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The Buddha Before Buddhism


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In the tradition of the best-selling Dhammapada- a translation with commentary of one of the earliest of the surviving Buddhist texts, which reveals the teachings to be remarkably simple and free of religious trappings.

About the Author

GIL FRONSDAL is part of the Vipassana Teachers' Collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He has a PhD in Buddhist Studies from Stanford. He practiced in both the Zen and Insight Meditation worlds, ordaining as a Soto priest in 1982 and as a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985. He's guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California. He's also one of the most prolific publishers of audio dharma talks today, through the venues of Dharma Seed, Audio Dharma, Zencast, and elsewhere.


"Provocative, unsettling and inspirational, this extraordinary collection of early Buddhist poems reveals a radical vision of human freedom grounded in the non-reactive peace of nirvana. Gil Fronsdal's fine translation allows us to hear how the Dharma may originally have been uttered as poetry in the solitude of forests. In challenging some of the received wisdom of Buddhist orthodoxy, these teachings invite the reader to question deep-seated beliefs about truth itself. "-Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism "Widely acknowledged as one of the oldest texts in the Buddhist canon, the Atthakavagga is intriguingly different from other Buddhist scriptures, lacking many of the doctrinal propositions that have come to be associated with Buddhism. Gil Fronsdal's fresh new translation, together with illuminating commentaries to each section of the text drawn both from scholarly research and from his many years of meditation practice, will make this classic text come alive for a new generation of readers."-Jan Nattier, author of A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path according to The Inquiry of Ugra

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