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The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon Paperback – September 1, 2003
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I wanted a reliable telling of the Buddha's story. I've read several well-known and generally recommended biographies, but I did not get a clear picture of how his teachings motivated others to preserve them accurately. After reading this book I'm a lot more certain that the wisdom we call 'Buddhism' was inspired by the teachings one man -- not an accumulation of teachings that grew willy-nilly from a variety of communities. Readers will be surprised to find a very sparse account of Siddhartha's first 29 years. On the other hand, the few passages Nanamoli is willing to use come straight from Siddhartha. They are very candid stories about a man who left his home because he was restless and unhappy. He clearly did not know what he was looking for. In that light, the stories of the five years preceding Enlightenment make a lot more sense.
2600 years having passed since Siddhartha's lifetime. Most of us Americans have come to Buddhism via less than perfect books and lectures. Nanamoli's book lets us make a connection with the first teacher, so to speak, and this, I think is both refreshing and re-assuring.
To all those interested in study the gradual Vehicle of Sutra (Sutrayana), they should study this "biography" first, because it allows to access the foundational teachings of the first turn of the Wheel of Dharma (Shravakayana / Vehicle of Hearers) .
After this, you maybe want to read Great Disciples of the Buddha: Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy (Teachings of the Buddha) (more readable than the Ñanamoli`s). After these two texts, you will notice that it will be easier understand the Sutta Pitaka.
So I wanted to go straight to the source, kind of hear the words from Buddha himself, without the taints of traditions and changes over the centuries.
Despite of being a non native english speaker I managed to undestand the words, think about the orientations, rules and history.
As others have said yes it's from the canon pali, has some ancient words, but it's the real deal, this book is amazing and I'm loving reading it and understanding the origin of some buddhist traditions.
A must read.
I was reading excerpts of it as I was visiting the place where the episodes took place.
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