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Buddha: His Life and Teaching

by Walter Henry Nelson

Buy the book: Walter Henry Nelson. Buddha: His Life and Teaching

Release Date: 28 February, 2000

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Walter Henry Nelson. Buddha: His Life and Teaching

"Be your own lamps, Your own refuge"

This book is a good introduction to Buddha the man. There are times that it drags a bit, but in general it was a fast read and provided the fundamentals of Buddha's life and a beginning understanding of his teachings. I liked the discussion of the Four Noble truths and the Eightfold path which made the teachings straightforward. All to often we get mired in the ennumerable teachings that exist in a religious/ philosophy/ psychology such as Buddhism or Yoga and forget that the purpose of these teachings was to make our lives simple, balanced, honest and it is not all that hard to do. Reading a book like this brings us back to our essence.

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Siddhartha's inner struggle.

In man's "fathom-long body," the Buddha observed, lies the rising of the world and the ceasing of the world. I read this 133-page biography of Siddhartha Gautama today, absorbed, and in a single sitting. (It has been many years since I read Hesse's classic, "Siddhartha," which I also recommend.) Here, Nelson examines the extraordinary life and inner struggle of Siddhartha, from his birth in 563 BCE, to finding enlightenment at age 35, to his final words just before death at age 80, "work out your own salvation through diligence" (p. 120), while also offering an overview of Buddha's teachings. Along the way, Nelson includes many revealing anecdotes about Siddhartha, such as his pre-"Enlightened One" encounter with an injured lamb, whereupon Siddhartha observes that it is "far, far better for a man to comfort even one small animal, than to sit and watch the sorrows of the world, passively among the praying priests" (p.72). I enjoyed reading this book. END

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