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Publisher's Summary

Long regarded as one of the best introductions to Buddhism, What the Buddha Taught draws on the actual words spoken by the Buddha to give a lucid and accurate account of the fundamental principles of Buddhist doctrine. Richly supported by extracts from the ancient texts, Walpola Rahula gives clear and direct explanations of Buddhism's essential teachings including:

  • the Buddhist attitude of mind
  • the Four Noble Truths
  • The Noble Eightfold Path
  • meditation and mental development
  • what the Buddha taught and the world today.

What the Buddha Taught also features an illustrative selection of texts from the Suttas and the Dhammapada. The Venerable Dr Walpola Sri Rahula was a Buddhist monk and scholar. He received a traditional training and education in his native Sri Lanka before studying at the University of Calcutta and the Sorbonne. He held a chair at Northwestern University, Illinois, and was Vice-Chancellor of Vidyodaya University, Colombo. He was widely regarded as one of the most qualified and enlightened scholars of the Buddhist tradition with a deep knowledge of the original texts.

©1959 The Estate of Walpola Sri Rahula (P)2016 Dharma Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"By far the best introduction to Buddhism available." (Professor R. F. Gombrich, Boden Professor of Sanskrit, University of Oxford)

What listeners say about What the Buddha Taught

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I thought I understood the Buddha’s teaching until I read this book!

I listen to many podcast and read many books and went to talks at various centers and I even earned a Dharma & Yoga teachers training certification from Spirit Rock but after taking a college Buddhism course that began with a thorough reading and compression of this book I realized right away I understood very little and there is where my complete understanding began. Under the guidance of a teacher was very helpful because with the gap in time period and language there is a lot to chew on however, if your wanting to understand the path this book is the one to begin with. Now I know what Buddhism lineage is ideal for me at this time in my life and why. I understand perspectives of Buddhism teachers like the Dalai Lama or Ajahn Chah or writers such as Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodrin and Tara Brach by being mindful of their chosen lineages. This book is for the lay person that holds interest in learning what the Buddha taught without too much bias opinion from other teachers it’s direct and easy to digest once fully chewed.

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Enlightening

Best Book on Budhas teaching I have read complete and clear gives you a full understanding

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Amazing

The narrator is amazing gives much details on Buddhas teachings and with such emotion

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a book that I wish I discovered much sooner...

even my mom understands what the buddha taught thanks to this book. this is essential reading for anyone curious about the four noble truths.

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Foundational and definitive.

For me this essential book is the definitive collection of the most foundational teachings from the Pali canon. The annotations are clear and concise, the narration is quite pleasant too.

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best treatment of buddhism I've found

to anyone wanting ro explore buddhism, I haven't found a better place to start. I've both read the book and now listened through audible. the audible version is very good.

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Fantastic experience.

I had seen this book recommended on various forums but struggle to find time for reading. As I drive a lot the audio version fits perfectly.

Very well read by the narrator and a pleasure to listen too. I would recommend it to others looking for an introduction into Buddhism.

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Great beginners listen for a deep dive.

Everythi ng about this book was great. The performance , the story and the ease of understanding.

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Very deep and wise Even as old as the teaching are

Very deep and wise Even as old as the teaching are. The Buddha was indeed enlightened. And I can only hope to apply what I have learned. It is truly amazing.

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Good book - i think - just not for audio

this seemed a full and engaging look at Buddhism and its history. however, as an audio book, i found the topics to be too dense and it was difficult to follow and learn. recommend reading it; which i plan to give a try on my next vacation.

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  • Adisha
  • 07-16-17

Beautiful introduction to Buddhism

I thoroughly enjoyed this well-read text. The narrator has a calm peaceful voice that enhances the text. Whilst there are a few mispronounciations of pali words and names of historical characters, this doesn't detract from the author's beautifllly presented, epic work. this id a highly recommended introduction to Buddhism, a way of life that distills many complex texts into an easy to understand reference book. It is worth listening to many times.

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  • GMcCall
  • 11-27-20

Easy for beginners to enjoy

Narrator was excellent. The content was delivered in a meaningful and illuminated way. Thank you.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-13-20

To me an exelent first book on this subject.

Well read and a good text selection allthough sometimes irritatingly repetitive in a probably very authentic way :-) I have nothing to compare it with, but I feel well informed and do not think I need other supplementing books. I may hear this one a few times more.

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  • Coatsie
  • 11-26-17

Truly Enlightening

I have listened to this book over and over again and each time I learn something new. Clear explanations and easy to understand. A great book for anyone wanting to learn more about Buddhism and life in general.

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  • Ilya P.
  • 11-28-18

great book on Buddhism

Great book on Buddhism. Mostly easy to understand for beginners. All tose teachings from 2500 years ago still apply to our life.