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Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana (review)

Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana (review) Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana. By Soonil Hwang. London: Routledge, 2006. Pp. xv þ 160. Reviewed by Warren Todd Lancaster University The brevity of Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana seems to belie the potentially immense nature of the title. However, halfway through the brief Introduction to his first major-length publication, Soonil Hwang offers his rationale for limiting the scope of the work by opting to ignore (p. 3), or rather postpone (p. 4), the Mahayana interpretations of nirvana (nirvana). This sets ¯ ¯ ¯ up the much less daunting challenge of tracing the history of nirvana by confining the study to non-Mahayana India. Thus, ``Southern'' is used to designate the Thera¯ ¯ vada and ``Northern'' to refer to the two other major Indian non-Mahayana schools, ¯ ¯ ¯ the Sarvastiva ¯ ¯da-Vaibhasika and the Sautrantika. The reader should also be warned ¯ ¯ that, while it adds intrigue to the history, the author's insistence on calling Buddhaghosa a ``northerner'' (pp. 46, 74) often blurs the just-mentioned distinction. There are those who might believe that lexicographers ought to stay well clear of `nirvana,' a word to be left on http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana (review)

Philosophy East and West , Volume 59 (4) – Oct 25, 2009

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Abstract

Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana. By Soonil Hwang. London: Routledge, 2006. Pp. xv þ 160. Reviewed by Warren Todd Lancaster University The brevity of Metaphor and Literalism in Buddhism: The Doctrinal History of Nirvana seems to belie the potentially immense nature of the title. However, halfway through the brief Introduction to his first major-length publication, Soonil Hwang offers his rationale for limiting the scope of the work by opting to ignore (p. 3), or rather postpone (p. 4), the Mahayana interpretations of nirvana (nirvana). This sets ¯ ¯ ¯ up the much less daunting challenge of tracing the history of nirvana by confining the study to non-Mahayana India. Thus, ``Southern'' is used to designate the Thera¯ ¯ vada and ``Northern'' to refer to the two other major Indian non-Mahayana schools, ¯ ¯ ¯ the Sarvastiva ¯ ¯da-Vaibhasika and the Sautrantika. The reader should also be warned ¯ ¯ that, while it adds intrigue to the history, the author's insistence on calling Buddhaghosa a ``northerner'' (pp. 46, 74) often blurs the just-mentioned distinction. There are those who might believe that lexicographers ought to stay well clear of `nirvana,' a word to be left on

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Oct 25, 2009

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