Buddha : his life and teachings by Bhikkhu Nyanatilok ,PDF ebook

Buddha: his life and teachings

Buddha: his life and teachings
Buddha : his life and teachings



Contents of the book:

The gospel of buddha
[part one]
The disciple speaks 9
The enlightenment 1 5
Founding the kingdom 41
The regulations 75
The teacher 112
Parables and stories 1 50
In the last days 182
The word of the buddha
[part two]
The four noble truths 209
The eightfold path 227
Glossary 263


Excerpt from Introduction
The present volume consists of two books that originally were published separately, and which were compiled by their editors with different intentions. Each is a mosaic made up of early Buddhist books, with occasional editorial additions to make for continuous reading. Each is planned to reduce the enormous Buddhist literature into a simplified and organized text. The first of these two books is The Gospel of Buddha by Paul Carus. The title indicates the editor s purpose to compile the life- story and the teachings of Buddha into the equivalent of a New Testament gospel. Part of his purpose is to emphasize the "so many striking coincidences in the philosophical basis as well as in the ethical applications" of Christianity and Buddhism. But the book is actually in the form of a series of stories: first the story of the birth, life, and enlightenment of Prince Siddhattha who renounced the world and became the Buddha; then the stories of the first disciples; the establishment of the order; the first schism; the great questions and Buddha s answers; his parables; and his last days.

Editor Carus notes that Buddhism as a religion in many regions has found the original philosophical vein too cold for wide popular appeal, and has been popularized by the adoption of mythology and a hierarchy of gods and demons. But Carus has generally kept to the purer forms, including only a few miracles and myths which emphasize a moral truth.


The second of the two books is The Word of the Buddha, by a modern German convert who adopted the name Nyanatiloka. Here the purpose of the editor is to assemble and codify the teachings known as the Eightfold Path to Deliverance from Suffering. The book is, therefore, a guide to the practice of Buddhism as a way of life with a philosophic basis, rather than as a religion. according to legend the man who became Buddha, or the Enlightened One, was born a prince, over five hundred years before Christ. He was screened by a doting father from all unhappiness until he was a married man and a father. Then, accidentally, he learned about old age, sickness, and death, and suddenly it was
clear to him that he had been depending on transient things for his happiness.


 He stole away from his home to seek a truth which would not decay, and after a long asceticism which brought him no help, the truth he sought was revealed under the Bodhi tree. He became the Buddha, the Enlightened One. He began to explain the Dharma or Truth. Through many years he preached the Eightfold Path, and the brotherhood of Buddhist monks grew in size and influence. Upon his death, at a great age, he passed into the state of Nirvana, and his disciples (according to legend) recorded his sayings for the sake of future generations.

But it is not certain that the earliest Buddhist books date back twenty-five hundred years to his death. It is certain that Buddha himself never developed theology in our accepted sense; and it is probable that the more we discard from later Buddhist texts all subtleties, complexities, and adornments, the closer we come to the original teacher himself. The narrative of his life has as its principal source the Sanskrit stories of the monk Asvaghosha, which were translated into Chinese in 420 A.D. and from the Chinese into English by Samuel Beale in the Eighteenth Century.

^The picture of Buddha that comes down to us from these sources is that of a sage, who in his understanding wisdom is able to open up in other men s minds a revelation of the nature of life. He is not a god or a man carrying from Heaven a supernatural revelation, to be accepted on faith. He does not speak of a God, a Creator. He does not tell why we live, but how to live. He teaches a way of life, a way to rise above the troubles of life, and finally a way to achieve the ultimate happiness of Nirvana, in which state untroubled peace is combined with the complete opening-up of understanding.



Author: Bhikkhu Nyanatilok 
Translator:  Samuel Beale
Editor: Paul Carus

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