Buddhism – T.W. Rhys Davids (1907)


Buddhism – T.W. Rhys Davids (1907)


Title: Buddhism: Being a Sketch of the Life and Teachings of Gautama, the Buddha

Author: Thomas William Rhys Davids

Publisher: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1907. 21st thousand.

Condition: Bright decorative cloth. Good. 250pp. Public service stamp to title page. Minor foxing to foldout map and endpapers. Minor rubbing to cover. Text clean, binding tight.

SKU: rhysdavid-buddhism Categories: , , ,

About the book:


  1. Introduction
  2. The Life of Gautama (Part 1)
  3. The Life of Gautama (Part 2)
  4. The Essential Doctrines of Buddhism
  5. Buddhist Morality
  6. The Order of Mendicants
  7. The Legend of the Buddha
  8. Tibetan Buddhism
  9. Spread of Buddhism

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Thomas William Rhys Davids (12 May 1843 – 27 December 1922) was a British scholar of the Pāli language and founder of the Pali Text Society.

Deciding on a Civil Service career, Rhys Davids studied Sanskrit under A.F. Stenzler, a distinguished scholar at the University of Breslau. He earned money in Breslau by teaching English. In 1863 Rhys Davids returned to Britain, and on passing his civil service exams was posted to Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). When he was Magistrate of Galle and a case was brought before him involving questions of ecclesiastical law, he first learned of the Pali language when a document in that language was brought in as evidence.

In 1871 he was posted as Assistant Government Agent of Nuwarakalaviya, where Anuradhapura was the administrative centre. The governor was Sir Hercules Robinson, who had founded the Archaeological Commission in 1868.

Rhys Davids became involved with the excavation of the ancient Sinhalese city of Anuradhapura, which had been abandoned after an invasion in 993 CE. He began to collect inscriptions and manuscripts, and from 1870-1872 wrote a series of articles for the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Journal about them. He learned the local language and spent time with the people.

From 1882 to 1904 Rhys Davids was Professor of Pali at the University of London, a post which carried no fixed salary other than lecture fees.

In 1905 he took up the Chair of Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester.