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Desire, Death and Goodness

The Conflict of Ultimate Values in Theravada Buddhism

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Grace G. Burford

In this provocative study of a very early Buddhist text (the Atthakavagga) and two Theravada commentaries on it, Grace G. Burford highlights the significant differences between the Atthakavagga teaching concerning the ideal goal and the orthodox Theravada understanding of that summum bonum. Guiding the reader through a careful examination of these texts, Dr. Burford argues that - in contrast to the consistent and coherent value system of the Atthakavagga - the normative Theravada value system is split by the inclusion of metaphysical factors in the description of the ultimate goal.