The issue of saints is a difficult and complicated problem in Buddhology. In this magisterial work, Ray offers the first comprehensive examination of the figure of the Buddhist saint in a wide range of Indian Buddhist evidence. Drawing on an extensive variety of sources, Ray seeks to identify the "classical type" of the Buddhist saint, as it provides the presupposition for, and informs, the different major Buddhist saintly types and subtypes. Discussing the nature, dynamics, and history of Buddhist hagiography, he surveys the ascetic codes, conventions and traditions of Buddhist saints, and the cults both of living saints and of those who have "passed beyond." Ray traces the role of the saints in Indian Buddhist history, examining the beginnings of Buddhism and the origin of Mahayana Buddhism.
"Ray's work has major implications for the understanding of Indian Buddhist history from its origins through the development of Mahayana and helps to make sense of later Buddhist developments, beyond the scope of his subject."--Choice
"Buddhist Saints in India
is an extraordinarily impressive contribution to the study of Buddhism. The breadth of the research it embodies, its wealth of detail, and the rigor with which the argument is developed and sustained throughout distinguish it as the product of many years of careful scholarship....Ray's abundant offering should be considered essential reading for all who are interested in Buddhism and the religious traditions of India, as well as the study of the saints in the world's religions."--The Journal of Religion
"Ray's substantial work surveys an extensive body of primary and secondary sources with an eye toward a fundamental revision of common views about the sociology of the early Buddhist tradition."--History of Religions
..".I think that this is a very significant book that should awaken some important scholarly interest and produce further study in this area."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion