if no success is guaranteed."[20]
  13. ^ Lopez: "The original teachings of the historical Buddha are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recover or reconstruct."[21]
  14. ^ Well-known proponent of the third position are J.W. de Jong,[5][note 2] Johannes Bronkhorst[note 12] and Donald Lopez.[note 13]
  15. ^ Warder: "When we examine the Tripitakas of the eighteen schools, so far as they are extant, we find an agreement which is substantial, though not complete. Even the most conservative of the early schools seem to have added new texts to their collections. However, there is a central body of sutras (dialogues), in four groups, which is so similar in all known versions that we must accept these as so many recensions of the same original texts. These make up the greater part of the Sutra Pitaka."[23]
  16. ^ Most of these non-Indian texts are only available in a Chinese translation, with the exception of some individual scriptures found in Nepal, which are composed in Sanskrit.[6] The Gandhāran Buddhist Texts were recovered from Afghanistan. The central body of sutras in these texts is so similar that they are considered to be different recensions of the same text.[6]
  17. ^ The Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya and Anguttara Nikaya
  18. ^ Nakamura: "It has been made clear that some poem (Gāthā) portions and some phrases represent earlier layers [...] Based upon these portions of the scriptures we can construe aspects of original Buddhism [...] Buddhism as appears in earlier portions of the scriptures is fairly different from what is explained by many scholars as earlier Buddhism or primitive Buddhism.[24]
  19. ^ See Louis de La Vallée Poussin, Musial and Narad]. Translated from the French by Gelongma Migme Chödrön and Gelong Lodrö Sangpo.
  20. ^ Sammyuta Nikaya 56:11
  21. ^ According to Bronkhorst, the Buddha's approach was a psychological one. He explains the incorporation of "inactivity asceticism" as effected by followers of the Buddha who misunderstood the Buddha's understanding of karma. Bronkhorst himself asks the question where this different view of karma came from, and speculates that the buddha may have inherited it from his parents, or "modified his views in this respect in the light of the experiences that led to, or constituted, his liberation."[49]
  22. ^ Majjhima Nikaya 26
  23. ^ Anguttara Nikaya II.45 (PTS)
  24. ^ Samyutta Nikaya III.140-142 (PTS)
  25. ^ See also:
    • Anderson (1999):[67] "The appearance of the four noble truths in the introduction, enlightenment, and gerundival sets in the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta provide evidence for Norman's correct conclusion that the teaching was probably not part of the earliest version of the Sutta.[68]
    • Batchelor (2012): "In a 1992 paper entitled "The Four Noble Truths," Norman offers a detailed, philological analysis of The First Discourse, and arrives at the startling conclusion that "the earliest form of this sutta did not include the word ariya-saccaؐ (noble truth)" (Norman 2003: 223). On grammatical and syntactical grounds, he shows how the expression "noble truth" was inexpertly interpolated into the text at a later date than its original composition. But since no such original text has come down to us, we cannot know what it did say. All that can reasonably be deduced is that instead of talking of four noble truths, the text merely spoke of "four.""[69]
  26. ^ DN 10


  1. ^ a b c d Hurvitz 1976.
  2. ^ a b c Nakamura 1989.
  3. ^ a b c Hirakawa 1990.
  4. ^ Gombrich 1997, p. 11-12.
  5. ^ a b c Jong 1993, p. 25.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Warder 1999.
  7. ^ Gombrich 1997, p. 11 -12.
  8. ^ a b Cox 2004, p. 502.
  9. ^ a b c d Samuel 2010.
  10. ^ Norman 1997, p. 28.
  11. ^ Samuel 2008, p. 8.
  12. ^ Svarghese 2008, p. 259-260.
  13. ^ a b Flood 2003, p. 273-274.
  14. ^ Norman 1997, p. 28-29.
  15. ^ Bronkhorst 1993, p. vii.
  16. ^ a b Warder & 1999 inside flap.
  17. ^ Bronkhorst 1997, p. viii.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Gombrich 1997.
  19. ^ Davidson 2003, p. 147.
  20. ^ Bronkhorst 1997, p. vii.
  21. ^ Lopez.
  22. ^ a b c d Vetter 1988, p. ix.
  23. ^ Warder 1999, p. 5.
  24. ^ a b Nakamura 1989, p. 57.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Bronkhorst 1993.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Vetter 1988.
  27. ^ Schmithausen 1990.
  28. ^ a b Schmithausen 1981.
  29. ^ a b Norman 1992.
  30. ^ Bronkhorst 1997.
  31. ^ bronkhorst 1993.
  32. ^ Bronkhorst 1993, p. 133-134.
  33. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxi-xxii.
  34. ^ Vetter & 1988 xxi-xxxvii.
  35. ^ a b c Vetter 1988, p. xxviii.
  36. ^ a b c Anderson 1999.
  37. ^ a b Bucknell 1984.
  38. ^ a b Vetter 1988, p. xxxiii.
  39. ^ a b Matthews 1986, p. 124.
  40. ^ Schmithausen 1986.
  41. ^ Bronkhorst 1998, p. 13.
  42. ^ Schmithausen 1986, p. 206-207.
  43. ^ Bronkhorst 1998, p. 3.
  44. ^ Bronkhorst 1998, p. 16.
  45. ^ a b Bronkhorst 1998, p. 14.
  46. ^ Bronkhorst 1998, p. 13-14.
  47. ^ bronkhorst 1998, p. 14-15.
  48. ^ bronkhorst 1998, p. 15.
  49. ^ bronkhorst 1998, p. 16.
  50. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxvii.
  51. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxx.
  52. ^ Wynne 2007.
  53. ^ Kalupahana 1994, p. 24.
  54. ^ a b c d Norman 1997, p. 29.
  55. ^ gombrich 1997, p. 131.
  56. ^ Norman 1997, p. 30.
  57. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxix, xxxi.
  58. ^ Bronkhorst 1993, p. 100-101.
  59. ^ Bronkhorst 1993, p. 101.
  60. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxxiv-xxxvii.
  61. ^ Gombrich 1997, p. 131.
  62. ^ Gombrich 1997, p. 96-134.
  63. ^ a b c Vetter 1988, p. xxxv.
  64. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxxvi.
  65. ^ Vetter 1988, p. xxxvi-xxxvii.
  66. ^ Bucknell 1984, p. 11-12.
  67. ^ Anderson & 1999 17-20.
  68. ^ Anderson & 1999 20.
  69. ^ Batchelor 2012, p. 92.
  70. ^ Anderson 1999, p. viii.
  71. ^ Anderson 1999, p. 21.
  72. ^ Anderson 1999, p. 17.
  73. ^ Bronkhorst 1993, p. 99-100, 102-111.
  74. ^ a b Bronkhorst 1993, p. 108.
  75. ^ Bronkhorst 1993, p. 107.
  76. ^ Warder 1999, p. 82.


