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What the Buddha taught [Unknown Binding]

Walpola Rahula
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 151 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Rev. ed edition (1 Jan 1974)
  • ISBN-10: 0802100562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802100566
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,959,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answered most of my questions about Buddhism 15 May 1999
By A Customer
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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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
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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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best there is... 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent...but leaves key questions unanswered 23 Aug 2009
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 5 April 1999
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book I need 26 Aug 2010
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction 22 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Of all the books I've read on Buddhism this is by far the best. Accessible, clear and concise it explains all the key points of Therevadan Buddhism using quotations from original ancient Buddhist texts. I particularly liked the parts that outlined the Buddha's teachings on his expectations of lay practitioners and how they should apply his teachings - even noting his admiration of lay Buddhists who maintained the cultivation of their faith whilst working and enjoying family lives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best buddhist books 6 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've many Buddhist books - looking for the truth I suppose and have recently felt that I should clear some with the intention of leaving those that really hit the spot. "What the Buddha Taught" is all you really need, it has all the guidance and explanation you could ever want in clear plain language. My advice is to stop accumulating, keep it pure and simple and get this book. Read it slowly, consider and reconsider and then act with compassion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and helpful
Very good book, great for beginners, a lot to learn about every aspect of Buddhism, definitely would recommend to anyone else interested in this area
Published 6 months ago by Sam Mays
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic !
Walpola Rahula Rahula was the authentic deal and he could write perfectly for the Western mind. This means that his book is the perfect introduction to a very rich subject. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Halifax Student Account
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight - interesting read
After returning from a trip to Thailand I wanted to find out more about Buddhism and I bought this book on recommendation. Read more
Published 12 months ago by chrissy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great starter book
It really helps newbies understand Buddhism and what it's really about in a simplistic way that isn't too confusing. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Charlotte Appleby
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and profound
I have been interested in Buddhism for most of my life. Although I have always been familiar with the ideas behind Buddhism I have not attempted any serious study of Buddha's... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for a beginner
I have read several books in an effort to get a general understanding of Buddhism without getting too little information or getting too in depth before wanting to. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Suerte
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
It's a great book. Clearly written and structured, perfect reading for a beginner in Buddhism who expects knowledgable but accessible reading to start with.
Published 19 months ago by Tomasz Fiszer
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING introductory text on Buddhism!
The Ven. Dr. Walpola Sri Rahula has produced one of the best texts I have ever read on Buddhism! There are many out there that incorrectly talk about Buddhism and they also have... Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2012 by Alan Peto
4.0 out of 5 stars What the Buddha Taught Paperback
A very interesting read. Each chapter holds your attention very nicely. I hadn't read anything on Buddhism before this and although some of it was a bit confusing to me, halfway... Read more
Published on 31 July 2012 by Shepo
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and informative
Rahula writes a very informative account of buddhism. One thing I found when trying to research "doctrines" of buddhism (take 'anatta' as example) Rahula's account here in "What... Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2012 by manoftheclothe
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