One of the world’s oldest and greatest religions, Buddhish–like its companions, Christianity and Islam–has experienced schism and division which scatter its teachings among separate sects, nations and sets of ritual practice. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify common teachings which form the essence of Buddhist belief. This book provides lucid explanations of such fundamental concepts as the Three Treasures, the seals of the law, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the law of causation, and the threefold learning—teachings that all Buddhists honor, which bare the heart of this complicated and magnificently profound religion.
From the Preface:
In its more than twenty-five hundred years of history, Buddhism has acquired an extraordinarily complicated body of doctrines that vary from sect to sect throughout Hinayana and Mahayana, the religion’s two main streams. Grasping all of its content is extremely difficult. In this book, to make entry into the field easier for the inexperienced, I have attempted to cut through sectarian differences and to set forth basic truths common to all Buddhism. My approach is justified since, in its purest form, Buddhism inclines to no particular group or sect but reveals the universal human condition. In this sense, it is the ideal religion for the future. A person who understands its truth, even though he or she Jacks knowledge of special doctrinal terms and vocabulary, cannot fail to see that Buddhism is correct and applicable to all places and times.