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The Essence of Buddhism   By: (1832-1904)

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The Essence of Buddhism by Edwin Arnold is an insightful and thought-provoking exploration of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. In this concise and engaging read, Arnold delves deep into the core principles of this ancient spiritual tradition, making it accessible to both newcomers and those with a deeper understanding.

The book begins by presenting a comprehensive overview of the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical figure who later became known as Gautama Buddha. Arnold skillfully recounts the key events and experiences that culminated in Siddhartha's profound enlightenment, allowing readers to grasp the unique context in which Buddhism originated.

One of the book's greatest strengths is its ability to present complex philosophical concepts in a clear and relatable manner. Arnold navigates through the multifaceted teachings of Buddhism, emphasizing the notion of impermanence and the interconnectedness of all beings. He explores the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which serve as vital stepping stones toward attaining liberation from suffering.

What truly sets this book apart is Arnold's skill in unraveling Buddhist philosophy through the power of storytelling. He makes use of beautifully crafted parables, anecdotes, and quotations from Buddhist scriptures to illustrate his points. These tales bring the teachings to life and offer profound insights that resonate deeply with readers.

Arnold's prose is elegant and poetic, enhancing the overall reading experience. Each paragraph is carefully crafted, allowing the reader to savor every word and reflect on its profound meaning. The author's deep respect and admiration for Buddhism shine through his writing, creating a genuine connection between the reader and the subject matter.

While the book provides an excellent introduction to Buddhism, it also caters to those seeking a more nuanced understanding of the religion. Arnold takes great care in incorporating diverse interpretations and sects of Buddhism, acknowledging and exploring the variations that exist within this vast spiritual tradition.

If there is one aspect that may be considered a drawback, it is the brevity of the book. At times, readers may find themselves yearning for more elaboration on certain topics. However, this brevity can also be seen as an advantage, as it allows for a concise and easily digestible exploration of the essential teachings of Buddhism.

In summary, The Essence of Buddhism is a captivating and illuminating examination of the core principles of this revered religion. Edwin Arnold's masterful storytelling and profound insights make this book an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand the essence of Buddhism. Whether you are a spiritual seeker or a scholar of religion, this book is sure to leave a lasting impression and inspire further exploration into the depths of Buddhist philosophy.

First Page:


Edited by E. Haldeman Julius

The Essence of Buddhism


Copyright, 1922.

Haldeman Julius Company.


I am glad to be permitted thus to say, in a few words of introduction to this well meditated little volume, how pleasant and how profitable an idea it must be considered to have designed and compiled a Buddhist anthology. Selecting his cut and uncut jewels from very various Buddhistic sources, Mr. Bowden has here supplied those who buy and use the book with rubies and sapphires and emeralds of wisdom, compassion, and human brotherhood, any one of which, worn on the heart, would be sufficient to make the wearer rich beyond estimation for a day. The author disclaims any attempt to set forth a corpus of Buddhistic morality and doctrine, nor, indeed, would anything of the kind be possible within such narrow limits; but I rejoice to observe how well and faithfully his manifold extracts from the Sacred Books of India and the East exhibit that ever pervading tenderness of the great Asiatic Teacher, which extended itself to all alike that live... Continue reading book >>

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