The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism
This book examines the relationship of Buddhism to its locus, the expanding agrartan economy of the Ganga valley during the periocl 600-300 Be. It outlines the cofttours of the major social and economic groups that were the dramatic personae in this dynamic process, especially the Gahapati, whose entrepreneurial role in the economy has not received the attention it deserves. The work explores the emergence of sharp differentiation between those in control of the means of production, who dominated the agrarian scene, and those marginalized groups whose labour was essential to the expanding economy but who remained vulnerable, being excluded from both economic and social power. It also examines the changing political environment and the gradual collapse of the gana-sgnghas in the face of the expanding monarchical formations of the Ganga valley.