This chapter provides an introduction to the history of Indian Buddhist philosophy set out in the following chapters. It gives an overview of the key factors that shaped the formation of Indian Buddhist thought (arguments, texts, and meditative practices). It also provides some account of the sources of our knowledge of Indian Buddhist philosophical debates (early Buddhist discourses and Mahāyāna sūtras, debates, commentaries, and doxographies) and discusses various methodological and historiographical problems that arise specifically in the context of writing a history of ancient Indian Buddhist philosophy. I discuss in particular the difficulties that the assumption of the objective existence of the past faces when combined with specific Buddhist assumptions about how the past (and therefore history more generally) should be construed.
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