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What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada Paperback – January 1, 1974


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 151 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Revised edition (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802130313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802130310
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Beneath the enormous umbrella of Buddhism, there is a diverse galaxy of customs and beliefs, but there is also a kernel of truth that every sect holds dear. Rahula Walpola, scholar and monk, discovers this foundation of Buddhism for us first through straightforward explication, never skipping over a point that has yet to be substantiated, then through translations from key scriptures. Logical and focused, these are the essentials of Buddhism; know them first, then move comfortably on to other Buddhist works.

From Library Journal

Rahula is a scholar monk who trained in the Theravadan tradition in Ceylon. His succinct, clear overview of Buddhist concepts has never been surpassed. It is the standard.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to understand Buddhism for any reason.
Carla J. Schultz
Excellent Way to start to understand Buddhism, a book that one should study to realise and digest the basic teachings of the Buddha.
Ayna
Basically, if you've not read this book--regardless of whatever else you may have read--you are assuredly missing something.
Craig Shoemake

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 198 people found the following review helpful By Alan Peto on July 5, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 many incorrect interpretations of the Buddha.

Venerable Rahula does an outstanding job in his correct translations/interpetations of important teachings of Siddhattha.

The reader is introduced to key Buddhist teachings such as:

-The Buddhist attitude of Mind

-The Four Noble Truths (each one having it's own chapter!) And the eightfold path as well as the five aggregates.

-The doctrine of No-Soul: Anatta. This is one of the most important ones and the author talks about how 'self' is incorrectly being introduced by some authors, etc.

-Meditation: Everything from a few 'basic' meditation techniques to such things as why meditate...

-What the Buddha Taught and the World Today: This great section shows how to apply the Buddhas teachings into every day life. There is even the 10 duties of a ruler (Government) which would be great if some politicians read!

And finally there is 'selected texts' which provide even more insight...it was a refreshing thing to read after the chapters and after reading the book it made sense when reading these selected texts!

There is even a Glossary to help you understand words used in Buddhism. In fact throughout the book you are introduced to the correct sayings and words...

All in all you should get this book even if you are already 'into' Buddhism.
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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a clear and concise introduction to the central teachings of Buddhism--the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, no-self (which Rahula calls "no-soul"), and meditation--by a monk and scholar from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It includes translations of selected Buddhist texts and a glossary of Buddhist vocabulary.

When I first read "What the Buddha Taught" in college, it helped spark my interest in Buddhist practice, and one bit in particular has fundamentally shaped my approach to life and religion (Christianity as well as Buddhism): the story of the man wounded by a poisoned arrow, a parable illustrating the Buddha's utter noninterest in metaphysical speculation and his pragmatic and compassionate focus on liberation from suffering.

I'd also recommend "Awakening the Buddha Within," an introduction to Buddhist teachings by Lama Surya Das, an American teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. (If you're looking for a "how to" book on meditation, I'd recommend "The Three Pillars of Zen.")
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I was a student at Oxford University, England and was given this informative book to read for my studies. I was born into Buddhism and had practiced, even intensely at times, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. So I had good experience going into my class. This book answered and made clear many of the questions I had been pondering for many years. It is the definitive book on Buddhism. The Chair of the Buddhism department at Oxford, use to tell us that "What The Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula will change the way you think about life and Buddhism. It has. I encourage everyone to buy this jewel of a book. It is rare you find a book so masterfully written.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By chris_defusco@hp.com on November 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
Many non-traditional religions in North America have experienced an increase in their membership numbers, not the least of which is Buddhism. For this reason alone, _What the Buddha Taught_ may have a greater pragmatic value today than it did when it was first published in 1959. The principle value of this text is its' descriptive depth on the fundamental and foundational concepts that constitute the religion of Buddhism. Rahula gives a succinct and concise elucidation of the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the doctrine of 'anatta' or no-self. For this reason alone this book is worth owning. However, to leave the discussion at that would be to underestimate its' potential utility. It is obvious that _What the Buddha Taught_ is useful toward the study or understamding of Buddhism, but it is of equal value in the context of camparative religion or in the philosophy of religion. The fundamental concepts of Buddhism can be found in a wide variety of texts, Rahula's unique contribution is via his insight into the ways in which the ancient teachings of Buddhism can be incorporated into the modern world. To this end he devotes the last chapter of this book. A thoughtful addition to this edition, (1974) is the selection of translated Pali texts which enable the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to be understood within the beauty of their original context. In addition, since many of these texts are in the form of parables, they provide an interesting comparative opportunity with traditional Christian biblical parables. An excellent primer for this text is Huston Smith's classic _The Religions of Man_ (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1958) and an excellent in depth follow up text is _Buddhism: The Religion of Analysis_ by Nolan Pliny Jacobson, (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1966).
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Davis on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cycling through the books on Buddhism at the bookstore my eye cought "What the Buddha Tought" which its intrinsic appearance forced it down off the shelf and under my eyes. I've never read slower in my life yet finished in that bookstore that very day. Unlike other books on Buddhism the author used no filliers and personal observation to distract the reader. Instead, quality and the natural sence of Buddhism were abundant in his translations and examples, as if it were the Buddha teaching himself. I have never read a more direct and enriching book on Buddhism before where every page filled in the gaps of unanswered questions I had and leaving me with a sense of completion and a wanting to learn more. I can sure say that my life has been changed today.
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