Basic Teachings of the Buddha

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Paperback
$22.00 US
5.1"W x 7.98"H x 0.52"D  
On sale Aug 14, 2007 | 240 Pages | 978-0-8129-7523-9
| Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
Praise for Basic Teachings of the Buddha:

“In this masterful new commentary on the earliest Buddhist writings, Professor Wallis challenges us with sixteen propositions about human existence itself. Only in this way, he asserts, can modern readers appreciate the Buddha's analysis of the two trajectories facing human beings -- toward pain or toward peace. Wallis offers fresh translations and a reader's guide to sixteen discourses that eloquently illustrate these choices and their implications for our time. All this is introduced by the author's learned reflection on the idiom, meaning, and historical evolution of the Dhamma, Buddha's deepest insights. Glenn Wallis brings wisdom and compassion to this work of scholarship. Everyone should read this book.” -- Christopher Queen, Harvard University

"The Modern West made the Buddha one of its own teachers when the first translations of Pali texts became available in the nineteenth century. This inclusion in The Modern Library of Glenn Wallis’ new and accessible translations of a few of the Buddha’s lectures to his original students, along with Wallis’ elegant guides to how to read these texts, continues this important strand of our cultural history and gives twentieth-first century readers a fresh chance to learn from this teacher to the Modern West." -- Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Siddhartha Gautama (Pali: Siddhatta Gotama) (ca. 480-400 B.C.E.), widely known as “the Buddha” (“the awakened one”), was an Indian mendicant whose lucid instructions on the overcoming of human unease form the basis of Buddhism.

Glenn Wallis has a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard. He is an associate professor of religion at the University of Georgia and teaches applied meditation at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, near Philadelphia. Wallis is the author of Mediating the Power of Buddhas and the translator and editor of the Modern Library edition of The Dhammapada.
Sutta 1

The Hawk

Saku.nagghi Sutta; Sa.myuttanik¯aya 5.47.6

ji

The Buddha related this story to a group of his followers.

Once, in the distant past, a hawk suddenly swooped down and seized a quail. As the quail was being carried away by the hawk, it lamented, “How unfortunate I am, what little merit I possess to have wandered out of my natural habitat into a foreign domain. If I had wandered within my native domain today, within my own ancestral, natural habitat, this hawk would certainly not have been a match for me in battle.”

“What is your native domain, quail? What is your own ancestral, natural habitat?” asked the hawk.

The quail answered, “That clod of earth freshly tilled with a plow.”

Then the hawk, not boasting about its own strength, not mentioning its own strength, released the quail, saying, “Go, quail; but having gone there, you cannot escape me.”

Then the quail, having gone to the clod of earth freshly tilled with a plow, climbed onto the large clod of earth and, standing there, said to the hawk, “Come get me now, hawk, come get me now!”

Now the hawk, not boasting about its own strength, not mentioning its own strength, folded up its wings and suddenly swooped down on the quail. When the quail fully realized that the hawk was coming, it got inside that clod of earth. And the hawk, striking against it, suffered a blow to its chest.

So it is when someone wanders out of his or her natural habitat into a foreign domain. Therefore, do not wander out of your natural habitat into a foreign domain. Death will gain access [1.1]* to the person who has wandered out of his or her natural habitat into a foreign domain, death will gain a footing.

Now, what is for you a foreign domain, outside of your natural habitat? It is the fivefold realm of sensual pleasure [1.2]. Which five? Forms perceptible to the eye, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; sounds perceptible to the ear, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; scents perceptible to the nose, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; tastes perceptible to the tongue, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; tactile objects perceptible to the body, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing. This is for you a foreign domain, outside of your natural habitat. Death will not gain access to the person who lives within his or her native domain; within his or her own ancestral, natural habitat, death will not gain a footing. Now, what is your native domain, your own ancestral, natural habitat? It is the foundation of present-moment awareness [1.3] in four areas [1.4]. What are the four areas? Now, being ardent, fully aware, and mindful, and having put down longing and discontentment toward the world, live observing the body in and as the body, live observing feelings in and as feelings, live observing mind in and as mind, and live observing mental qualities and phenomena in and as mental qualities and phenomena.

ji

This is your native domain, your own ancestral, natural habitat.

