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The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  265 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
With its origins in ancient India, Buddhism is a system of thought that has enriched the religious lives of billions -- and in more recent times, swept through the Western world as well. Now anyone who wants to learn more about Buddhism can go directly to the source, with this collection of original documents -- edited, with commentary, by a Cornell University professor of ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 1st 1955 by Signet
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Adam Sprague
Feb 23, 2009 Adam Sprague rated it really liked it
First off, I just want to say, that just holding this book and carrying it to work with me made me feel less stressed and more happy. The words inside were a bonus! :P I liked this book so much because it wipes away current religion and goes back to the basics...the first teaching of Buddha.

What happens in society is, as social climates change...religion follows suits...where here what is the first 3/4 of the book is just the scriptures alone so you can make your own judgment...just Buddha's si
Adrienne Stapleton
Jan 14, 2008 Adrienne Stapleton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, own
A good collection of original documents. Through the original works, readers become acquainted with some of the basic precepts of Buddhism, the differences between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, and the eloquent words and teachings of the Buddha often expressed in parables.
Aug 19, 2011 Jordan rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, buddhism, own
Ultimately I feel kind of torn about this book. On the one hand I like that it uses Buddhist writings directly instead of just trying to provide a distilled, simplified summary. The glossary at the back is also helpful for those not familiar with some of the Buddhist terminology, as are the footnotes. The general overview method is nice, but I find it kind of odd that Tibetan Buddhism gets completely neglected. On the other hand, the language was seriously stuffy at points and it was filled with ...more
Jul 22, 2011 James rated it really liked it
An absolutely invaluable guidebook for anyone interested in the history, theory, and practice of Buddhism. This useful volume includes: Gautama Buddha's origin story, the Fire Sermon, several key selections from the Dhammapada, several ancient Buddhist psalms, a glossary of Buddhist terms, and much more. This book is a more than satisfactory read for anyone who wants to begin the practice of Buddhism, or for one who merely wants to educate himself/herself about the Enlightened One and the religi ...more
Frank Jude
Jul 09, 2009 Frank Jude rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: nobody!
Shelves: buddhism
This is not a book I'd recommend to any of my students. The translations are stilted, perfused with western (Christian?) sentiments and often quite boring! It dates from 1955, but the language is not at all 'user friendly.' And for those more interested in an academic survey, there are definitely better collections.

To its credit, it is broad-viewed, and contains texts from most of the important traditions (except for Tibetan/Tantra).
Ben Morrison
this is what i read when there is nothing going on at my job. it makes me want to kill people just a little less.
Jun 15, 2012 Rich rated it it was amazing
Canonical intro to Buddhism
Eric Villalobos
Jun 25, 2014 Eric Villalobos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This book is a collection of translations of texts that expound Buddhist doctrine as it developed over time. It is not a summary of Buddhist doctrine. As such, it could be used as introductory material, but those readers that had absolutely no background in the study of Buddhism would have to rely on the glossary, footnotes,and introductory passages. Even then they would run the risk of finishing a text without fully understanding the significance of what they had read.

The book gains its value
Feb 13, 2013 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Skip the introduction. Anyone with any training in history, anthropology or archaeology will be irritated by the outdated concepts of religion and civilization presented by Burtt in the introduction. Granted, the book was written in the 1950s, but I was still irritated. So then, why read this book? The book provides a great compilation of writings on and by the Buddha. Some of Burrt’s commentary provides an insightful context into the culture and practice. For example, Burrt describes where Ther ...more
Mostly scholarly interpretation but also some canonical stories and poetry. While interesting and occasionally profound, I struggled to finish the book. I suspect there are plenty of other books that illuminate Buddhism in a more modern, approachable way.
Jan 15, 2014 MaryJS rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Brandon Harwood
One of the best introduction to original Buddhist texts. I have used it in class several times, and it was taught to me in several classes.
Alisha G
Feb 19, 2009 Alisha G rated it really liked it
I can't really vouch for its accuracy since my knowledge of Buddhism is limited, but this was a comprehensive and accessible introduction.
Marianne Ogden
This was an interesting book and key to understanding Buddhism.
Mar 15, 2009 Jeanette rated it liked it
hard to read.....but full of good information
Dec 19, 2007 Nathan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nearly anyone
Who doesn't like them some Buddha?
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Edwin Arthur Burtt (1892 – September 6, 1989) was an American philosopher who wrote extensively on the philosophy of religion. His doctoral thesis published as a book under the title The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science has had a significant influence upon the history of science that is not generally recognized, according to H. Floris Cohen. He was educated at Yale University, U ...more
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