How Buddhism Began
* Book: How Buddhism Began. The Conditioned Genesis of Early Buddism. By Richard Gombrich.
Michel Bauwens, 2004:
I had already read a Social History of Theravada Buddhism from the same author, which stressed the feudalization of the religion when it crossed to Sri Lanka.
In these series of lectures, he stresses the embeddedness of its founder in the Vedic society and how he argued with contemporary currents, denying essentialism in favour of processes.
He attempts to show the skillful means of the Buddha, using existing concepts, but transforming them, and often using not only metaphors, but often humour. He then shows how the followers failed to grasp that, and how they became literalistic in their transcriptions and commentaries. He ends by showing how very early on, the proto-Theravadins starting interpreting 'insight' in a intellectual fashion.