Building on the author's previous published work, this book focuses on the relationship between identity and perception in early Buddhism, drawing out and explaining the way they relate in terms of experience. It presents a coherent picture of these issues in the context of Buddhist teachings as a whole and suggests that they represent the heart of what the Buddha taught.
This approach and suggestion present early Buddhism in a new light. Moreover, the book seeks to illustrate that it is only if one interprets the texts in the way suggested here that the central teachings of early Buddhism, including dukkha as taught in the Four Noble Truths, anatt (not- self), the khandhas, impermanence and dependent origination can be seen as a coherent whole. The author proposes new interpretations for all these key doctrines, either adding to or suggesting the mistakenness of traditional approaches. In her discussion she draws out reasons why certain unclear or ambiguous teachings were given at all, suggesting that many should be understood as metaphors relating to an overall focus on the nature of experience.;This in turn allows other perplexing or apparently inconsistent teachings to fall into place. Thus while the approach may be unconventional, it offers a way of understanding the early Buddhist material in a more genuinely meaningful way than has hitherto been the case.
This book will be of primary interest to scholars working within all fields of Buddhist studies and anyone with a serious interest in what Buddhism is all about. It will also, however, be of relevance to those whose interests lie within a wide range of subjects, encompassing philosophical enquiry and epistemological issues, comparative religion, ethics, psychology, the history of ideas, and anything to do with personal identity and the nature of human experience.