I have read ‘The Buddha and His Dhamma’ (Marathi translation) written by Dr. Ambedkar when I was 16 or 17.
- There was no particular book which comprised the teaching of Buddha. His teaching was kept alive by Bhikkus who wrote books like Dhammapada and all. As Dr. Ambedkar converted 6 million Hindu people into Buddhist, he thought it is important to enlighten these people about Buddha’s teaching. So he took this ambitious challenge.
- The book is divided into two main parts, first about Buddha’s life and the later is about his teaching.
- The first part is very interesting to read as it felt like we are reading stories. From the dream of Mahamaya to the enlightenment of Buddha, everything is interesting. Dr. Ambedkar’s skillful writing will take you to Buddha’s days in this section. Till the end of this section, you will feel that you have read a heroic story.
- The other part is a little boring and difficult to grasp. It has important life lessons like why Buddha denied the existence of God, what was the rules of Sangha, what was Sangha’s stand on women Bhikkhunis, etc. It has small stories also but whoever has read this part said it is difficult to understand it.
- But it is the first book in the world which has comprised Buddhism in an excellent manner.
- People often criticize this book as it looks like they are reading law book as the whole book is written in that fashion (pointwise 1,2,…). But at the same time, it is important to note that this book had not exaggerated anything about Buddha’s life. There are plenty of books in which an author writes in a poetic manner and the meaning of it shifts from the context. And the other thing to remember is Dr. Ambedkar was not a story writer, he was the law minister and so it may happen that his writing fashion didn’t meet the expectations of some readers.
- So overall I found this book very good and those who want to study Buddhism should read this book.
Also Read About : Early Life of Buddha