The Vision of Buddhism: The Space under the Tree

The Vision of Buddhism: The Space under the Tree

The Vision of Buddhism: The Space under the Tree

The Vision of Buddhism: The Space under the Tree

Synopsis

A lucid and elegant introduction to the essentials of Buddhism. "Every introductory Buddhism course needs just this book". -- Jeffrey Hopkins

Excerpt

One and a half hours by rickshaw from the crowded Hindu pilgrimage town of Gaya in northeast India, a massive stone temple rises two hundred feet above the mud-and-straw cottages of the village of Bodhgaya; to the west of the temple there is a tree, and under the tree there is a space. To this space, it is said, came Prince Siddhartha Gautama, about the year 528 B.C.E., in search of true happiness. He had run away from his kingdom, wife, and family; he had studied under accomplished gurus; and he had nearly killed himself with a severe fast. Nothing had worked, nothing "led to the cutting off of desire." But now, fortified with just sufficient food, his body and mind were functioning smoothly, and he felt that if he sat beneath this tree, resolving not to move "even though flesh should drop from bone," he would break through the tangle of rebirth and become Buddha, the Awoken One. What he saw was at once so intangible and yet so obvious, like the space in which he sat, he at first refused to speak of it, believing it would be a waste of time. The gods, however, persuaded him that there were some beings "with little dust on their eyes" who could understand. Generations of his followers have since tried to wipe the dust from their eyes . . .

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