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...
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 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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