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The Forerunner of All Things – Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Forerunner of All Things: Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency

Maria Heim


This book treats systematically the ethical thought of the fifth-century CE Theravāda Buddhist thinker Buddhaghosa. It focuses on an important equivalence in Buddhist thought that identifies intention (cetanā) as the principal component of action (karma), and how this idea is interpreted in the four main genres of Pāli Buddhist literature: Suttanta, Abhidhamma, Vinaya, and narrative. Attentive to Buddhaghosa’s commentarial guidance in learning how to read each of these genres, it explores canonical and commentarial discussions of intention, agency, and moral psychology. In contrast to many stu ... More

Keywords: Theravāda, intention, karma, agency, Buddhist ethics, moral psychology, Buddhaghosa, cetanā, Buddhist commentary, Pāli

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199331031
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199331031.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Maria Heim, author
Amherst College