Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: Books about original teachings of Buddha

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1

    Books about original teachings of Buddha

    So far most books I've read about Buddhism have been modern ones (meaning written in modern times by some still living author) and mostly about Zen tradition too. However I think looking at the "source" might provide some insights as well, or at least be interesting from the historical perspective, so the question arises.

    Which books / resources would you people recommend for getting best in touch with the original teachings of Buddha? By 'original' in this context I mean like the sutras and stuff that are reputedly derived directly from Siddhartha Gautama's speeches.

    Oh and I don't mean the books have to be hundreds of years old (), just that the contents include the canonical scripture and not just someone's interpretation of them in their own words. I don't mind included commentaries though.

  2. #2
    This is an old thread, but I searched and found it so maybe other people still do, too! Two books I like are Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings and his Awakening of the Heart- it's modern commentary around the old sutras and Buddha-focused writings. I've only read TNH's commentary on the Middle Way Sutra so far, but loved it so much this book is next on my list.

    I also LOVE the Dalai Lama's commentaries, you can find many on Amazon. Look for the sutra commentaries if you want the "old school" more Shakyamuni based works. His Holiness's commentary on the Way of the Bodhisattva is amazing as well, I always go back to it. It's not a Shakyamuni based text but is well worth the read.


  3. #3
    Oh my, this THREAD is almost as old as the original teachings of Buddha themselves!

    Of course, nobody is quite sure what were the Buddha's "original teachings" some 2500 years ago, as they were not even written down for a few hundred years ... while being passed down orally and embellished along the way. What is more, I sometimes describe Gautama Buddha as something like the "Wright Brothers" or "Henry Ford", and Buddhism did evolve and develop ... and even was greatly tuned up and improved ... from his basic framework and basic outline over the next millenia.

    However, a couple of other good books are ...

    For a general history of early Buddhism ...

    Buddhist Thought, A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition, Paul Williams and Anthony Tribe. (Jundo: Although meant as an introductory textbook, still wonderfully detailed ... although the writing is poor in places. I recommend this somewhat ahead of the two books by Walpola Rahula and David Kalipahana, for both readability and the presence of less of a personal religious ideology that tends to cloud the impartiality of those other books)

    and the later Mahayana interpretation of "what the Buddha Taught" ...

    Mahayana Buddhism, The Doctrinal Foundations, by Paul Williams

    Both are serious, meaty history books, by the way, and not a light, quick read.

    In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi is a fantastic anthology of the "best of" the Pali Canon. Bhikkha Bodhi's footnotes tend to offer interpretations from his particular flavor of Theravadan Buddhism, but the Sutta's themselves speak to all of us.

    A wonderful attempt at biography based closely on the Pali Canon is the very readable The Life of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Nanamoli.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-19-2012 at 02:39 AM.

  4. #4
    I would really recommend "The Historical Buddha: The Times, Life, and Teachings of the Founder of Buddhism" by H.W. Schumann.
    The best way to honour the women of the Prairies who won the right to vote a hundred years ago isn't a monument. It's you going out to vote.

  5. #5
    Nindo, that sounds interesting. Will give it a try.
    I recommend Walking in the footsteps of the buddha by TNH

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo, Nindo & Rich! I will add those to my growing list! Bona fide bookworm here and a full out nerd in some aspects. The first one, Buddhist Thought, sounds very intriguing.


Similar Threads

  1. False Teachings
    By disastermouse in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 12-26-2011, 12:49 PM
  2. Special Teachings Forum?
    By Grizzly in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 10-01-2010, 04:55 PM
  3. Cryptic Zen Teachings
    By CraigfromAz in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-23-2010, 04:31 AM
  4. What is the real nature of the teacher and the teachings?
    By Taigu in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 10-27-2009, 07:39 AM
  5. a trip to Buddha land and a visit to original face
    By Taigu in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-23-2009, 09:50 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts