Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that Buddhaghosa (fifth century ce), the chief commentator and systematizer of the Pali intellectual tradition, brings a distinctively phenomenological orientation to the study of Buddhist categories. He did not take Buddha’s doctrines, particularly the Abhidhamma, as metaphysical or ontological statements about what exists or does not exist, but rather as analytical methods for exploring and transforming human experience. The article demonstrates how his methods work in his treatment of four meditation topics, called the “sublime abidings” (brahmavihāras): loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. These practices collectively depict Buddhaghosa’s phenomenology and psychology of love. They entail a rigorous therapeutic regime of practical methods aimed at bringing about freedom.

Keywords: Buddhaghosa, Abhidhamma, brahmāvihāras, Pali, freedom, loving kindness, joy, compassion, equanimity, Visuddhimagga

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.