By James A. Benn
Burning for the Buddha is the first book-length study of the theory and practice of "abandoning the body"(self-immolation) in Chinese Buddhism. It examines the hagiographical accounts of all those who made offerings of their own bodies and places them in historical, social, cultural, and doctrinal context. Rather than privilege the doctrinal and exegetical interpretations of the tradition, which assume the central importance of the mind and its cultivation, James Benn focuses on the ways in which the heroic ideals of the bodhisattva present in scriptural materials such as the Lotus Sutraplayed out in the realm of religious practice on the ground.
James A. Benn is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University. He received a Phd. in Buddhist Studies from UCLA in 2001.
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