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I found this book in a local bookstore and went online to research it. I could not find much reference to it. The author, George C. Adams Jr., purports to have been given a lost sutra of the Buddha, given on his deathbed, to Ananda. It looks like a work of complete fiction to me but was wondering if anyone has more information on it.

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I'm the author of the Deathbed Sutra, so I can assure you that it's fiction. It was intended as a work of philosophical fiction which examines some problematic aspects of the Buddha's teachings in the Pali sutras.

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Deathbed Sutra of the Buddha

From the customers' reviews of the book, I get the impression that it is a fictional work to provoke a reassessment of one's thinking in light of controversies.

A few reviews from customers:

This book a very clever merging of philosophy and fiction, which examines and challenges some fundamental Buddhist beliefs in a manner that manages to be both deeply insightful but also delightfully entertaining. It’s a short work, but packed full of dense analysis of Buddhist thought, using the clever device of a fictional conversation between Buddha and his attendant, Ananda. Readers are likely to love it or hate it, but in either case it’s definitely a great read.

While it's not a "DaVinci Code for Buddhists" as stated on the back cover, it does offer a fast moving narrative conversation that moves along through the final night of the Buddha's life. It left me wondering what will happen next, and what will the Buddha say next? Thought-provoking and fun at the same time.

MVFWIW is if you are new to Buddhism then it is advisable to learn about the authentic teachings first and when you have cultivated wisdom and faith then to challenge that faith and wisdom with controversies.

As it is Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana have provided enough divergent materials for your wisdom and faith to work on.

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  • "The Da Vinci Code" is fiction (so if its publishers compare this book to The Da Vinci Code that's evidence for its being fiction i.e. Historical fiction) – ChrisW Jun 7 '15 at 7:14
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Based on one of the reviews of the book:

The conversation recorded in this Sutra, between Lord Buddha and his closest disciple Ananda, largely unravels the core teachings of Buddhism, and portrays the Buddha as condemning himself to hellfire on his own deathbed for the errors in his teachings which he suddenly confesses to. In these, his final teachings, Buddha is in fact veering in a completely new direction, away from the austerities, sensory deprivation and renunciation which are the hallmarks of his teachings in the Pali Cannon, which form the traditional basis of Buddhism. He practically does a u-turn, and goes full speed towards a more humanistic teaching, one that discourages renunciation and accepts romantic love, one that honors the sacred value inherent in sensory contact with the objects of the world, and even affirms the existence of a Self – an entity consisting of the noblest essence of the personal identity. Having spent much time around several Enlightened Masters of the modern age, I personally cannot imagine any of them having such a deathbed renunciation of their core teachings. Such a strange turn of events would, I think, be reserved for deluded teachers such as Rev. Jim Jones, or perhaps Andrew Cohen, who after three decades of claiming himself Enlightened suddenly admitted that he wasn’t Enlightened after all. I certainly never imagined the Buddha to be in that category.

Sounds to me like the author is trying to create some controversy to sell his book by promoting his own ignorant understanding of Buddhist teachings. Wrong View, Wrong Intention, Wrong Speech, Wrong Action and Wrong Livelihood being displayed here. Bad karma all around.

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