[pic 1][pic 2][pic 3][pic 4]IntroductionThe teaching of Buddhism can be very complex as it has come through thousands years and vast regions. Through the book, the author, Dr. Rahula aimed to provide a simple and logical introduction of this complex concept to the educated and intelligent readers. Unlike other religion, Buddha is not an incarnatione of God or a prophetr of God, but an ordinary human being like us. Dr. Rahula did not mentioned how the followers worship Buddha nor how great Buddha was, but put the focus on “What the Buddha taught” that shapes the religion. To make it relevant, he quoted lots of the original Pah Texts of Tipitika (Pali Canon), which is one of the major extant branches recognized by scholars and translated them into English in an authentic and direct manner. This book includes the fundamental ideas of Buddhism which includes the Buddha Attitude of mind, the Four Noble Truths, Mediation and the modern world. LanguageSince the target audience is for the well-educated and intelligent readers who are interested in Buddha’s teaching, Dr. Rahula translated all the ancient text into modern English. In order to introduce some of the Buddhism’s language, the author provided some important terms with detail explanation. For example “(I) attraction or enjoyment (assada), (2) evil consequence or danger or unsatisfactoriness (adinava), and (3) freedom or liberation (nissarana).” The high understanding of Buddha’s teaching enabled Dr. Rahula to present the philosophies explicitly without losing the originality. ContentTaken in to consideration that readers may not be Buddhist, Dr. Rahula provided us some background information of Buddha. In this short introduction, it explains us the story of Buddha’s enlightenment. Buddha was born to be the privileged one and was protected from suffering, but he decided to go for a journey to look for the reality of human suffering. Other than this chapter, you can not find any other chapter focusing on Buddha, which proved that Buddhism is not a religion of worship of a god but understanding of what He taught. Before starting with what Buddha taught, the author mentioned about how Buddha thought, which helps readers to get prepared with the mindset and mood to read the following chapters. One of the highlights is “freedom of thought”, which means that we should not depend on other externalities to learn but depending on ourselves to realize of the Truth. The author made several examples to show the humbleness of Buddha who is “the only teacher who did not claim to be other than a human being, pure and simple.” This non-atheistic quality is very different from the western religions as Buddha was not discussing any metaphysical questions about before life and after death. He rather focused on “now”, the experience of ourselves. Therefore, he stating that “doubt” (vicilkiccba) is one of the five Hindrances (nivarana) to enlightenment because in Buddha’s teaching “truth” should come from observation and experience but not “belief”. This argument is well explained by the story of blind Brahmin leading the blind. For those who base on his/her belief to look at the truth is just like the follower of Brahmin and he will never understand the reality. I think Buddha did not intend to attack other religions, but he would like to bring out that “Truth” should be irrelevant to any kind of belief or religion, just like Buddhism.