The Book Talk #16 – What The Buddha Taught

3 min read…

Hey, welcome to the 16th episode of our book series – The Book Talk. If it’s your first time here, check our other posts. In this episode, we’ll discuss What The Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula.

There is a growing interest in Buddhism throughout the world today and I am not an exception. I wanted to explore the teachings of Buddha and find out what Buddhism is all about. This book by Walpola Rahula was a fantastic read and may well be named “Buddhism 101”.

If you are remotely interested in Buddhism, I would highly recommend this book as the narration is straightforward and never gets preachy anywhere.

So, here are the 3 things I liked the most about What The Buddha Taught –

1. Truth needs no label. It is neither Buddhist, Christian, Hindu nor Moslem

“What’s in a name ? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet”

When we see a man, we try to label him by nationality, religion, profession, caste, or colour. When we discriminate him this way, we regard him with all the prejudices associated with that label in our mind. This discrimination is often harmful.

Truth is not a monopoly of anybody. To the seeker of truth, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. If the medicine is good, the disease will be cured. Its source is immaterial. Similarly, any religion or belief can preach the truth, and it must be welcomed.


2. God’ and ‘Soul’ are a creation of and misunderstood by man

“Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection, man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent. For self-preservation, man has conceived the idea of an immortal soul, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically.”

Our ideas of God and Soul are false and empty; They are merely mental projections.


3. The 4 Noble Truths

This is one of the earliest teachings of Buddha, aimed at the ending of the suffering of all beings. The 4 truths are –

1. Suffering

All non-enlightened beings begin at suffering. Suffering happens when we always want more. We have to recognize and acknowledge this suffering.

2. Cause/Origin of suffering

This origin of this suffering is the desire, accompanied by all other passions. When we don’t have what we want, we feel upset and suffer. So, we must look deep into the suffering and find what causes it.

3. Cessation/Ending of suffering

The road to happiness is in us realizing that we can be happy where we are. When we cut down impure desires and cravings, we attain freedom. So, we must learn to discard and eliminate any impure desires.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering

This is the path of enlightenment we must follow to end our suffering and find happiness. The Buddha called it the noble eightfold path.



If you like this book, purchase it on Amazon now! US: | UK:

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