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One of the first things that people who are new to Buddhism ask me is "Can you recommend any good books?"
I'll tell you, my wife and I have been the victims of some BAD books on Buddhism. There's a lot of garbage to wade through before you come across the gems. I don't know how it is in other languages, but the English-language selection can be pretty grim sometimes. I generally divide english-language books into three broad categories:
1: "California Hippie Buddhism" - Books by authors like Jack Kerouac, that make Buddhism out to be a free-ride peace and love deal, where you can do all the drugs you want and wander the countryside, radiating lovingkindess to your fellow man. Terrible. Unfortunately, a great majority of non-Buddhist Americans see Buddhism in this light, thanks to books like this
2: "Dry, Scholarly, and Inaccessible" - Many books written by monks who seem to have lost something in trying to communicate with the average layperson. There are books in this category that have merit, but only if you're experienced or you are a scholar. Many 600+ page tomes, containing line-for-line translations of the Pali canon, lack the simple humor or bright outlook that really "clicks" with the Western mindset. My opinion: Save it for later, when you are REALLY into Buddhism.
3: "Just Right" - There are some authors who can't seem to get it wrong, and write books for the Western mind that really speak to you. Thich Nhat Hanh comes to mind (pronounced TEEK NAHT HAHN-- Thich is a Vietnamese word meaning "teacher" or "monk"). These are the ones that you come across once in a while and just say....."wow".
So, the purpose of this thread is to help you find books to read if you want to learn more about Buddhism. Feel free to ask any questions or even offer up reviews of any books you've read.
No money required:
Hello every one! I not sure if it has been mentioned befor, I'm new here, but there are many excelent books out there at no cost. Many of these seem to have more to say than what I've been finding on the book store shelves. Two of the friendliest sources I've found are as follows:
1. Did a book exchange get off of the ground?
2. Are the stated buddhist magazine available worldwide?
How about "The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings" by Thich Naht Hahn. Everyone would be welcome, especially those who've been practicing for a while. Us rookies need your experience.
We shall start with chapter 1 on Monday 10/17/05. All are welcome.
The second link is dead btw.
My copy of the book Jerry - now I am racing through my first reading of it so I can go back and read it slowly and then join in. Happy, happy, happy.
A book that I've found has unexpected breadth in explaining Buddhism is Luminous Emptiness by Francesca Fremantle. It explores the Tibetan Book of the Dead in detail, but arrives there by providing an overview of Buddhism.
"Why do you ask this?"
"Because of the asking."
"You ask this because of the asking and what do you find?"
"Because of the asking I find that I'm not getting a clear answer."
"You ask this because of the asking and you find that you do not get a clear answer and what do you think?"
"Because of the asking and finding that I'm not getting any real answer I think I'm getting pissed off!"
"It is the pissing that you seek."
BF and Knitwitch,
Just so you know, we are finishing the Noble Eightfold Path this week. We are going on to the section "Other Basic Buddhist Teachings". If it would be easier for you guys to jump in there and read the other stuff on your own, why not do that. We sure want your input.
Just so you know, we are finishing the Noble Eightfold Path this week. We are going on to the section "Other Basic Buddhist Teachings".