|The golden Buddha with golden arhats listening to the Dharma (Thai-on/flickr.com)|
|What the Buddha Taught (W. Rahula)|
a modern Buddhist monastery. They are drawn instead to tradition, to "truth," to What the Buddha Taught.
|Meditating deva in gold at Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand (_cFu/flickr)|
|Thailand (Laurence Hunt)|
Nor would it be Ven. Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary: A Manual of Doctrine and Terms, which is written as a series of essays rather than simple entries and serves as an excellent resource.
Nor would it be a catechism. If a person had only one Buddhist book to read, it would have to be:
What the Buddha Taught
|HERE ARE THE CONTENTS:|
CHAPTER I: The Buddhist Attitude of Mind, Human is supreme—One is one's refuge—Responsibility—Doubt—Freedom of Thought—Tolerance—Is Buddhism Religion or Philosophy?—Truth has no label—No blind faith or belief, but seeing and understanding—No attachment even to Truth—Parable of the Raft—Imaginary speculations useless—Practical attitude—Parable of the wounded man, THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS.
CHAPTER II: The First Noble Truth: Dukkha, Buddhism neither pessimistic nor optimistic but realistic—Meaning of "Dukkha"—Three aspects of experience—Three aspects of "Dukkha"—What is a "being"?—Five Aggregates—No spirit opposed to matter—Flux—Thinker and Thought—Has life a beginning?
CHAPTER III: The Second Noble Truth: Samudaya: "The Arising of Dukkha"—Definition—Four Nutriments—Root cause of suffering and continuity—Nature of arising and cessation—Karma and Rebirth—What is death?—What is rebirth?
CHAPTER IV: The Third Noble Truth: Nirodha: "The Cessation of Dukkha'—What is Nirvana?—Language and Absolute Truth—Definitions of Nirvana—Nirvana not negative—Nirvana as Absolute Truth—What is Absolute Truth?—Truth is not negative—Nirvana and Samsara—Nirvana not a result—What is there after Nirvana?— Incorrect expressions—What happens to an Arahant after death?— If no Self, who realizes Nirvana?—Nirvana in this life.
CHAPTER V: The Fourth Noble Truth: Magga: "The Path," Middle Path or Noble Eightfold Path—Compassion and Wisdom—Ethical Conduct—Mental Discipline—Wisdom—Two sorts of Understanding—Four Functions regarding the Four Noble Truths.
CHAPTER VI: The Doctrine of No-Soul: Anatta, What is Soul or Self?—God and Soul: Self protection and Self-preservation—Teaching "Against the Current"—Analytic and Synthetic methods—Conditioned Genesis—Question of Freewill—Two kinds of Truths—Some erroneous views—The Buddha definitely denies "Atman"—The Buddha's silence—The idea of Self a vague impression—Correct attitude—If no Self, who gets the result of Karma?—Doctrine of Anatta not negative...
CHAPTER VII: "Meditation" or Mental Culture: Bhavana, Erroneous views—Meditation is no escape from life—Two forms of Meditation—The Setting up of Mindfulness—"Meditation" on breathing—Mindfulness of activities—Living in the present moment—"Meditation" on Sensations—on Mind—on Ethical, Spiritual, and Intellectual subjects.
CHAPTER VIII: What the Buddha Taught and the World Today, Erroneous views—Buddhism for all—In daily life—Family and social life—Lay life held in high esteem—How to become a Buddhist—Social and economic problems—Poverty: cause of crime—Material and spiritual progress—Four kinds of happiness for laypersons—On politics, war, and peace—Non-violence—The ten duties of a ruler—The Buddha's Message—Is it practical?—Asoka's Example-The Aim of Buddhism
SELECTED TEXTS: Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth (Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta), The Fire Sermon (Adittapariyaya-sutta), Universal Love (Metta-sutta), Blessings (Mangala-sutta), Getting rid of All Cares and Troubles (Sabbasava-sutta), The Parable of the Piece of Cloth (Vatthupama-sutta), The Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana-sutta), Advice to Sigala (Sigalovada-sutta), The Words of Truth (Dhammapada), The Last Words of the Buddha (from the Mahaparinibbanasutta). Abbreviations. Selected Bibliography. Glossary. Index. READ IT