Book of Buddhism

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Book of Buddhism

Postby Commander » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:19 pm

Greetings to all of you first of all.

I have always had the desire to study the Buddhist philosophy but haven´t been quite well directed to it perhaps. Problem is that when you ask a Muslim which book one should read to study Islam, he will suggest the Qur´an, a Christian will suggest the Gospels, a Jew will suggest the Torah and a Hindu will direct me to the Bhagavad Gita, but what exactly should I read to study Buddhism?

In short, which book is considered as holy or sacred by the Buddhists, if there is any at all?

Answers are much appreciated.
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Re: Book of Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:18 pm

Try The Suttas there are five collections, the Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyuta Nikaya, Angutara Nikaya, and the Kundhaka Nikaya.
I am not sure how many volumes these take up in total but I will guess somewhere around the 30 mark? but there is also the Vinaya or Abhidhama which have 12 volumes between them. I think the full collection spans about 5foot of shelving.

but if you are looking for an introduction to Theravada texts try "in the Buddhas words" by Bhikkhu Bodhi, or "Wings to awakening" by Thanisaro Bhikkhu (the latter is freely available on-line)
if you are looking for an introductory book on Buddhism particularly the theravada then "what the Buddha taught" by Rahula.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: Book of Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:24 pm

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Re: Book of Buddhism

Postby daverupa » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:36 pm

Commander wrote:In short, which book is considered as holy or sacred by the Buddhists, if there is any at all?


We'll want to plant a flag on the terms "holy" and "sacred" so we will be sure not to make mistaken assumptions on their account, but they'll do for now.

The best text to study, in a comparative sense when also reading the Quran, Tanakh ("old testament"), Gospels, Analacts, and so forth, is probably the Majjhima Nikaya. It covers the material with a balanced combination of doctrine and narrative context, which is why it compares well with the format of these other holy books.

You can read more about the Pali Canon here, for a decent overview of core Theravada Buddhist texts. Alongside the Nikayas which comprise the Sutta section (the Majjhima Nikaya is one of these five), you will notice a Vinaya section (monastic rules & history) and an Abhidhamma section (extrapolation & commentary). These texts function similarly to the way the Talmud or the Hadiths or the Catechism of the Catholic Church are used, in case you are familiar with any of those.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Book of Buddhism

Postby Commander » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:52 am

Thanks everyone.

If I were to undertake the reading of the five Sutta, Nakaya or whatever they are called with deep respect, how long are they? I mean, are they very long books?
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Re: Book of Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:22 am

Greetings,

Commander wrote:If I were to undertake the reading of the five Sutta, Nakaya or whatever they are called with deep respect, how long are they? I mean, are they very long books?

Yes, they're quite long.

I agree that if you're going to do one, make it the Majjhima Nikaya, as its the least repetitive.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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