The Thought of the Buddha by Richard Francis Gombrich

- through Fabrice Groult

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In The thought of the Buddha, Professor Richard Gombrich, one of the best specialists in Buddhist studies, maintains that the Buddha is one of the most brilliant and original thinkers of all time, and that his capacity for abstraction was a real intellectual breakthrough. The book presents itself as an introduction to this thought and, thereby, to Buddhism. It demonstrates that by studying the texts, it is possible to find the original thought of the Buddha and to appreciate its coherence and originality by relating it to the historical context of the Brahmanic and Jain traditions. In 2010, the book received the “Outstanding Academic Title” award from the American Library Association. According to Richard Gombrich, the Buddha reinterpreted in an ethical sense the ancient notions of karma and rebirth, and affirmed our individual responsibility in our own destiny. He emphasized the positive values ​​of love and compassion. He used satire and irony regarding the ideas of his time, and metaphor to make his ideas accessible. Moreover, certain key notions of his teaching, such as “the absence of self”, need to be placed in their historical and philological contexts to be clearly understood. This book, remarkable for its depth and erudition, sheds new light on the teaching of the Buddha. It is an essential reference that will fascinate all those interested in Buddhism, philosophy, the history of ideas and religions.

Article published by the Institute of Buddhist Studies (

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Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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