By the failure of orthodox science and religion westerners are forced to seek elsewhere for a solution to the problems facing them. Hence the increasing interest in "foreign" religions of very kind among them Buddhism. The latter's all time scientific and religious in the finest sense of the terms for it is an aspect of the wisdom, which unites them both.But while truth is one it may be presented in many forms, and in compiling a reply to the oft-repeated question What is Buddhism? - we have prepared an answer from the Western point of view. Even as water may be poured into differently colored bottles, yet remain the same in each so the teaching of the All-Enlightened One may be presented in a dozen different ways according to the needs of those to whom it is given.
As Buddhism is part of Truth it is to be found in every land and is the property in some degree of every poet, mystic and philosopher. Through out the book, therefore, in quoting others, words as perfectly expressing what we wish to say, we have chosen those of Western writers in addition to the Buddhist Scriptures, to the end that we may show how the Dhamma is no alien philosophy but may be found, in fragmentary form, among the thinkers of the West.
The whole book is in fact a compromise. Compiled by a group composed of many minds of either sex both Schools of Buddhism and a dozen nationalities, it is the "Common denominator" of many often conflicting points of view. Based though it is upon the Thera Vada point of view, it borrows from the Mahayana sufficient of its principles to make once more of the whole the complete philosophy for daily needs which the Buddha gave the world. Again, it is though primarily written for the west, a demonstration to the Members of both Buddhist Schools that truth as always, is to be found in the balanced union of the two. It strives to be at once informative and a spur to individual study and experiment, on the one hand giving a comprehensive outline of the subject, on the other hand repeating what the Buddha taught his followers, that none can truly teach another at the best he can but point the way to Enlightenment.
If, owing to the exigencies of space some statements are presented in dogmatic form, it must be realized that Buddhism asks no man to believe, but merely to accept its principles as reasonable hypotheses until experience has shown them to be true.
Part II which forms the substance of the book, has been arranged in the form of Questions and Answers, the Enquirer being, we hope, a representative of the average cultured Westerner who genuinely seeks a solution to the problems which the religion of his fathers failed to solve.
The Philosophy of Buddhism forms a connected whole and therefore it has proved difficult to resolve it into a reasoned argument, for it has, so to speak, no beginning and no end, but we think such a form of exposition will appeal to the Western mind.
An intellectual understanding of Buddhism is, however, of little avail, for it must be lived before it can be truly known. Any man is entitled to reject its principles as not appealing to him, but only he who has tested them in daily life is competent to say, and none so testing them has ever said, they are not true.
Although the vast majority of men consider themselves to be seekers after Truth, they are but few who welcome it when found. Prejudice, self-interest and mental laziness combine to make the average man prefer his comfortable illusions to the naked truth. Yet some there are who genuinely seek that wisdom of which each religion and philosophy reflects a part, and will not rest until they find it.
To these strong minded fearless few the all Enlightened One proclaimed the Dhamma of salvation by self- effort, and to such we dedicate this genuine attempt to present the West, in simple form with the essence of his Teaching . The Buddhist Society, London.
Back of the Book
"Aiming to curb the tongue
aiming to benefit the world"
Profound thoughts put into perspective
It is an attempt to explain the inexplicable, rocking the very foundations of what we have come to accept as the truth
A book to encourage reflection and inner soul searching
A peek into the windows of your mind to find the real you and exploit the benefits of your newly found knowledge.
The Buddha and his teachings are nothing new and there is little more that can be added to the vast gamut of literature that is already available. It is for this very purpose that the book like this becomes so important, importing information to those who wish to know but have little time or inclination to read through reams of very dry, and sometimes obscure and complex literature.
This book provides the reader with a very concise and lucid explanation of the mystery that is Buddhism. It is not only informative but also a pleasure to read, dealing with the subject in the form of simple questions and easily understood answers.
" Living in the world, and doing no harm to aught that lives"
Fo- pen- hing-tshi-king
. There is a common consciousness which is our own ground and so in consciousness we are one; insofar as you identify yourself with the consciousness that moves and lives in your body, you've identified with that which you share with me."
Joseph Campbell, renowned twentieth century thinker and scholar
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