Printed sources[edit]

  • Anderson, Carol (1999), Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths in the Theravada Buddhist Canon, Routledge 
  • Batchelor, Stephen (2012), A Secular Buddhism, Journal of Global Buddhism 13 (2012): 87-107 
  • Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), The Two Traditions Of Meditation In Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 
  • Bronkhorst, Johannes (1998), Did the Buddha Believe in Karma and Rebirth?, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume 21, Number 1, 1998 
  • Bucknell, Rod (1984), The Buddhist to Liberation: An Analysis of the Listing of Stages, The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume 7, 1984, Number 2 
  • Buswell, Robert E. (2004), Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Macmillan 
  • Cox, Collett (2004), Mainstream Buddhist Schools. In: Buswell (ed.), "MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism", Macmillan 
  • Davidson, Ronald M. (2003), Indian Esoteric Buddhism, Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-12618-2 
  • Flood, Gavin; Olivelle, Patrick (2003), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Blackwell 
  • Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), How Buddhism Began, Munshiram Manoharlal 
  • Harrison, Paul (2004), Mahasamghika School. In: Buswell (ed.), "MacMillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism", Macmillan 
  • Hirakawa (1990), History of Indian Buddhism, volume 1, Hawai'i University Press 
  • Hurvitz, Leon (1976), Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma, Columbia University Press 
  • Jong, J.W. de (1993), The Beginnings of Buddhism, The Eastern Buddhist, vol. 26, no. 2 
  • Kalupahana, David J. (1994), A history of Buddhist philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited 
  • Lopez, Donald S. (1995), Buddhism in Practice, Princeton University Press 
  • Matthews, Bruce (1986), Post-Classical Developments In The Concepts of Karma and Rebirth in Theravada Buddhism. In: Ronald W. Neufeldt (ed.), "Karma and rebirth: Post-classical developments", SUNY 
  • Nakamura (1989), Indian Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidas 
  • Norman, K.R. (1992), The Four Noble Truths. In: "Collected Papers", vol 2:210-223, Pali Text Society, 2003 
  • Norman, K.R. (1997), A Philological Approach to Buddhism. The Bukkyo Dendo Kybkai Lectures 1994, School ofOriental and African Studies (University of London) 
  • Schmithausen, Lambert (1981), On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism". In: Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus (Gedenkschrift für Ludwig Alsdorf), hrsg. von Klaus Bruhn und Albrecht Wezler, Wiesbaden 1981, 199-250 
  • Schmithausen, Lambert (1986), Critical Response. In: Ronald W. Neufeldt (ed.), "Karma and rebirth: Post-classical developments", SUNY 
  • Svarghese, Alexander P. (2008), India : History, Religion, Vision And Contribution To The World 
  • Vetter, Tilmann (1988), The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism, BRILL 
  • Warder, A.K. (1999), Indian Buddhism, 3rd edition 
  • Wynne, Alexander (2007), The Origin of Buddhist Meditation, Routledge 


Further reading[edit]

History of Buddhism (general)
  • Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press 
Early Buddhism
  • Schmithausen, Lambert (1981), On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism". In: Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus (Gedenkschrift für Ludwig Alsdorf), hrsg. von Klaus Bruhn und Albrecht Wezler, Wiesbaden 1981, 199-250 
  • Vetter, Tilmann (1988), The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism, BRILL 
  • Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), The Two Traditions Of Meditation In Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publ. 
  • Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), How Buddhism Began, Munshiram Manoharlal 
  • Norman, K.R. (1997), A Philological Approach to Buddhism. The Bukkyo Dendo Kybkai Lectures 1994, School ofOriental and African Studies (University of London) 
  • Wynne, Alexander (2007), The Origin of Buddhist Meditation, Routledge 
Modern understanding
  • Cohen, Robert S. (2006), Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion, Modernity, Routledge 

External links[edit]