The Buddha before Buddhism: Wisdom from the Early Teachings (Paperback)

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Description


This translation of, and commentary on, one of the earliest surviving Buddhist texts reveals the teachings to be remarkable simple and free of religious trappings

One of the earliest of all Buddhist texts, the Atthakavagga, or “Book of Eights,” is a remarkable document, not only because it comes from the earliest strain of the literature—before the Buddha, as the title suggests, came to be thought of as a “Buddhist”—but also because its approach to awakening is so simple and free of adherence to any kind of ideology. Instead the Atthakavagga points to a direct and simple approach for attaining peace without requiring the adherence to doctrine.

The value of the teachings it contains is not in the profundity of their philosophy or in their authority as scripture; rather, the value is found in the results they bring to those who live by them. Instead of doctrines to be believed, the “Book of Eights” describes means or practices for realizing peace. Gil Fronsdal's rigorous translation with commentary reveals the text to be of interest not only to Buddhists, but also to the ever-growing demographic of spiritual-but-not-religious, who seek a spiritual life outside the structures of religion.

About the Author


Gil Fronsdal is co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California. He has practiced Buddhism in both the Zen and Vipassana traditions for over forty years. He received his PhD in religious studies from Stanford University. He has published a highly praised translation of the Dhammapada, as well as two other books: the author of The Issue at Hand: Essays on Mindfulness Practice and A Monastery Within: Tales from the Buddhist Path

Praise For…


“Provocative, unsettling and inspirational, this extraordinary collection of early Buddhist poems reveals a radical vision of human freedom grounded in the non-reactive peace of nirvana.  Gil Fronsdal’s fine translation allows us to hear how the Dharma may originally have been uttered as poetry in the solitude of forests.  In challenging some of the received wisdom of Buddhist orthodoxy, these teachings invite the reader to question deep-seated beliefs about truth itself. “-Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism

“Widely acknowledged as one of the oldest texts in the Buddhist canon, the Aṭṭhakavagga is intriguingly different from other Buddhist scriptures, lacking many of the doctrinal propositions that have come to be associated with Buddhism.  Gil Fronsdal’s fresh new translation, together with illuminating commentaries to each section of the text drawn both from scholarly research and from his many years of meditation practice, will make this classic text come alive for a new generation of readers.”–Jan Nattier, author of A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path according to The Inquiry of Ugra
Product Details
ISBN: 9781611803242
ISBN-10: 1611803241
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication Date: November 29th, 2016
Pages: 192
Language: English