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.
Author: Thich Nhat Hanh, translated by Mobi Ho
This is a fantastic book to introduce beginners into the practice of meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh writes very beautifully, and uses moments from everyday life in order to pinpoint opportunities for meditation practice. From a letter to a friend about how washing the dishes is the most important thing he's ever done in his life, to a very down-to-earth, almost clinical description of the process of breathing during mediation, this short, well-written book is a perfect introduction to basic buddhist practice and the science of mind-control and meditation. I highly recommend it.
On a side note, most books by Thich Nhat Hanh are short, well-written, and strikingly clear. I recommend you read other books of his as well, notably the "Heart Sutra".
I studied under a shaolin master for a year and he wrote a book with a very scientific outlook on religion(when i say religion its more of a guide on how to live your life well)that i could make available to anyone who was interested.
I have read the bhagavad-gita, and I agree. It offers a snapshot of the hindu faith that can help put buddhism from that era into historical perspective. Besides, many of the basic principles are essentially the same.
I'd be interested in reading your sifu's work. Is it something you can post, or something that is printed?
Buddhism: Its doctrines and methods,
The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects,
(The power of Emptiness,
Mipam-which are fiction books with buddhist subjects)
all by Alexandra David-Neel and Lama Yogden which may be out of print but I have found them in libraries.
And for someone just starting out What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
One of the best and most enduring books is without doubt "The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche and more recently a book which has really switched some lights on for me is
"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Mindblowingly simple yet stunningly illuminating. :bowdown:
"A book is no more instructive for being dull, nor less scholarly for being amusing. What we learn with pleasure we seldom forget." (I have no idea who said this, but I have to agree with them.)
By Jack Kornfield
This is a great book. We tend to think that after someone reaches enlightenment, they become some luminous guru, sitting in constant meditation day and night, in a temple or other abode which allows pilgrims seeking knowledge to come visit the great wise one.
Kornfield reminds us that many people have acheived moments of enlightenment in this world and in this lifetime, and yet they still have to go to work the next day, get the kids off to school, mow the lawn, and do the laundry. It's easy to read and has many illuminating insights into bringing peace into everyday life. I recommend it
He is an extremely erudite and intelligent man, and has extensively studied all the world's leading religions in great detail. A worthwhile book, in my opinion.
It was written during his seclusion in a cabin, with little food, and no outside contact.
It is probably the ONLY book that he wrote with no outside influences and no drugs or alcohol.
Right now I'm in the middle of reading (again) a book by Zen Master Dogen called "Beyond Thinking". It's a guide to Zazen teachings.
have anyone read 'buddhism in the nutshell'?i think it is decent book for newbies in buddhism.
I did read this book and I agree; it's a great book. It definitely describes MY life!
Seriously though, I could really relate because I am constantly looking for ways to get more peace and tranquility in my life---not easy to attain with young children!
I just started reading my first book by Thich Nhat Hanh, the above mentioned "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching". It is explaining the Four Noble Truths in a way this novice can understand and I am sure the entire book will be a much needed step in my learning.
:ot: It has been hard for me to find services where I live. There are meditation groups all over; but I hope to go into Los angeles tomorrow and see a temple.
You have mentioned some books that I definitely want to read.
Adiana :bigclap: :bigclap:
Maybe I can post you some books, and you can pay my airfare over to see you guys.....
Brian, can you add something to the user profile for this? Like "books available to trade" and "books looking for"?
I'd like the kornfield laundry book. All though my wife does most of the laundry (and i DO hear about that, from time to time!)
I think that sounds great; I like the idea of a book exchange. I live in Anderson, Indiana so there should be no problem. Fed, like the others, maybe one day I can go to France; I haven't been to France in a long time. GEEZ! I was maybe 14 when I was there last?!
"Zen Mind Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki
I highly reccomend it!
and 2) I would be interested in the book exchange I have a very extensive library and my wife would appreciate me not spending more money on books she wont read
Federica I can offer English fiction books if that is something you cannot find easily in France.
