ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 44

The path to eternal bliss simplified

Today, Buddhism has become very popular and it is the order of the day that many publishers seek authors to pen something on the subject to meet the demand. This is more to further commercial interests rather than to disseminate the Dhamma. The same is true of the electronic media judging from the quality of some of the TV programmes. The need for educative material on the Dhamma is therefore beginning to be felt. A book to fulfil this need has recently been published and this review is to evaluate it.

“The Mechanics of Buddhism” and its Sinhala version "Budhu dhahama yatharrthaya" have been authored not by a renowned Buddhist scholar, but by Tilak Marapana who is better known as an eminent lawyer and politician. In fact, I must confess, that when I was entrusted with the task of reviewing the book I embarked on this exercise with some degree of scepticism, prejudiced that such a person could make no appreciable contribution on Buddhism. But as I read through a few pages of the book I soon revised my earlier opinion and was compelled to conclude that I should express my sentiments on this wonderful book.

Mr. Marapana has, in his own style, as the title itself implies explained in simple language the working of the Buddhist doctrine. Rather than reproduce chunks of Abhidhamma usually found in the comprehensive works on Abhidhamma, the author has fully digested their contents and set out in a simple understandable way its important aspects and applied the Abhidhamma principles in explaining how the Dhamma works. The teachings in the Abhidhamma on such concepts as the “cittas”, mental factors, the thought process and the mental formations have been clearly set out and succinctly applied by the author to explain the essence of Buddhism and how the Buddhist practices enshrined in the Noble Eightfold Path eventually lead to the attainment of the objectives.

He has analysed and illustrated the concepts of kamma and rebirth to dispel the many misgivings attributed to these concepts and rationalised the inter-relationship of the two according to the true Theravadha Doctrine.

Though it is not too apparent to the novice, it is very clear when reading through the book that Mr. Marapana has first mastered the Abhiddhamma and then ingeniously used his knowledge to educate and arouse an interest in the subject in the reader. This book enables one to educate oneself on the subject which otherwise one would have had to do by reading a multitude of other books.

The reviewer is a Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya.

Top to the page

Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.