A Less Traveled Path brings to light unique textual evidence of an important transitional moment in Indian Buddhism. This book includes a critical edition and translation of the second chapter of a third- or fourth-century Buddhist Sanskrit text, the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra, which sheds light on the so-called “Middle Period” of Indian Buddhism. In his introduction, Stuart argues that meditative practice, rhetoric, and philosophy were intimately tied to one another when the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra was redacted, and that it serves as an important historical touchstone for understanding the development of Buddhist mind-centered metaphysics. This development is historically significant because it marks a major shift in Indian Buddhist religious practice, which conditioned the emergence of fully developed Mahāyāna path schemes and power-oriented tantric ritual traditions in the centuries that followed the text’s compilation.
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