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Buddhist philosophy in India and Ceylon, by A. Berriedale Keith ... Oxford, The Clarendon press, 1923. 239, (1, p. 191 cm.
1. Buddha and Buddhism. 2. Philosophy, Hindu.
IN INDIA AND CEYLON
A. BERRIEDALE KEITH, D.C.L., D.LITT.
OF THE INNER TEMPLE, BARRISTER-AT-LAW, AND OF THE SCOTTISH BAR
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Publisher to the University
Printed in England
To attempt a short account of Buddhist Philosophy in its historical development in India and Ceylon is a task beset with difficulties. The literature of the subject is vast in extent, and much of it buried in Tibetan and Chinese translations, which are not likely to be effectively and completely exploited for many years to come. The preliminary, studies, on which any comprehensive summary should be based, have only in a few cases yet been carried out, and Buddhist enthusiasts in England have concentrated their attention on the Pali Canon to the neglect of other schools of the Hinayana and of the Mahāyāna.
To these inevitable difficulties there has been gratuitously added a further obstacle to the possibility of an intelligible view of the progress of Buddhist thought. Buddhism as a revealed religion demands faith from its votaries, and for sympathetic interpretation in some degree even from its students. But it is an excess of this quality to believe, on the faith of a Ceylonese tradition which cannot be proved older than A. D. 400, that the Buddhist Canon took final shape, even in its record of controversies which had arisen among the schools, at a Council held under the Emperor Asoka probably in the latter part of the third century B. C., a Council of which we have no other record, although the pious Emperor has recorded with infinite complacency matters of comparative unimportance. To credulity of this kind it is of negligible importance that the Canon is written in an artificial literary language which is patently later than Asoka, or that the absurdity of the position has been repeatedly demonstrated.
Yet another, and perhaps more serious, defect in the most popular of current expositions of Buddhism is the determination to modernize, to show that early in Buddhist thought we find fully appreciated ideas which have only slowly and laboriously