This is the first etext of A Buddhist Bible to appear on the Internet. One of the favorite books of the Beat writers, particularly the ultimate 'Dharma Bum' Jack Kerouac, A Buddhist Bible has had a huge influence on the growth of Buddhism in the English-speaking world in the 20th century and beyond. This etext was scanned and proofed from an autographed copy of the first edition. We are indeed fortunate that this book slipped into the public domain due to a lack of timely copyright renewal.
The first edition, which was tightly focused on source documents of Zen Buddhism, was self-published in Vermont by Goddard and had 316 pages. Subsequently, a second revised and greatly enlarged edition of 677 pages was published in 1938 by E.P. Dutton (New York), and later republished by Beacon Press. The second edition, which has been in print ever since (see box to right), covers a much wider range of Buddhist texts including Southern Buddhism, some related documents such as the Tao te Ching, and modern texts. The reprint also includes introductions by Robert Aitken and Huston Smith.
Goddard, particularly in this first edition, took the best available translation of key documents and edited them heavily to eliminate repetitious passages and extraneous material. So this is a readers edition, not a critical edition, of these texts. However, he did nothing to water down or simplify the message of the sutras; quite the contrary. One can read this book repeatedly and still come back with new insights on each reading.
--John Bruno Hare, August 28th, 2004.