AMSproductions wrote:Hello one and all! I have recently been reading quite a bit about the Buddha and his teachings, and about Buddhism in general. I'm not sure yet if it's really for me, but I'm hoping this forum can teach me much more. There's so much information online I don't know where to start! I've read about the three gems and the Eightfold Path, and much more but I feel like my grasp is only so-so due to the vast amount of resources. Having no temple or major following near my home doesn't help much. So, if anyone here has any advice of where to start for someone considering this lifestyle, I'd greatly appreciate any help. I don't know if this information helps at all, but I was baptized Catholic at an early age but quickly learned that it was NOT for me. I've spent a lot of time avoiding religion because of what I've seen carried out in the name of "God"; then, as I began to hear and see more about Buddhism I realized there is a wonderful and kind group of people that just want kindness and positivity- not just for themselves, but for all beings. I'm rambling, sorry. any direction you guys can offer will be appreciated!
You should read the Dhammapada first and foremost. I'd say it's probably the most beloved Theravada scripture.http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/damapada.pdf
Otherwise, I can't recommend enough What the Buddha Taught
by Bhante Rapola Wahula and The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
by Thich Nhat Hanh. They are perfect introductions to the subject, although be warned that Thich Nhat Hanh's will be far more of a Zen approach than Wahula's traditional Theravada. http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/basic-guide.htm
is also a great collection of simple articles to get acquainted with the subject. Really Buddhanet.net in general is an awesome resource.
For meditation, try Mindfulness in Plain English
by the Venerable Henepola Gunaratana. Otherwise: http://www.vipassanadhura.com/howto.htm
I would recommend reading just a bit about Buddhism to understand the basic things, mainly the three marks of existence, the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, and the five precepts
and then plunging straight into meditation. Too many people get bogged down in intellectual stuff and forget that it's all about mindfulness and meditation.
Finally, the greatest single resource is In the Buddha's Words
by the Venerable Bhikku Bodhi. The ISBN is 0861714911and if you read the entire thing, you will come out with a knowledge of Buddhism sufficient to maintain a meditation practice for a lifetime.
I also came from a Christian background and I would definitely encourage you to take a look at the teachings of lord Buddha. They lead to peace, joy, and freedom from suffering
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.
Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.
His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti SuttaStuff I write about things.