The first book on my reading list is H. W. Schumann’s The Historical Buddha (tr. M. O’C. Walshe). I am about halfway into it and I already consider it essential reading for anyone interested in the life of the Buddha. Unfortunately this text is no longer available in print (as a paperback), but there are numerous booksellers with used copies at reasonable prices.
I will be commenting on and presenting passages from Schumann’s text in the upcoming weeks. For now, I will simply remark that I greatly appreciate his mix of historical and scriptural detail, freely drawing insights from available historical facts as well as the Pāli Canon. His aim is not to disparage scripture with historical detail; rather, he reminds us that the Buddha, the Enlightened One, was a human being and that there is much to learn about the Sutras and our practice from recognizing this fact.
(Note: To purchase Schumann’s book, click on the following link – The Historical Buddha, tr. M. O’C. Walshe.)