Buddhism

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In 2007, I visited Sarnath, near Varanasi, India, where Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon to his former fellow ascetics.  The tree in the background is a Bodhi tree.


Buddhism is a fascinating religion and philosophy to me.  My Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania was on a Buddhist master, 憨山德清, in the Ming Dynasty of China.  It was later revised and published by the Pennsylvania State University Press in 1979 as A Buddhist Leader in Ming China: The Life and Thought of Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing, 1546-1623.  The book is out of print.  It is hoped that parts of the book will be made available on this website some time in the future.

It is very difficult to understand Buddhism because many divisions and schools have developed in more than 2500 years of history and in different parts of the world.

In my book, I have attempted to trace the development of Buddhist thought from Gautama Buddha in the 6th century BC in India to the 17th century AD in China in terms of the Buddhist beliefs about the six basic questions of ultimate reality; the universe; human existence; suffering, evil, and death; solution to suffering, evil, and death; and the ideal world.  Likewise, I have tried to present Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing’s teachings in terms of the same basic questions.  My general purpose was to show how his life and thought fitted into the grand Buddhist history, how Buddhism might have changed and evolved on the Chinese soil, and how Chinese culture might have been transformed by the religion from India.


 The following PowerPoint Presentation on Buddhism used in my talks may provide a general introduction to Buddhism as a whole.  Since it is a long PDF file with many graphs, it may take one or two minutes to download the file.

     Click here:  Introduction to Buddhism


 The following article “A Buddhist Interpretation of Taoism” was published in a scholarly journal.  It is about Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing’s view about Taoism and also his views about Confucianism and Buddhism.  He attempted to harmonize the three major religions in China with a grand theory in a universalist spirit, but essentially from the Buddhist perspective.

     Click here:  A Buddhist Interpretation of Taoism


 The following article “聽徐頌鵬博士談佛教論生死觀” was written by Mei-Lih Chiang (陳美麗) in Chinese after I gave a talk on Buddhism at the Taiwanese American Senior Society of the Washington DC area.  It was published in the 1999 journal of the Society.

     Click here:  聽徐頌鵬博士談佛教論生死觀

© Sung-Peng Hsu 2011