The Gospel of Buddha According to Old Records
The Gospel of Buddha was first published in 1894. It soon became a worldwide bestseller, completely eclipsing the one previous attempt to popularize Buddhism in the West, Sir Edwin Arnold's The Light of Asia. Carus collected accounts of the life and teaching of the Buddha from many sources and fashioned a coherent and gripping narative which would be understood by Americans as very much like a Christian "gospel". The Gospel of Buddha was quickly translated into Japanese and other Eastern languages, and was taken up by teachers in the Buddhist world.
This Gospel tells the story of the Prince Siddhattha, raised by his parents to be ignorant of all evil and suffering, and then was traumatically confronted by the spectacle of old age, sickness, and death. Giving up his family and his kingdom to seek Enlightenment, Siddhattha became a holy man, asking questions of religious authorities and practicing abstention. Then he found Enlightenment and became the Buddha when he understood the Four Noble Truths, and became a travelling preacher, spreading the word of the new religion, based on freedom from suffering by renunciation of the ego.
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