The vast majority of books on Buddhism describe the Buddha using the word enlightened, rather than awakened. This bias prevails in extraordinary manner, and Buddhism has become generally perceived as being the eponymous religion of enlightenment. This book is a sophisticated study of some of the assumptions underlying and ramifications involved in the study of "Buddhism" (especially, but not exclusively, in the West), and of the tendency of most scholars to ground their study of "Buddhism" in particular assumptions about the Buddha's enlightenment and a particular understanding of "religion", which is traced back through Western orientalists to the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation. Placing particular emphasis on Indian Buddhism, Richard Cohen adeptly creates a work that is of interest to buddhologists, indologists, scholars of comparative religion, and intellectual historians.
Beyond Enlightenment Buddhism, Religion, Modernity, Richard Cohen, Routledge, Paperback, 2006, 237 Pages, $39.95
Richard S. Cohen is Associate Professor of South Asian Religious Literatures at the University of California, San Diego. This is his first book, though he has published numerous articles in such venues as the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and History of Religions. He is now working on a study of Buddhism and counterculture.
1 A Benign Introduction
2 A Place of Exceptional Universal Value
3 A Tale of Two Histories
4 The Anthropology of Enlightenment
5 What Do Gods Have to Do With Enlightenment?
6 A Baroque Conclusion