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Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought, 5th Edition

By Patrick S. Bresnan

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jul 31, 2012

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Provides an overview of the historical development of Eastern traditions of religious and philosophical thought.


Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought engages students with anecdotes, primary and secondary sources, an accessible writing style, and a clear historical approach.


The text focuses on India, China, and Japan, while showing the relationships that exist between Eastern and Western traditions. Patrick Bresnan consistently links the past to the present, so students may see that Eastern traditions, however ancient their origins, are living traditions and relevant to modern times.


Learning Goals

Upon completing this book readers will be able to:

  • Recognize the relationships among the traditions being taught
  • Appreciate the relevance of these traditions to modern times
  • Understand the major issues of interpretation regarding the traditions
  • Speculate about the future of each tradition
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of conflicting teachings

Note: MySearchLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab, please visit: or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MySearchLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205887775 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205887774.

Table of Contents

Found in this section:

1. Brief Table of Contents

2. Full Table of Contents






Part I Hinduism and Related Traditions of South Asia 

Chapter 1 India Before the Vedas 

Chapter 2 Veda and the Vedas 

Chapter 3 Introduction to the Upanishads 

Chapter 4 The Bhagavad Gita 

Chapter 5 Ashtanga Yoga   

Chapter 6 Darshana 

Chapter 7 The Devotional Movement 

Chapter 8 A Millennium of Strife 

Part II Shakyamuni Buddha and the Early Development of Buddhism 

Chapter 9 The Life of Shakyamuni Buddha 

Chapter 10 Basic Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha 

Chapter 11 Theravada Buddhism 

Chapter 12 Mahayana Buddhism 

Part III Non-Buddhist Traditions of East Asia 

Chapter 13 Confucius and Confucianism 

Chapter 14 Daoism 

Chapter 15 Shinto 

Part IV Buddhism in China and Japan 

Chapter 16 Early Buddhism in China 

Chapter 17 Tibetan Buddhism 

Chapter 18 Chan Buddhism 

Chapter 19 Zen Buddhism 


Works Cited 







Part I Hinduism and Related Traditions of South Asia 


Chapter 1: India Before the Vedas 

The Lay of the Land 

South Asia Before the Vedic Age 

The Theory of Indo-Aryan Migrations 

Varna: The Caste System 

The Brahmin Caste 

Questions for Discussion


Chapter 2: Veda and the Vedas 

Yajna: The Vedic Sacrifice 

The Vedic Pantheon 

An Overview of Vedic Cosmology 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 3: Introduction to the Upanishads 

The Sannyasin Tradition 

Key Elements of the Upanishads 

An Overview of Vedanta Cosmology 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 4: The Bhagavad Gita 

The Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata 

The Opening Scene 

The Bhagavad Gita as Metaphor 

The Awakened Person 

Karma Yoga 

Raja Yoga 

Bhakti Yoga 

Questions for Discussion


Chapter 5: Ashtanga Yoga

The General Nature of Yoga

The “Eight Limbs” of Ashtanga Yoga

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 6: Darshana 

The Orthodox Darshanas 

The Heterodox Darshanas 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 7: The Devotional Movement 

The Trimurti 


The Hindu Temple 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 8: A Millennium of Strife 

The Muslim Era 

The Modern

Questions for Discussion


Part II Shakyamuni Buddha and the Early Development of Buddhism 


Chapter 9: The Life of Shakyamuni Buddha 

The Palace Youth 

The Sadhu Years 

The Awakening 

The Teaching Years 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 10: Basic Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha 

The Doctrine of Anatman 

The Four Noble Truths 

The Noble Eightfold Path 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 11: Theravada Buddhism 

The Early Centuries 


Theravada Buddhism 

Questions for Discussion


Chapter 12: Mahayana Buddhism 

Diversity and Religious Elements in Mahayana 

The Nature of Buddha 



The Bodhisattva 

Artistic Expression in Early Mahayana 

Questions for Discussion


Part III Non-Buddhist Traditions of East Asia 


Chapter 13: Confucius and Confucianism 



Other Voices from the Period of a Hundred Philosophers  

Later Developments in the Evolution of Confucianism 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 14: Daoism 

The Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) 

Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tzu) 

Religious Daoism 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 15: Shinto 

The Shinto Creation Story 

The Shinto Shrine and Festival 

Historical Development of Shinto 

Questions for Discussion


Part IV Buddhism in China and Japan 


Chapter 16: Early Buddhism in China 

Buddhism in the Tarim Basin 

Tiantai Buddhism 

Huayan Buddhism (Hua-Yen) 

Pure Land Buddhism 

Persecution and Recovery 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 17: Tibetan Buddhism 

The Establishment of Buddhism in Tibet 

The General Character of Buddhism in Tibet 

A Historical Overview of Buddhism in Tibet 

The First Period: The Era of the Yarlung Empire 

The Second Period: The Sakya Era 

The Third Period: The Era of the Dalai Lama 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 18: Chan Buddhism 


Huineng (Hui-Neng) 

After Huineng 

Questions for Discussion     


Chapter 19: Zen Buddhism 

Japan Before Zen 

Rinzai and Soto Zen 

The Zen Monastery 

Zen and the Arts 

Questions for Discussion


Works Cited 



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