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Warriors of the CloistersThe Central Asian Origins of Science in the Medieval World$
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Christopher I. Beckwith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155319

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155319.001.0001

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Buddhist Central Asian Invention of the Method

Buddhist Central Asian Invention of the Method

(p.50) Chapter Four Buddhist Central Asian Invention of the Method
Warriors of the Cloisters

Christopher I. Beckwith

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Buddhist Central Asia's invention of the recursive argument method. Some Buddhist teachings, which are found in all Buddhist traditions—indicating that they may be inherited from early Buddhism—contain embedded sets in the form of linked lists, which are suggestive of recursion. The Buddhist fondness for explicitly numbered sets and lists is traditionally ascribed to Siddhārtha Gautama, or Śākyamuni Buddha, himself. The chapter first considers the enduring influence of Hellenism after Alexander's conquest and colonization of Bactria and Gandhāra before presenting examples of the Central Asian Buddhist recursive argument.

Keywords:   recursive argument method, Buddhist Central Asia, Buddhism, linked lists, recursion, numbered sets, Śākyamuni Buddha, Hellenism, Bactria, Gandhāra

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