The Buddha before Buddhism: Wisdom from the Early Teachings by Gil Fronsdal is now available.
A translation with commentary of one of the earliest of the surviving Buddhist texts, which reveals the teachings to be remarkably simple and free of religious trappings.
The Aṭṭhakavagga, or “Book of Eights,” is believed by scholars to be among the earliest of written Buddhist texts, and in it we find the Buddha’s teaching pared down to its most uncomplicated essence. Gil Fronsdal’s translation and commentary reveals the text’s central concern to be the joy that comes from recognizing and letting go of attachment to the illusory views that create suffering. It’s simple medicine that works for us today as well as it did for the Buddha’s first listeners.
“Provocative, unsettling and inspirational, this extraordinary collection of early Buddhist poems reveals a radical vision of human freedom grounded in the non-reactive peace of nirvana. Gil Fronsdal’s fine translation allows us to hear how the Dharma may originally have been uttered as poetry in the solitude of forests. In challenging some of the received wisdom of Buddhist orthodoxy, these teachings invite the reader to question deep-seated beliefs about truth itself. “-Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism
“Widely acknowledged as one of the oldest texts in the Buddhist canon, the Aṭṭhakavagga is intriguingly different from other Buddhist scriptures, lacking many of the doctrinal propositions that have come to be associated with Buddhism. Gil Fronsdal’s fresh new translation, together with illuminating commentaries to each section of the text drawn both from scholarly research and from his many years of meditation practice, will make this classic text come alive for a new generation of readers.”–Jan Nattier, author of A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path according to The Inquiry of Ugra
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