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Book Review: The Path of Purification – The Classic Manual Of Buddhist Doctrine & Meditation

Posted by Ray McLennan on 03-Jan-2018 14:23:54

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Bhikku Nanamoli (Trans) | Buddhist publication Society | ISBN: 9789552400230 | Hardback | £29.99

The Path of Purification, or Visuddhimagga in the Pali language, is one of the most important foundational texts of Buddhism. The collection of Buddhist Scriptures, the Pali Canon, contains a wide variety of lectures and teachings attributed to the Buddha himself or his direct disciples. The Path Of Purification, first written in the fifth century A.D. by Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa, attempted to consolidate these teachings into a unified practice, the goal of which is to attain Nirvana, envisioned as a state of complete purification.

From this treatise comes the core practice of Vipassana, which is the main practice of the Theravada Buddhist school, encompassing most branches of Buddhist thought in southern India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

The Path is a deep and complex religious text, including 40 separate meditative and concentration practices, as well as discussions on philosophy and ethics. The treatise explains in detail the stages of the path leading to enlightenment, with clear indications of the physical, spiritual and psychological symptoms that herald progression, along with potential pitfalls.

An Excellent New Translation & Commentary

This new English-language translation by Bhikkhu Nanamoli makes The Path accessible to a new generation of English-speaking readers. The text is clearly laid out and easy to read, while remaining true to the Pali original – an admirable achievement because Pali is challenging to translate directly into English without losing some of its context.

The quality of the translation is enough reason to buy this book, but it is more than a translation. This edition includes copious notes, commentaries and sub- commentaries on all the meditative practices, making them comprehensible and accessible to modern practitioners. The traditional and contemporary commentaries form a unique resource that allows Buddhist practitioners to access the core of their tradition – making it a unique and irreplaceable meditation manual.

Target Readership

The intended readership of The Path Of Purification are practising Buddhists. The practice of Vipassana, or insight meditation comes directly from the Theraveda tradition of Buddhism. Buddhists of all schools will find useful material here, although some familiarity with doctrine and Pali scripture is assumed, as the book is essentially a collection of commentaries and interpretations of the Pali text. Stocking this title among your other Buddhist books will give Buddhist readers access to a tool of real value. For general meditation practitioners, or newcomers to the Buddhist religion, we recommend supplementing this book with some good introductory guides and books on mindfulness.

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At Motilal Books we keep hundreds of unique Buddhist titles in stock drawn from some of the world’s most respected teachers in India, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Many of these are original prayer books, lifestyle and meditation guides, while others are English translations of Sacred Scriptures and rare sutras, alongside commentaries and manuals rarely seen in the West.

With supply partnerships in place with over 750 South Asian publishers, we are your gateway to a world of hard to find Buddhist publications, all written in impeccable English. Whether you are a wholesaler, e-commerce business or specialist retailer, we have a wide range of books to suit all types of reader and interest groups. Explore our current catalogue by clicking here. For more information about sourcing South Asian books – and how to get the best deals – click here to download our Independent Booksellers Guide To Books From India.

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