Monday, September 19, 2011

Is There A Buddhist Bible

Is There A Buddhist Bible Image
C.C. Liu, A. Wells, P. MacPherson (Wisdom Quarterly)No, there is no Buddhist Bible. But not to worry, for there are many candidates.

(It should be remembered that there never used to be a Christian Bible either. Councils put together an international bestseller by getting rid of most of the gospels, doctrines, stories, and alternative interpretations floating around the ancient world: See what got left out).

If ever one wanted a "Buddhist Bible," there are scriptures, sacred texts, a living oral tradition (of meditation instructions), and commentaries that could be put together into a very Good Book. But to be complete that book -- composed of the Tripitaka (Discourses, Disciplinary rules for monastics, and the Higher Teachings) -- would have to be enormous.

So there is a popular, easy to carry, and easy to enjoy version called the Dhammapada ("Footprint of the Dharma"). It contains hundreds of shorthand verses. These sayings are pearls of wisdom, which are often illustrated and accompanied by their origin stories.

A better Buddhist Bible might be the Nikayas (all the sutras combined). But there are too many. And there's too much repetition, which is useful for chanting but frustrating for reading. Instead, anthologies like In the Buddha's Words serve as condensed treasuries.

Finally, there is a world-famous summary of the Teachings, What the Buddha Taught, that explains a great deal without including sutras. There are also sectarian texts, and now there's even a Buddhist Bible iPhone app.

You also may enjoy this free books:

Isaac Bonewits - Witchcraft A Concise Guide
Aleister Crowley - Liber 060 The Abuldiz Working
Marcus Cordey - Magical Theory And Tradition

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