The Pendulum of Thought

A look at the various philosophies which have guided mankind.

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The Pendulum of Thought

The Pendulum of Thought

Preface

The following pages contain the text of two lectures given by the Ven. Bhikkhu Dhammapāla at the invitation of the Buddhist Brotherhood of the University of Ceylon. The talks aroused very keen interest in the large audience that listened to them and it was felt that their publication in some permanent form would make them available to a wider public and give greater scope for study by seekers after Truth.

The Ven. Bhikkhu Dhammapāla has made a rapid but thorough survey of the different systems of Philosophy which have gained currency in the West from the time of the Greeks up to the twentieth century and he shows in the case of each its fundamental weaknesses. Throughout the ages the pendulum of thought has swung from Idealism to Materialism, now this way now that, but nowhere has it found its stable equilibrium. It is Buddhism alone, with its twin doctrines of anatta, no-Soul, and kamma, action, that can solve the problems which have baffled philosophers from the beginning of the world.

The Ven. Bhikkhu’s obviously intimate knowledge of Western Philosophy, combined with his profound study of the Buddha’s teachings, makes him pre-eminently fitted for the task he has undertaken. He has demonstrated the uniqueness of Buddhism as contrasted with other systems of thought and his comparative study should prove of very great assistance in a proper understanding of the questions involved.

The publication of this volume was made possible only because of the generosity of Mrs. Bhadravati Fernando (Mrs. W.D. Fernando) of Colombo. She undertook to pay the entire cost of the first 500 copies. Further contributions from Mr. P.W. Fernando, Mrs. K.G. Peiris, Mrs. A.E. Dias and Mr. Walter Salgado, all of Panadura, enabled us to increase the number of copies printed. The Buddhist Brotherhood wishes to record its deep gratitude to these friends. The total proceeds from the sale of this book will be credited to the Publication Fund for the issue of similar volumes in the future.

G.P. Malalasekera
The University of Ceylon, 15th December, 1943

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