Who Is the Buddha?

by Sangharakshita

These days the Buddha is everywhere. You can see his image perched on the mantelpiece of TV soaps, gracing the pages of brochures for exotic holidays, and adding a touch of class to the ideal homes of the glossiest magazines. The Buddha has entered Western culture.

His teaching too is in the public eye as film starts and rock musicians, the icons of our society, profess themselves to be Buddhists.

But who is the Buddha? What does it mean to be a Buddhist? Here, a leading Western Buddhist looks at these questions from several angles. We see the Buddha in historical context, as the Indian warrior price who went forth in search of the truth. We see him in the context of the evolution of the human race, in the context of karma and rebirth, in the context of time, and in the context of eternity.

Above all, we meet the Buddha as a man who struggled to understand the mysteries of life, suffering, and death. He won that understanding by transcending human life altogether, and becoming a Buddha — “one who knows, who is awake.”

Because he had the courage to make the journey into the heart of life — and to describe the route he took — anyone prepared to make the effort can attain what he attained. For thousands of years people in the East have been following his path. Now it is the turn of the West.

Paperback, 184 pages
August 1995
List Price: $11.95

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Believe nothing merely because you have been told it… Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to and take it as your guide.
The Buddha



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