The Philosophical Context of Gotama's Thought





Document Type

Book Chapter




Recent scholarship has begun to shed some light on the social, cultural, historical, and intellectual contexts in and from which the Buddha and Buddhism arose. This chapter discusses some fundamental problems with the practice of Buddhism. It provides an account of Siddhattha Gotama's intellectual biography by analyzing the philosophical context in and from which his thought and teachings emerged. The idea of rebirth and the idea of karma seem to have been among the most basic insights of the “Indian way” of understanding reality. In fact, they provided the foundation for Gotama's philosophical reflections. Ancient Indians offer three distinct conceptual frameworks or “views” of reality. The first “view” is the understanding of the Dasyus, or the pre-Aryan or “pre-Vedic view” of things. The second Indian “view” is the understanding of the Aryans and the Vedas. The third and final “view” is the post-Vedic understanding of reality.

Published in

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

Citation/Other Information

Stephen J. Laumakis. "The Philosophical Context of Gotama's Thought." In A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy, 13-25, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118324004.ch1.