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The Teachings of Buddha
ISBN 0312195869 / 9780312195861 / 0-312-19586-9
Publisher St Martins Pr
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You know that feeling of serendipity you get when, on the dusty shelves of a used book store, you come across a priceless gem? That's the feeling you get when you open The Teachings of Buddha. Originally published under the title Gospel of Buddha in 1894, it is an artifact of a time when non-Western religions tended to be fit into Christian boxes (e.g., Henry Steel Olcott's The Buddhist Catechism). But The Teachings of Buddha is more than an artifact. It was compiled by Paul Carus, the first American to promote Eastern religions on a grand scale. Carus took pains to bring together the core teachings of Buddhism and present them in a single accessible package. Patterned on the Christian Gospels, it relates the story of the Buddha's life, bringing in the Buddha's sermons, along with parables and stories. Although the familiar package hints at similarities with Christianity, the content is of course the radically different perspective of Buddhism. With the addition of photos of Buddhist art and the Victorian language smoothed over by the new publisher, The Teachings of Buddha is a comfortable read and a great compact collection of core Buddhist sutras. In fact, its previous incarnation was translated into Japanese by Carus's protégé, none other than the immortal D.T. Suzuki. --Brian Bruya [via]