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What the Buddha Taught Paperback – 25 Sep 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; New Ed edition (25 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851681426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851681426
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

'By far the best introduction to Buddhism available.' --R.F. Gombrich, Boden Professor of Sanskrit, University of Oxford.

Review

"By far the best introduction to Buddhism available." (R.F. Gombrich - Boden Professor of Sanskrit, University of Oxford)

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First Sentence
Among the founders of religions the Buddha (if we are permitted to call him the founder of a religion in the popular sense of the term) was the only teacher who did not claim to be other than a human being, pure and simple. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 May 1999
Format: Paperback
Walpola's book is beautifully and clearly written. Abundant citations of the Buddha's own words as recorded in the original Pali texts make the reader feel like he's getting "the real story" on Buddhism. Some of it is hard for the western, scientific mind to swallow (eg. the Five Aggregates), and the section on reincarnation was rather vague and unclear compared to the rest of the book. Nonetheless, an extremely useful read, with some beautiful texts and sayings in the appendix.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By D. Martin on 3 July 2002
Format: Paperback
A fantastic book covering the basic elements of Theravada Buddhism through to application in everyday life. Walpola Rahula is a learned Buddhist whose lifelong devotion and studies show clearly in his writing.
While the concepts are simple, re-reading the first few chapters was often necessary to fully understand the more fundemental tennents of Buddhist thought. And with every reading a new gem of insight was discovered. The final chapter was perhaps one of the most refreshing passages I have read in a long time, as the book beautifully illustrates the practical application of Buddhist thought in daily life.
Most inspirational of all, the authors claim that these "Buddhist qualities" belong to neither Buddhist, nor any other faith. The lessons can be applied by all, regardless of faith or observation of ceremonies or sabaths.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By BristolVoyage on 30 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book to introduce you to the basics of Buddhism in simple, easy to understand terms you won't find a better book than this. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Perfect for beginners and Buddhist practitioners who want to get 'back to basics'

An added bonus is that it doesn't just cover the basics such as the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path it also has detailed sections on Meditation, Practical uses of Buddhism in everyday life (which is the very essence of Buddhism) How to become a Buddhist, How to obtain high self-esteem and the last words of the Buddha as well as other insights into this fascinating religion.

If Buddhism interests you and you want a book that doesn't confuse and confound you on the turn of every page, its this one
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By alextorres on 23 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read quite a number of books about Buddhism since becoming interested in it during a holiday to Thailand three years ago and this is the most interesting and useful. For a novice to the Buddhist philosophy, this book is a "best buy".

Like other philosophies/religions that have survived over many centuries, the original teaching of the Buddha has been interpreted differently by different sects such that, like Christianity, Buddhism now has a number of different and distinct teachings. This can be very difficult to navigate for a novice, and this book's value lies in going right back to the original teachings of the Buddha himself, and concentrating on those alone. This will give people a better grounding if, at a future date, they find through their own meditation that another teaching suits them better.

Amongst the aspects that is helpfully clarified in Rahula's book is meditation, about which there seems to be many different approaches and, also, misconceptions. This was a great help to me. Also, the teaching on the "self" or, to be more precise, the absence of "self" was very revealing - I've never seen it better explained.

The book is not without without its faults however: having carefully explained the Buddha's teaching about "no-self" and the non-existence of a "soul" or any other such like entity, Rahula then realises that most novice readers (like me!) would be perplexed about how karma could then "work" through to future lives. The annoyance is, then, that as an answer to the conundrum Rahula just leaves you with a one liner from the Buddha on the conditionality of things which, frankly, has so far left me perplexed!

I guess I'd better look at his selected bibliography for further reading and meditate more!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 April 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was extremely easier to read. I am not an experienced buddhist but this book certainly piqued my intrest. I learned a lot from this book and have chosen to go forward. I highly reccomend this book to anyone who wants to learn about Buddhism. It is easy to read and it will give you the information necessary to start you trip toward enlightenment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LIZZIEB on 26 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
First class book. With so many misinterpreted books around it is good to have an honest, definitive study of the Buddha. Easily read, as deep as you want/need it to be. Highly recommended
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Baxter on 20 July 2009
Format: Paperback
As Professor Gombrich of Oxford University says, this book is "By far the best introduction to Buddhism available." He could have added, for critical thinking people. Written by the Singalese Buddhist monk and scholar Dr Walpola Rahula way back in 1958, it has been reprinted innumerable times.
Reading this book 25years ago lead me, a teacher and student of world religions, to turn to Buddhism, and I continue to note that more recent scholarly works on Buddhism usually quote from this short, readable profound and accurate exposition of the basics of Buddhist teaching and practice. Like all large and ancient religions "Buddhism" is a broad church and there are so many variations that one can get lost. Dr Rahula bases his teachings on the Pali scriptures and Southern Buddhist Therevada teachings which academics agree are as close as we can get to the teaching of the historical Buddha, Siddhattha Gautama.
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