Outlines of Buddhism
A Historical Sketch
The elapse of twenty-five centuries, with all its upheavals, has not abated the appeal of Buddhism. It has almost faded from the land of its birth. It has, because of oral transmission, passage of time, different people, skies, editors, translators and languages, changed beyond recognition. Despite these, today nearly a third of the human race are professed Buddhists. Mrs. Rhys Davids shows in this book-Outlines of Buddhism, a historical sketch-that the continuity of Buddhism, with the everlasting appeal, is due more to the original teachings of the Buddha and less to its latter-day metaphysics. The original teachings were an extension of the ideas in the Upanishads. The static Doctrine that the self should be sought after, in the Hands of the Buddha, became a dynamic and practical one. He showed a path, although perilous and passing through many worlds, which anyone, with Truth and righteousness as guides, could tread and REACH the goal. He opened a path, which till then was the closely guarded preserve of a chosen few, to the vast multitude. This has assured immortality to Buddhism. To speak of this Teaching as Atheism, Nihilism, Pessimism, Quietism etc. is contrary to what he enjoined. All this she does with an amazing Economy of words, and remarkable clarity of approach.