The historical Buddha, an inspired religious teacher of northern India in the fifth century B.C., left no books of his own for his followers. His wisdom and sayings, however, were collected by his disciples and came to form the basis of one of the world’s major faiths. Geoffrey Parrinder’s The Wisdom of the Early Buddhists is a selection of traditional instruction drawn from the life of the Buddha himself. The texts used are those of the older Theravada (or Hinayana ) branch of the religion, which prevails today in South-east Asia and Sri Lanka. In Professor Parrinder’s retelling, they give us a marvelously clear picture of this great holy man who alone in our era is held to have achieved complete Enlightenment; of the wandering existence he led and advocated: and those of his main concepts which parallel or differ from the Hindus’ and Jains’. The introduction provides a lucid explanation of the background of Buddhism and describes how its various branches originated.