The Mirror of Insight with the subtitle: The Buddha as a Strategist is a free e-book by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, a monk from the Metta Forrest Monastery. The book focuses on the Buddha’s four fold strategies for gaining liberating insight. The first part calls into question an old interpretation of the Buddha as strategist: the theory, first fully formulated in the Commentary many centuries after the Buddha, that the Buddha taught two levels of truth, ultimate and conventional. The last three parts offer an alternative interpretation that seems more in line with the portrait of the Buddha as mediator and teacher as presented in the oldest extant record of his teachings found in the Pali suttas and discourses. From the book:
On the night of his awakening, as he searched for a way to gain release from suffering and stress, the Buddha found himself confronted with two dilemmas. The first had to do with the possibility of a path to the end of suffering. If there was a dimension free of suffering and stress, it had to be unconditioned—or in his terms, unfabricated (asaṅkhata). In other words, it couldn’t be something put together from other conditions. That was because anything put together would have to come from changeable causes, so it would have to be changeable too, and anything changeable has to entail stress. The question, then, was how any human activity, which is put together from intentions, could possibly bring something unfabricated about.
Download the free PDF e-book here (59 pages/1.5MB):