Anne Bancroft is the editor of this collection of the words of Buddha (563 - 483 BCE). In her eyes, the central message of the Buddha was:
"Every single one of us can find freedom from the deluded servitude that binds us to desires and cravings. By contemplation we can observe how life is. With awareness we can understand correctly the way to live and find clarity within confusion or despair. When we see the interconnectedness of all existence, we can free ourselves from self-love and the narrow confines of the self."
The Buddha's words are arranged into the following handy and relevant categories: awakening, love, clarity, body and mind, contemplation, sorrow, truth, life and death, time and infinity, wisdom, and self and society.
Here is a sample of the kinds of material you will find in The Buddha Speaks:
• "Overcome your uncertainties and free yourself from dwelling on sorrow. If you delight in existence, you will become a guide to those who need you, revealing the path to many."
• "When people speak badly of you, you should respond in this way: Keep a steady heart and don't reply with harsh words. Practice letting go of resentment and accepting that the other's hostility is the spur to your understanding. Be kind, adopt a generous standpoint, treat your enemy as a friend, and suffuse all your world with affectionate thoughts, far-reaching and widespread, limitless and free from hate. In this state you should try to remain."
• "Of all the medicines in the world
Myriad and various
There is none like the medicine of Truth
Therefore, O followers, drink of this."
• "Whether you walk or stand or lie down,
Stretch your limbs or draw them in again,
Let you do all these things attentively,
Above, across, and back again.
Whatever your place in the world,
Let you be the one who views the movement
Of all compounded things with attention."