When this book was first published in 1971, under the title Buddhist Precept and Practice, The Times Literary Supplement Wrote: –This is an epoch-making piece of research which must mark a change in direction and appreciation if it is taken seriously and studied in details. Dr. Gombrich is concerned with religious change in belief and practice, not only in modern times but over the two and a half millennia during which Buddhism has flourished. He concludes that Sinhalese Buddhism has been remarkably conservative and rejects the assumption that it degenerated from an original high standard, by questioning whether it ever was as pure as a superficial reading of classical texts might suggest. It would be very difficult to provide a combination of scholarship and sympathy such as that which pervades Dr. Gombrichês book and makes it a landmark in the study of religion. –Out of print for many years, the book is now republished corrected but substantially unchanged.
Richard Gombrich has been Boden Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford University and Professor Fellow of Balliol College since 1976. He has published 8 books and about 40 articles, mostly on Buddhism. His most recent books are Theravada Buddhism: A social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo and Buddhism Transformed: Religious Change in Sri Lanka; the latter is intended to do for modern Sinhalese Buddhism in the cities what Precept and Practice did for its traditional manifestation in the countryside.
About the Author(s)
Richard Gombrich is Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. From 1976-2004 he was Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University and a Professional Fellow of Balliol College. He has published extensively on early Buddhism and on the history and social study of Theravada Buddhism, particularly in Sri Lanka.