Written by a practicing doctor of Sri Lanka, this book is an unusual presentation of the doctrine upon which Dhamma was established some 2,500 years ago. The author presents an overview of the life and times of the Buddha and his teachings in this compilation of essays to convey the reasons for his doing so.
We already know Dhamma means ?teachings? according to Buddhism and was taught by the Buddha at two levels? mundane for the householder or the uninstructed (puthajjana) and supra mundane for the recluses and disciples of the Buddha who had renounced the world and his duties as a householder. This book seeks to interpret briefly and precisely all the essential concepts in the teaching of the Buddha, with guidance from the writings of the author'smentor called Nanavira Thera. Buddhism is today regarded as the ?fastest spreading way of worship in the West?. The word ?Buddhism? was coined by the British to give a name to the beliefs, practices, rites, rituals, traditions, folklore, texts, art, sculpture and archaeological findings of the Buddha during their colonial period of South-east Asia, chiefly in Burma, Sri Lanka and India, though it had more or less vanished in the India of Queen Victoria.
The book begins with the renunciation of the Buddha, which was recorded in the Pitakas in ?striking bare simplicity?. Buddha'sstruggle to attain enlightenment (samma-sambodhi) lasted six years of enormous striving and self-denial, as was the tradition of those times in the way to spiritual advancement.
The author says that when you read the suttas, you will notice that the Buddha strings his words with incomparable simplicity, orderliness, and completed the sentence so that not one word could be missed out or misplaced without altering its meaning. He would say, ?The 18 kinds of mental exploration should be understood.? He often gave a synopsis on his discourse at the beginning, repeated things in different ways and presented the Dhamma structured and tailored to each occasion. So, it is often said that if anyone has spoken perfectly, it is the Buddha. Before leaving on his last journey, Buddha said, ?Bhikkus, I have now taught you things that I have directly known; these things you should learn thoroughly and maintain in being, develop and constantly put into effect so that this holy life may endure long. Ye should do so for the welfare and happiness of gods and men. And what are these things? They are our stations of mindfulness, the four right endeavours, the four bases of success, the five spiritual faculties, the five spiritual powers, the seven enlightenment factors, and the noble Eightfold Path. I have taught you these things, having directly known them. These you should thoroughly learn?for the good and welfare and happiness of gods and men??
This book gives an insight not only on the teachings of the Buddha, composed from the suttas and related texts, but also a glossary of Pali words used in the Dhamma.
(New Dawn Press, A-59, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi-110 020.)