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The Buddhist Catechism

Henry Steel Olcott

Book Overview: 

The simple aim of this little book is to give succinct and yet comprehensive a digest of Buddhistic history, ethics and philosophy as to enable beginners to understand and appreciate the noble ideal taught by the Buddha, and thus make it easier for them to follow out the Dharma in its details. In this book, information is presented in a catechism format: question and answer. The matter has been grouped within five categories, viz.: (1) The Life of the Buddha; (2) the Doctrine; (3) the Sangha, or monastic order; (4) a brief history of Buddhism, its Councils and propaganda; (5) some reconciliation of Buddhism with science. and there is a most enlightening appendix which give 14 fundamental Buddhist beliefs that were universally accepted at the time.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I>Iddhi).

84. Q. Are these wonder-working powers miraculous?

A. No, but natural to all men and capable of being developed by a certain course of training.

85. Q. Did the Buddha hear again from his family after leaving them?

A. Oh yes, seven years later, while he was living at Rājagrha, his father. King Suddhodana, sent a message to request him to come and let him see him again before he died.

86. Q. Did he go?

A. Yes. His father went with all his relatives and ministers to meet him and received him with great joy.

87. Q. Did he consent to resume his old rank?

A. No. In all sweetness he explained to his father that the Prince Siddhārtha had passed out of existence, as such, and was now changed into the condition of a . . . Read More

Community Reviews

As someone with only a vague idea of Buddhism, I found this book to be quite informative. It gives you a very broad idea about the basic tenets in Buddhism. The question and answer format adopted by the author was apt for the content. Rather than simply translating the different Buddhist teachings,

This was a helpful primer on Buddhism, although it had some very strange ideas about what science was, what science must teach, and overall presentation. I'm used to the pretty masterfully done "Westminster Shorter Catechism." It differs in that it has a short and linear progression, where this is s

This was a short read - I was inspired to read more about Buddhism thanks to Pema Chödrön. This was published more than 100 years ago (can't remember the exact date), and it has some good summaries of what Buddhism is about. For one, it mentions that the correct term is the Buddha Dharma, and that i

It was “enlightening” to find out what Buddhist believe and I was shocked to see so much talk about magic and hypnotism and ghosts and a lot of occult subjects. People should read this to know what is really going on. Quite shocked how nonchalant and normalised quite far out things were stated as ma

This book is good for some one interested to know about Buddhism. It is written in a question and answers format in simple English which anyone can understand but the usage of the terms in Pali language was quite a challenge to read it. I would not recommend this book to everyone or to know about th

Though more than 140 years old and written by a man with an unorthodox understanding of science (taking the study of auras of legitimate for example), this short book was still quite useful for those wishing to know in plain and simple terms what Buddhists believe. Olcott, whose extensive work with

As someone who has only briefly brushed the topic of Buddhism (Karma & Reincarnation) this little ebook answered a lot of questions and fleshed out some the things I only knew a little about.

Presented in question and answer style with several introductions included and an appendix this is a handy l

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