Maria HeimNov 8, 2015
The Forerunner of All Things
Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention and Agency
Oxford University Press 2013
Buddhaghosa, a fifth-century Pali Buddhist scholar or group of scholars, is the most influential commentator in Theravada Buddhist tradition, who has in many respects created the set of ideas we now associate with Theravada Buddhism today. Maria Heim's new The Forerunner of All Things (Oxford University Press, 2013) is one of the few books to explore Buddhaghosa's extremely wide corpus of work on a whole. She focuses on the theme of intention (cetana) to explore how Buddhaghosa articulates a moral psychology very different from modern Western conceptions of ethics that focus on individual choices and decisions. The book is an important work for philosophers in moral psychology as well as students of Theravada.