This was originally published in penang in 1935 , as a collection of Bhikkhu Kashyap ‘s lectures delivered at the Chinese Buddhist Association, as a booklet under the title of Buddha Dhmma . It was translated into French by Miss G. Constant Lounsbery of les Amis du Bouddhisme, paris to be used as a text book for their Buddhist lasses. It was also translated into German and Vitenamese. A revised shortened edition of it was published under its present title, Buddhism for Everybody, in 1949. It was revised, enlarged and reprinted in 19566 with a preface by the then Sramanera Sangharakshit , a British disciple of Bhikku Kashyap. But this shortened version continued to be reprinted freely, with or without the preface of ven. Sangharakshit , more than once. Now 1956 edition of it is being printed again. Hopefully this will be welcome.
After Centuries of sleep and idle dreams the peoples of India have become not merely politically awake, but politically self-conscious. Wakefulness implies a simple awareness of external environment; but self-consciousness suggest a complex recognition of internal needs and internal resources. Political self-consciousness shades off into cultural self-consciousness. Many adventurous Indians have embarked upon the noble voyage of the Discovery of India. Really they are voyaging, although many of them many still be unaware of it , in quest of their own selves. I the brick, stones and seals of Mohenjodaro, in the rhythmic chants of the Vedic poet-seers, in the dialogue of the Buddha and in the frescoes of Ajanta, in the metaphysics of sankara and the rhapsodies of Tyagraja, the modern Indian mind sees not merely “ portions and parcels of the dreadful past”, not just mummified exhibits in the museum of a nation’s memory, but it meets and greets its own cultural and spiritual ancestors, it comes into close touch with those throbbing hearts where from the rich blood still flows,, albeit in feebler streams, into the veins of the living presents.
And t this Voyage of Discovery the Young adventure has sometimes found, lying all known in the vast ocean f this country’s past, little atolls and island, and even whole counties and continents , the very names of which had completely vanished from the memory of the place wherefrom he had set sail. And sometimes it has happened that when he returned home laden with the glorious spoils of those forgotten continents, both they and he were rejected with scorn by the timid souls who stayed behind as ‘foreign’ an ‘un-Indian’. Under such a smile may be set froth the position of the buddhist movement in India today.
There was a time , though , when almost the whole of India lived in the sunlight of the Buddha’s wisdom and in the moonlight order itself, then a vigorous anti-Buddhist campaign by the champions of brahmaniacal authoritarianism, and finally the fire and sword of invading vandalism, succeeded in obliterating almost every external trace of the Religion of the Noble Ones, The Sun of Buddhism set. Night Descended on India, a night that was to last a thousand years. During the dark hours of the dark hours of those nightmarish centuries India forgot the very names of the Buddha, and even the memory of his teaching, and in forgetting them she forget her own self. Worse than that. Even as in dreams a beautiful face which we have known and loved while awake is distorted into features of diabolical ugliness, so during that dreadful period, were the incomparable personalty and teaching of the blessed one caricatured and misrepresented out of all recognition.
But after even the longest night the maiden dawn must at last come shyly forth adorned with silver and with rose, and the drawn has come. The centuries of darkness have passed away as an evil dream. India is now wide awake and it is awake, it is true, to all the multitudinous sight and sounds of what westerners call the 20th Century; but she is at the same time conscious of the thousand voices which speak to her from her own infinite past. The sweetest and clearest of all these many voices is the voice of the Buddha. To this voice must she hearken if she would understand the mysteries of her own heart. To this voice must she would understand the mysteries of hr own heart. To this voice must she attend if he would speak unto the nations as she spoke before. This is the voice at whose command Asoka sheathed his murderous sword – Askoa, after – wards surnamed ‘the Righteous’, whose wheel and Pillar now the acknowledgement symbol of India’s sovereignty. This is the Voice which taught “ the wisdom that hath made our Asia mild” . This is the voice which even the unquiet West, weary of its fleshpots and its wars, is beginning to in humble silence.
In modern India there are many men and women belonging to the educated classed who long deeply to listen to this voice to study, Understand and practice the teaching of the blessed One o , to revert to terms of the simile with which we began, to voyage to the long - forgotten continent of Buddhism and reclaim its territory as their own. To adventures such as these the present book will be a welcome guide. It is written by one who is himself an adventurer. The author, Bhikshu Jagdish Kashyap, is one of a very small group of Indians who have no only become members of the Buddhist Monastic order but have also mastered the letter and the spirit of the ancient pali texts wherein is preserved the word of the Buddha. Through a succession of published texts, translation and original works, the most noteworthy of which are his Hindi translation from the sutta Pitaka and of the Milindapan his Pali Mahavyakarana in Hindi and the two volumes of his Abhidhamma Phillosophy in English , the Venerable Bhikshu has endeavoured to riches of Buddhist thought and Culture. Be said that his selfless labours had met with the reception which they deserved. But , as we have already said, the timid souls which stayed behind scornfully reject the home – returning Adventurer and his cargo of glorious spoils. But such a state of affairs will of , can not , last for long. As the years slip by the glory and grandeur of the Buddha and his Teaching are being recognized with ever growing clarity by an increasingly large number of people; and against the waxing power and strength of that recognition the over or convert opposition of pseudo – religious reactions and orthodox fanaticism are of no avail. Buddhism has come back to India, and it has come back to stay.
This book is divided into six chapters. The first deals with the fundamental postulates of Buddhist thought – the triune principles ff Anicca (transitoriness) ,Anatta (substance –(soul)-lessness) and Dukkha (misery); the second with the four Noble truths of Misery, its Cause, its Cure, and the way or Regimen leading to its Cure; the third with the Noble Eightfold Path or Middle way ; the fourth with Kamma and rebirth; the fifth with the gigantic subject of Paticca Samuppada or Dependent origination; and the sixth with some salient features of Buddhism. It is a book meant not for hasty perusal, but for attentive and thoughtful study. Every sentence is to be read, marked , learned and inwardly digested. Nevertheless, it is not a difficult book. The author has spared no pains to make it is simple and clear even to those who have no previous aquaintance with Buddhism. Some knowledge of Philosophy will be helpful to the student, but it is not indispensable. Above all else, the reader should take up this book with an open mind , clean of all prejudice and preconception, and make an honest attempt to understand what the Buddha taught and why he taught and why He Taught it. Only then will his or her study of Buddhism for Everybody be fruitful and likely to issue, later on, into that wider Knowledge and deeper understanding which is open only to those who truly love the dharma.
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