Introduction to the History of Indian Buddhism
The most influential work on Buddhism to be published in the nineteenth century, Introduction à l’histoire du Buddhisme indien, by the great French scholar of Sanskrit Eugène Burnouf, set the course for the academic study of Buddhism, and Indian Buddhism in particular, for the next hundred years. First published in 1844, the masterwork was read by some of the most important thinkers of the time, including Schopenhauer and Nietzsche in Germany and Emerson and Thoreau in America. But a century and a half on, Burnouf’s text has largely been forgotten.
All that changes with Katia Buffetrille and Donald S. Lopez Jr.’s English translation of this foundational text. Reemerging here as a vibrant artifact of intellectual history and as a progenitor of the often colorful genealogy of Buddhist studies, Introduction to the History of Indian Buddhism provides a clear view of how the religion was understood in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Burnouf was an impeccable scholar, and his vision, especially of the Buddha, continues to profoundly shape our modern understanding of Buddhism. Indeed, the work offers a wellspring of still-valuable information and insight into the theory and practice of Buddhism. In reintroducing Burnouf to a new generation of Buddhologists, Buffetrille and Lopez have revived a seminal text in the history of Orientalism.
“At last, after 165 years, a translation of Eugène Burnouf’s magnum opus! Katia Buffetrille and Donald Lopez make available to English readers a work from the infancy of Buddhist scholarship, and enable us to discover its remarkable precociousness, and how much we still have to learn from it.”
Introduction to the Translation, by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
A Note on the Translation
INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF INDIAN BUDDHISM
Table of Contents
Analytical Table of the First Two Memoranda
First Memorandum: General Observations
Second Memorandum: Description of the Collection of the Books of Nepal