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What The Buddha Taught

Product no.: 0-8021-3031-3
Almost since its publication, the definitive introduction to Buddhist doctrine in English.

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Publisher's Synopsis

In 1964, at a time when there were no Theravada temples in the United States, Ven. Rahula became the first Buddhist monk ever to hold a professorship in America, at Northwestern University. The chairman of the Study of Religious History at that prestigious university, Dr. Edmund F. Perry, wrote of the incredible attention Ven. Rahula's teaching attracted, Ven. Rahula's world famous book What the Buddha Taught, has been a staple at American universities now for over 30 years.

The first half of the book is a commentary on the Four Noble Truths, while the latter part introduces some of the basic concepts of Buddhist metaphysics. This edition contains a number of texts from the Buddhist scriptures, including the traditional First Sermon of the Buddha and the Fire Sermon.


“For years, the newcomer to Buddhism has lacked a simple and reliable introduction to the complexities of the subject. Dr. Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught fills the need as only could be done by one having a firm grasp of the vast material to be sifted. It is a model of what a book should be that is addressed first of all to ‘the educated and intelligent reader.' Authoritative and clear, logical and sober, this study is as comprehensive as it is masterly."      ~Journal of the Buddhist Society

"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."      ~Library Journal


"Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration that The monk is your teacher."      ~Anguttara Nikaya, Tika Nipata, Mahavagga, Sutta No. 65, Verse 15

Editor Rahula, Walpola
Author Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama
Commentary Rahula, Walpola
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 151 pp.
Publisher Grove Weidenfeld 1974
Browse these categories as well: Theravada Suttas, Southern Buddhism

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