15. Can we Know what the Historical Buddha Taught?

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Rupert Gethin [+-]
University of Bristol
Rupert Gethin is Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. His primary research interest is the history and development of Buddhist thought in the Nikayas and Abhidhamma. He is the author of The Fountains of Buddhism (OUP 1998), The Buddhist Path to Awakening (Oneworld 2001), Summary of the Topics of Abhidhamma and Exposition of the Topics of Abhidhamma with R.P. Wijeratne (Pali Text Society 2002) and Sayings of the Buddha: A Selection of Suttas from the Pali Nikayas (OUP 2008).


In Buddhism in Five Minutes , academic specialists offer answers to over 80 questions about Buddhism that people curious about Buddhism might ask. The questions cover the Buddha, what the Buddha taught, Buddhist monasticism and the role of lay people, the historical development of Buddhism, Buddhist art, Buddhist ethics, Buddhist responses to other religions, and Buddhist thought on contemporary issues. They include: Who is the fat Buddha figure? Can we know what the historical Buddha taught? What is Nirvāṇa? Why do Buddhists meditate? Does Buddhism support gender equality? What is Zen Buddhism? Are Buddhists pacifist? What do Buddhists think about those who are LGBTQI? Are alcohol and drugs ever acceptable to Buddhists? How do Buddhists view Artificial Intelligence? Are there Buddhists in Latin America? Taken together the questions cover most aspects of Buddhist belief and practice in the contemporary world. The collection is sponsored by the UK Association for Buddhist Studies but contributors are drawn from Asia, North America and Latin America, as well as Europe. The questions are answered in accessible, non-specialist language without too many footnotes. Each should take not much more than five minutes to read.

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Gethin, Rupert. 15. Can we Know what the Historical Buddha Taught?. Buddhism in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jan 2022. ISBN 9781800500907. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40752. Date accessed: 27 Feb 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40752. Jan 2022

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