Two summaries of 'basic Buddhism':
The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh (Rider, London. 1998. ISBN 0 7126 7003 3)
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche (Rider, London. 1992. ISBN 0 7126 7139 0)
Buddha Nature by Thrangu Rinpoche (Rangjung Yeshe Publications, Kathmandu. 1988. ISBN 962 7341 02 9)
This is subtitled Ten Teachings on the Uttara Tantra Shastra and includes question and answer sessions after each teaching. A very useful and informative book, especially if you are interested in tantra.
You Are The Eyes Of The World by Longchenpa (Snow Lion, New York. 2000. ISBN 1-55939-140-5)
This is on of two books I am still to attached to (the other is The Gospel of Thomas). I don't know how to describe it so I may start a thread about it.
Universal Wisdom Bede Griffiths (Fount, London. 1994. ISBN 0 00 627679 2)
This is a compendium of sacred texts, including the Upanishads, the Gita, the Dhammapad, the Mahayana Shraddhotpada Shastra, the Tao, Sikh writings, suras from the Quran, poems by Rumi, and Jewish and Christian scriptures. And, with all that, commentary by Dom Bede Griffiths, OSB, who spent so much of his monastic life at Shantivanam.
Do you subscribe to Sogyal Rinpoche's "Daily Glimpse"?
I doubt if any here do not know Sogyal Rinpoche but, just for you, the one person who has yet to encounter his warmth and compassion, here is a link:
Another good read is "Buddhism, Plain and Simple" by Steve Hagen. It is a short and simple description of Buddhism.
The Ground We Share: Everyday Practice, Buddhist and Christian by roshiRobert Aitkin, Brother David Steindl-Rast
and (although this is somewhat technical and 'chewy'):
The Emptying God edited by Cobb/Ives: this is a wonderful collection of essays on sunyatta and kenosis
For anyone who wants to try Buddhsit and other mediatation techniques within a Christian context, the work of Fr. Anthony de Mello, especially Sadhana, is worth visiting.
I hope to begin reading it tomorrow but be warned I may have MANY questions afterwards.
I also bought a little book of daily wisdom by the Dali Lama. It looked interesting.
Some books I have tried to look at in the past were written in a way that was jsut to hard to grasp. I also skimmed the Dummies guide to Buddhism which seemed good in explaing the background and gave additional sources to read which one of them was the Heart of Buddha's Teaching. This book also talked about many magazines that one can get on Buddhism. I am going on the internet tomorrow to look up a few.
Any thoughts on monthly magazines???
I am glad to be a part of this forum and hopefully you will welcome my voracious curiosity with patience
- this book is founded on Buddhism but seeks a non-sectarian approach to everyday life
- SHAMBHALA: THE SACRED PATH OF THE WARRIOR, by Chogyam Trungpa (1995, Shambhala Publications, Boston).
- this book is based on Zen Buddhism (in the style of Charlotte Joko Beck) but focuses on understanding the "now" of everyday life
- AT HOME IN THE MUDDY WATER, A Guide to Finding Peace within Everyday Chaos, by Ezra Bayda (2004, Shambhala Publications, Boston).
Both books have become my favourite as their non-sectarian approach promotes the examination of your life as it really is: in the past I had a tendency to try to escape my own life by seeking to superimpose other rituals and cultural frameworks in an effort to "dress up" what I saw as my own drab reality. These books have taught me to accept my life as it is, and to use it as a starting point for practice.
Best wishes, Zhu
2. Are the stated buddhist magazine available worldwide? I have not heard of them in Aust.
3. have just finished reading 'Buddhism for Busy People', it was quite easy to read and gave a brief but thorough introduction to buddhism, as the author, David Michie is a bit of an accidental buddhist. Would definitely recommend for a beginner.
It is, I submit, imnporant to go back to the original suttas as well as reading Western commentaries.