Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Available Truth - Preface

Excursions into Buddhist Wisdom and the Natural World

Preface

Buddhism, as a system of teachings about the purposes and means of wise living, is always open to questioners and explorers. We who search for explanations of birth and death, who hope for safety from life’s perils, can search here freely and test what we find by paying attention to the sensations that flash through our own minds and bodies. Inside our houses, and out in our neighborhoods, and beyond in the fields and forests and endless complexities of the world, fruitful truth is available if we seek it in the right way. This book presents some ideas for seeking.

To understand Buddhism well we need to practice it—at least in a preliminary, exploratory way—to apply in our own lives its standards of behavior and its ways of looking at the world. But to practice rightly we need to learn what the Buddha actually teaches about the nature of the universe. Intuitions require good instruction, and doctrines need to be confirmed in daily living. To act nobly we need both intellectual nourishment and the experience of training our minds by our own effort.

When we set out to search for truths to believe and trust we cannot rely just on energy and enthusiasm without instruction. At the same time, we cannot rest contented just with a set of doctrines mulled over and memorized. There must be a harmonious intermingling of ideas and actions, of listening and investigating, so that, knowing what to look for, we come to understand the original teaching better and better. Happily, this is possible.

This book is written from the standpoint of the Theravāda, the “doctrine of the elders.” It attempts both to give some basic knowledge of important Buddhist principles and to suggest ways by which we can investigate those principles within the immediate world of our perceptions

Buddhist technical terms are given here in their Pāli forms. The quotations from the P›li Canon are edited excerpts of translations published by Wisdom Publications and by the Buddhist Publication Society of Kandy, Sri Lanka.

To the Sangha and to all followers of the Buddha of this age and past ages who have given me instruction and inspiration I offer my gratitude, thanks, and respect.

Bhikkhu  Nyanasobhano

 

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano, Available Truth (Wisdom Publications, 2007)

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