With the increased knowledge of Buddhism in the last hundred years a large number of Western intellectuals, including many Nobel Prize winners, have expressed a deep interest in and admiration for this ancient religion. A small but growing number are actually becoming Buddhists. Some have been impressed by Buddhism's clear, rational thought, others by its gentle tolerance. Some have been surprised by how closely it resembles the discoveries of modern science while others have been attracted by its idea of an ethical life without the need to believe in a supreme god.
The quotations collected in this booklet are of interest for several reasons. Firstly, they show the universal appeal of Buddhism, its ability to speak to psychologist and poet, philosopher and mathematician. Is it not telling that the words of a man who lived so long ago could still be relevant and meaningful to a scientist like Einstein, a poet like Eliot or a philosopher like Russell? Again they tell us as much about the people who wrote them as they do about Buddhism itself. We read what some of the great minds of our time have to say about the Buddhist concept of detachment and love, about the rational element in Buddhism and about the Buddha's place in human history. They compare Buddhism with other religions, highlight its emphasis on reason and tell us how it may influence modern psychology.
It is hoped that what is said in this booklet and who said it will motivate the reader to look deeper into the teachings of the Buddha, and, if intellectual satisfaction results, put its principles into practice. As the Buddha himself says:
When you yourself know: These things
are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by
the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to your welfare
and happiness', then enter upon and abide in them.