Early Buddhism flourished amid buoyant economic conditions and cultural changes in north-eastern India from the fifth century BCE onwards.
This book begins with the apparent inconsistency of Buddhism, a renunciant movement, surviving within a strong urban environment, and draws out some implications.
In spite of the Buddhist ascetic imperative, the Buddha and his monks moved easily through the various levels of society and fitted into the urban landscape they inhabited.
Bailey, Greg, and Ian Mabbett. The Sociology of Early Buddhism. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.