For many of us, the book that changed our life wouldn’t have been written without the man who changed his life and became the Buddha. And although he didn’t write anything down, we have the entire body of Buddhist canonical literature that has been given to us by our ancestors – what Sangharakshita has described as ‘the inexhaustible riches which the Buddha, in his infinite wisdom and boundless compassion, has bequeathed as an eternal legacy to the entire human race’.
In Sangharakshita’s view, the word of the Buddha and the tradition of Buddhism are so deeply intertwined that ‘an understanding of Buddhism cannot be divorced from a knowledge of the Buddhist sacred books’. But what makes a sacred Buddhist book sacred?
Sangharakshita grapples with this question in The Eternal Legacy: An Introduction to the Canonical Literature of Buddhism, where he gives an overview of texts from canonical Pali works to Mahayana sutras in an attempt to assess their doctrinal and historical context and significance.
You can dive into Sangharakshita’s The Eternal Legacy right now by reading the preface and the first chapter here:
And tell us what you think: which Buddhist books are most sacred to you?