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Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 30, 1959


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (July 30, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440881
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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And that is why this book is an invaluable companion to anyone interested in Buddhism.
CH
Conze's book has survived many years of use, and still seems to be a very helpful introduction to a massively complex subject: the canon of Buddhist Scriptures.
Will Jerom
One was to train the mind and body through meditation and intellectual and ethical development.
Sorek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jack Arnold on July 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
The translator, Edward Conze, in attempting to include what is common to most Buddhists rather than concentrating on what separates them, has made some difficult choices and has made them well. Though readability is not too highly stressed at the expense of accuracy, the resulting work is accessible to readers of varying education and interest levels. (Given the difficulty of the ideas expressed in many of the selections included, this is no small accomplishment.) I would recommend this book as an introduction to Buddhist thought and as an aid to further study (though I would not necessarily recommend it as an end to the matter for one whose interests tend toward the academic). The glossary and the list of sources included at the end are both quite helpful.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By CH on July 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had been looking for a book that would give me a good overview on the Buddhist sutras, and stumbled upon this one. Initially sceptical, Conze's book turned out to be an indispensible companion which I still refer to contrantly. I am reading it through again the second time, as once is never sufficient to grasp the contents.

The strength of this book is that it keeps external commentaries to a minimum and lets the sutras and scriptures speak for themselves. Where Conze interposes is where the book is weakest, eg in his summary of the "Morality" passages where his own moral standards ultimately impinge on the translation.

Conze is also a good guide to some of the main scriptures and his selection covers a sufficiently wide enough array of topics to provide any reader with a good starting point for understanding Buddhist teachings.

What I found most invaluable was the introduction, which mapped out roughly the timeline of the past and future Buddhas. I have not seen this elsewhere, and here Conze does a good job of putting the historical Sakyamuni Buddha in perspective of the buddhas of the past, in particular Dipankara, and the next Buddha Maitreya.

The selections of the Past Lives and Birth Stories also gives a good overview to the historical Buddha Sakyamuni's past incarnations and his life story, which include many fantastical details which the Western writer has often obliterated in order to make the Buddha more believable to readers, at the expense of His true magnificence (sadly, even our Asian writeups on the Buddha Sakyamuni in English often sidestep the more supernatural aspects of the Buddha and in this way has led to much ignorance even amongst Asians of the greatness of the Buddha's powers).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sorek on June 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book as a primer for beginners, it is an excellent introduction to basic Buddhist texts and sources. I have found this text to be quite useful as a reference work and can recommend it as such. The primary value of this work, as I see it, is in demonstrating the essential elements of Buddhism as a philosophy in development. What the Buddha himself taught, and what his most perceptive students understood, was that there is a way for human beings to consciously guide their own evolution to such a point that greed, hatred, anger and deluded thinking could be minimized or eventually eliminated, taking one beyond the normal conception of what it is to be human. One was to train the mind and body through meditation and intellectual and ethical development. In this way, one could be of greatest benefit to all living beings. Over time, the majority of people wanted or needed the trappings of a religion and the Buddha's teaching, the Dharma, began to acquire the nature of a faith, complete with ritual and lore, stories of miracles, and specialized garments and paraphernalia, just as happened with the original teachings of the Jewish rabbi Jesus whom Paul turned into "Christ." Still, the genius of the Buddha and subsequent Dharma teachers is evident in this volume.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Evseeff (devseeff@ufl.edu) on August 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Conze's book represents a good introduction to the Buddhist tradition by utilizing translations of a number of important works covering a broad range of topics, from the Legend of Shakyamuni Buddha to an excerpt from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Completely comprehensive it is not, but then no single text could ever hope to cover the entire spectrum of the tradition. It does, however, present the beginner with a good introduction to Buddhist doctrine and exposure to some of the most important Buddhist literature available in English translation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sarakani on December 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book works better as an introduction to Buddhism than many popularly available introductions.
A personal selection of well translated material from a real scholar.
It is hard to avoid going back to particular sections for pleasure and reference again and again.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
With this book is very easy know the basics of budhism and her differents traditions around the world. You find zen, theravada, chan, tibetan... and you reading different great masters of the buddhist history. In this times we don't find this quality. I love this book and I need write this) :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leo Rivers on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WARNING!

The "newer version" of this item IS NOT THE SAME BOOK AT ALL!

AMAZON claims that "There is a newer edition of this item:
Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics) Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics) 4.4 out of 5 stars (7)" - IT IS NOT!

That so-called "newer edition of this item" is a completely different collection based on different organizing principals. It is by Donald Lopez (Editor). It is a very worthy book - with excellent new translations placed in a rather useful but limited context - (it has a faint overtone of a a "fairy-tales collection" approach).

Conze's "Buddhist Scriptures" is intended to counterbalance the "philosophy" approach of his classic "Buddhist Texts through the Ages" with a presentation of "Buddhism as a religious life" approach. This "popular Buddhism angle" is the similarity of these 2 texts, one edited by Conze, the greatest translator of 'Perfection of Wisdom Texts' in our century, one edited by Dr. Lopez, a competent very well respected academic. The first half of his "The Heart Sutra Explained" (Suny Series in Buddhist Studies) was of especial interest to me because later commentaries in Tibet and China often present that text within there-own new context for those ideas.
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