* Numbers refer to notes in the Guide.

About

Praise for Basic Teachings of the Buddha:

“In this masterful new commentary on the earliest Buddhist writings, Professor Wallis challenges us with sixteen propositions about human existence itself. Only in this way, he asserts, can modern readers appreciate the Buddha's analysis of the two trajectories facing human beings -- toward pain or toward peace. Wallis offers fresh translations and a reader's guide to sixteen discourses that eloquently illustrate these choices and their implications for our time. All this is introduced by the author's learned reflection on the idiom, meaning, and historical evolution of the Dhamma, Buddha's deepest insights. Glenn Wallis brings wisdom and compassion to this work of scholarship. Everyone should read this book.” -- Christopher Queen, Harvard University

"The Modern West made the Buddha one of its own teachers when the first translations of Pali texts became available in the nineteenth century. This inclusion in The Modern Library of Glenn Wallis’ new and accessible translations of a few of the Buddha’s lectures to his original students, along with Wallis’ elegant guides to how to read these texts, continues this important strand of our cultural history and gives twentieth-first century readers a fresh chance to learn from this teacher to the Modern West." -- Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Author

Siddhartha Gautama (Pali: Siddhatta Gotama) (ca. 480-400 B.C.E.), widely known as “the Buddha” (“the awakened one”), was an Indian mendicant whose lucid instructions on the overcoming of human unease form the basis of Buddhism.

Glenn Wallis has a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard. He is an associate professor of religion at the University of Georgia and teaches applied meditation at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, near Philadelphia. Wallis is the author of Mediating the Power of Buddhas and the translator and editor of the Modern Library edition of The Dhammapada.

Excerpt

Sutta 1

The Hawk

Saku.nagghi Sutta; Sa.myuttanik¯aya 5.47.6

ji

The Buddha related this story to a group of his followers.

Once, in the distant past, a hawk suddenly swooped down and seized a quail. As the quail was being carried away by the hawk, it lamented, “How unfortunate I am, what little merit I possess to have wandered out of my natural habitat into a foreign domain. If I had wandered within my native domain today, within my own ancestral, natural habitat, this hawk would certainly not have been a match for me in battle.”

“What is your native domain, quail? What is your own ancestral, natural habitat?” asked the hawk.

The quail answered, “That clod of earth freshly tilled with a plow.”

Then the hawk, not boasting about its own strength, not mentioning its own strength, released the quail, saying, “Go, quail; but having gone there, you cannot escape me.”

Then the quail, having gone to the clod of earth freshly tilled with a plow, climbed onto the large clod of earth and, standing there, said to the hawk, “Come get me now, hawk, come get me now!”

Now the hawk, not boasting about its own strength, not mentioning its own strength, folded up its wings and suddenly swooped down on the quail. When the quail fully realized that the hawk was coming, it got inside that clod of earth. And the hawk, striking against it, suffered a blow to its chest.

So it is when someone wanders out of his or her natural habitat into a foreign domain. Therefore, do not wander out of your natural habitat into a foreign domain. Death will gain access [1.1]* to the person who has wandered out of his or her natural habitat into a foreign domain, death will gain a footing.

Now, what is for you a foreign domain, outside of your natural habitat? It is the fivefold realm of sensual pleasure [1.2]. Which five? Forms perceptible to the eye, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; sounds perceptible to the ear, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; scents perceptible to the nose, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; tastes perceptible to the tongue, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing; tactile objects perceptible to the body, which are pleasing, desirable, charming, agreeable, arousing desire, and enticing. This is for you a foreign domain, outside of your natural habitat. Death will not gain access to the person who lives within his or her native domain; within his or her own ancestral, natural habitat, death will not gain a footing. Now, what is your native domain, your own ancestral, natural habitat? It is the foundation of present-moment awareness [1.3] in four areas [1.4]. What are the four areas? Now, being ardent, fully aware, and mindful, and having put down longing and discontentment toward the world, live observing the body in and as the body, live observing feelings in and as feelings, live observing mind in and as mind, and live observing mental qualities and phenomena in and as mental qualities and phenomena.

ji

This is your native domain, your own ancestral, natural habitat.

* Numbers refer to notes in the Guide.

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