For the next two weeks we’re giving away the eBook edition of a ground-breaking text that has inspired readers for decades: Sangharakshita’s A Survey of Buddhism. The great Buddhist teacher and writer Lama Anagarika Govinda wrote, ‘It would be difficult to find a single book in which the history and development of Buddhist thought has been described as vividly and clearly as in this survey.’

The first chapter, which runs to almost two hundred pages, explores the doctrines and methods common to all schools and draws out the transcendental unity of Buddhism. It includes a wide-ranging, dynamic and sometimes challenging elucidation of conditioned arising, pratitya samutpada, the essence of the Buddha’s teaching. Sangharakshita writes:

‘At first, the Buddha doubted the possibility of communicating this alchemical insight – what he called ‘the truth of pratitya-samutpada’ to anyone else. But communicate it he did, deep and subtle as it was. And though his seminal formulation of pratitya-samutpada engendered, over the years, a vast and rich array of teachings, it remains the basis, the very foundation, of all of them.’

Later chapters discuss the teachings and practices of the different schools of Buddhism. The final chapter is dedicated to the bodhisattva ideal, ‘the perfectly ripened fruit of the whole vast tree of Buddhism’. Sangharakshita’s dense prose, shot through with poetry, combines with an exceptional clarity of thought to make the Survey one of the most challenging and inspiring elucidations of the Dharma.

Please note: If you have a Mac, opening the .mobi file may cause your Kindle app to crash. This is because of an issue with the latest version of the Kindle app for Mac; there is nothing wrong with the .mobi file.

The latest version of this book is available in paperback, hardback and eBook as part of Volume 1 of The Complete Works of Sangharakshita.