Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

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Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby rybak303 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:54 am

I have recently been doing a lot of soul searching and research into religion. I've been learning about Christianity and have read finished reading the gospels as well as multiple books by C.S. Lewis on Christianity such as Mere Christianity. I was wondering if anyone here knows of any good books that summarize what Buddhism is all about like Mere Christianity does for Christianity? Also does Buddhism have a holy book which is the equivalent to the bible?
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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby Reductor » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:09 am

rybak303 wrote:I have recently been doing a lot of soul searching and research into religion. I've been learning about Christianity and have read finished reading the gospels as well as multiple books by C.S. Lewis on Christianity such as Mere Christianity. I was wondering if anyone here knows of any good books that summarize what Buddhism is all about like Mere Christianity does for Christianity? Also does Buddhism have a holy book which is the equivalent to the bible?


"What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula
http://www.amazon.com/What-Buddha-Taugh ... 940&sr=8-1

Its pretty often the first good book on Buddhism and should be available from your library.

As for holy books: there are 'holy' books of a sort, but you would need a large bookshelf if you wished to own them (they take up 12 or more feet). It is called the Tipitika. You can go to http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ and read a lot of teachings from the Tipitika. Each individual teaching is called a 'sutta'. If you want a book of suttas, many people here have gotten a great deal from "In the Buddha's Words"

I've heard good things about it, for sure.
Last edited by Reductor on Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:11 am

hi rybak
Welcome to Dhamma Wheel!
Not having read Carroll's book, I don't know whether there is an equivalent.
A couple of books I regularly recommend to those interested, are:
The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
and
Buddhism in a Nutshell by Narada Mahathera http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... shell.html
Buddhism doesn't have just one 'holy' book, but many, and they are referred to as the Tipitaka (three baskets): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipitaka
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby Tex » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:01 pm

I'll second What the Buddha Taught. It's a pretty perfect first Buddhist book.

And here is a great intro to Buddhist meditation by a very respected monk: http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/mindfuln ... nglish.pdf

:buddha2:
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"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby rybak303 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:04 am

Thank you everybody!
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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby texastheravadin » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:12 pm

Here's what I recommend...

Buddhism is sort of a "come and see" religion. In order to really get a feel for it, you need to attempt to practice it somewhat.

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula is the "what" of Buddhism, simply the best intro to Buddhism out there IMHO! Not just for Theravadins but for Mahayanists as well, by the way

Mindfulness in Plain English
by Henepola Gunaratana ("Bhante G") is the best meditation manual for Vipassana to date (again, IMHO). That will give you the "how"

As far as holy books, check out The Dhammapada first. Buddhism does not have a "bible" as it were. The Pali Canon is several volumes and thousands upon thousands of pages long. A set would run you in the $1000s, definitely not a good idea for someone who's just starting out! However, there have been several attempts to create or condense major Buddhist teachings into a single volume like a "Bible" over the years, mainly for beginners like you (and me!) The Dhammapada has been championed as one of those all purpose Buddhist "Bibles", because it's short, to-the-point, and contains teachings on so many of the Buddha's main themes (generosity, virtue, heaven, Nibbana, etc.) Translations abound, but I would go for one that was translated by a Buddhist. Access to Insight has several available free online. The translation by Acharya Buddharakkhita is the one I am currently studying, and so far it's the best I've seen. If you like one you can follow the links to order/purchase it!

Regards,

Josh
"Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." — AN 11.12
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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby adamposey » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:22 pm

If it's information on Buddhism you're looking for it is all available online, easily digestible. What you will get in various books are monks clarifications, usually, or in some books more studious versions of the same. To that end you must understand that the western mind tends towards specificity and verbosity, meaning that some of these concepts that might not take much time for an easterner to grasp take a long time for us to understand as easily. For information about the eight fold path and meditation I personally love Bhante. Gunaratana's books. "8 mindful steps to happiness" will assist you in living a better life even if you don't subscribe to Buddhism.
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Re: Any good books that could teach a beginning learner about Bu

Postby Popo » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:12 am

This thread has some too. Good luck in your exploration.

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148
Theoretical approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a theory must be tempered with reality.
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