BUDDHA: The Quest For Serenity by George N. Marshall

BUDDHA: The Quest For Serenity

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A modest popular introduction to Buddhism by means of a biography of the Buddha. Marshall, who wrote a valuable life of Albert Schweitzer, has no special expertise in this field. He simply read through translations of various Buddhist scriptures (Arupa Jhane, Maha-Vagga, Dhammapada, etc.), along with the work of a dozen or so modern commentators, and boiled it all down to two hundred pages. A humble job, of the sort that every term-paper writer knows. But in this case the result has a fine transparence which lets the Buddha's message shine through, and offers a potent experience to anyone looking into Buddhism for the first time. It is all so stunningly simple: life is full of pain and anxiety because of selfish desires--eliminate desire and you eliminate the pain. Annihilate the self, and turn in compassion to your fellow man. For the most part Marshall lets his material speak for itself, in an unadorned style without archaisms or modernisms. Every now and then he permits an untoward Gospel echo to slip through ("". . . sufficient unto each day were the needs thereof""), but he properly shuns any hint of stained-glass ""piety."" A book of this sort ought to conclude with suggestions for further reading. Marshall fails to provide any, but he does have a good glossary of Sanskrit and Pali terms, important names, and so on. Highly recommended for the beginner.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Beacon