Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Sanghamitta
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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:21 pm

If we assume that the object is not to convert but to give a glimpse of Buddhadhamma in action, perhaps " A Still Forest Pool " might fit the bill.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Gharchaina » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:11 pm

nomad wrote:My mother, a devout Christian, has recently shown an interest in my study of Buddhism. She asked if I had any books to loan her so that she could learn more about what it is that I believe and practice. I have a few hard-copy books, but I am afraid that they may not be what she is looking for. I was thinking about giving her “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere” and “Who is My Self?”, but I am wondering if that would help her at all. I think that she just wants an understanding of her son’s faith and is not looking to transition anytime soon. Do you guys think that these would be good books to give or would you recommend something else? I would prefer to stay away from e-books because her knowledge of computers is extremely limited.

Thanks,
With Metta

~nomad

:sage:


I would strongly recommend the chapter on Buddhism in Huston Smith's World Relgions. It is succinct, covers both Theravada and Mahayana and really accurately and sympathetically explains what Buddhism is about. Al in about 30 pages. A great introduction.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:02 pm

http://www.goodquestiongoodanswer.net/

Good Question, Good Answer by Ven. Dhammika is excellent, short, but not too short, concise, in plain English and to the point. It covers all the major issues and clears up some misconceptions.

And it is available online, free!

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Moggalana » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:38 pm

Thank you very much for that link :anjali:
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby suriyopama » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:32 am

mikenz66 wrote:For something with Buddhist attitudes with not technicalities there is Ajahn Brahm's "Opening the door to your heart"
http://www.bswa.org/zencart/index.php?m ... 8110a4f3d9
[American Title: "Who ordered this truckload of dung?"].


Excelent recommendation Mike :twothumbsup:

My mother, who has never been religious, enjoyed reading Ajahn Brahm's amusing stories. She used to believe that all buddhist monks love and enjoy the gold at their temples as much as the Pope of Rome and the Vatican Empire, but the austere and simple living that Achan Brahm describes at this book did change her mind.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:38 am

Greetings,

David N. Snyder wrote:http://www.goodquestiongoodanswer.net/

Good Question, Good Answer by Ven. Dhammika is excellent, short, but not too short, concise, in plain English and to the point. It covers all the major issues and clears up some misconceptions.

And it is available online, free!


Yes, that was the first Buddhist text I ever read.... and, well... I became Buddhist, so it must have done the trick! :thumbsup:

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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nomad
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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby nomad » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:36 pm

Thanks for the wealth of recommendations. I'm going to give her a few choices and see what she likes best.

~nomad

:sage:
"I am because we are." -Xhosa Tribal Saying

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Bonsai » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:21 pm

I have Old Path White Clouds and The Heart of Buddha's Teachings on the way in the mail. A light bulb just flicked on in my brain in that Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen Monk, and I am interested in Theravada Buddhism, since the latter holds true to the original teachings (from what I've read). Also, Zen requires a teacher, and I don't have one. :(

So can anyone recommend a book, in the Theravada tradition, that looks at Buddha's life and Buddhist teachings? The book you would take if you had to spend the next 20 years in the wilderness, yet a book that is easy to read for someone new to Buddhism. I am still looking forward to reading Hanh's books, but I am a linear thinker. 1 leads to 2 leads to 3. Yet when you replace 2 with 5, or turn 3 upside down, then I get lost. :P

Last question. Is this something I should be worrying about now? I am assuming there are major differences between Zen and Theravada, and learning Zen without a teacher...well I really want to learn more about Theravada.

Thanks for all answers! :D And I hope the hijacking was okay, since it's related to the original topic and what was discussed here about Hanh.

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Ben
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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Ben » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:38 pm

Hi Bonsai

So can anyone recommend a book, in the Theravada tradition, that looks at Buddha's life and Buddhist teachings?

The Buddha's life:
-- Bhikkhu Nanamoli: The Life of the Buddha
-- Helmuth Hecker, Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi: Great Disciples of the Buddha
The Buddha's teaching (introductory)
-- Bhikkhu Bodhi: The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html
-- Narada Mahathera: Buddhism in a Nutshell: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... shell.html
The book you would take if you had to spend the next 20 years in the wilderness

What I would take to the wilderness would be different to what I would recommend to someone starting out on the path. For me, it would be:
-- A translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi
-- A translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi
-- Visuddhimagga by Acariya Buddhaghossa translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli
-- A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi
If I'm going for 20 years then I'll insist on the above four and not one!

Last question. Is this something I should be worrying about now? I am assuming there are major differences between Zen and Theravada, and learning Zen without a teacher...well I really want to learn more about Theravada.

This is getting a bit off-topic and should be raised in a thread of its own, But what I will say is that at the beginning there's no problem with becoming familiar with different traditions. In time, you may wish to settle down and follow the teachings and instructions from one teacher within one tradition.
Now lets get back to topic!
kind regards

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:42 am

Nomad,

I know you specifically stated "a book", but there was also this website http://www.justbegood.net/index.htm that made the rounds a while ago. It seemed to be specifically tailored to the task at hand if your mother has internet access.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
Li Bai

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Dan74
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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:07 am

Bonsai wrote:I have Old Path White Clouds and The Heart of Buddha's Teachings on the way in the mail. A light bulb just flicked on in my brain in that Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen Monk, and I am interested in Theravada Buddhism, since the latter holds true to the original teachings (from what I've read). Also, Zen requires a teacher, and I don't have one. :(

So can anyone recommend a book, in the Theravada tradition, that looks at Buddha's life and Buddhist teachings? The book you would take if you had to spend the next 20 years in the wilderness, yet a book that is easy to read for someone new to Buddhism. I am still looking forward to reading Hanh's books, but I am a linear thinker. 1 leads to 2 leads to 3. Yet when you replace 2 with 5, or turn 3 upside down, then I get lost. :P

Last question. Is this something I should be worrying about now? I am assuming there are major differences between Zen and Theravada, and learning Zen without a teacher...well I really want to learn more about Theravada.

Thanks for all answers! :D And I hope the hijacking was okay, since it's related to the original topic and what was discussed here about Hanh.


Thich Nhat Hahn in his books (like the ones above) tends to present some basic Buddhist teachings that are fundamental to all traditions. Like dependent origination or what he has dubbed "interbeing," mindfulness and compassion.

As far as I remember he does not present much Zen or Mahayana in the books that you mention, but I could be wrong.

As regards choosing a tradition, best as Ben says to acquaint yourself with several different ones. Read, go on retreats if you can and most importantly practice!

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:05 pm

You asked for recommendations for Theravada reading Bonsai. Those mentioned above by Ben are excellent recommendations. Truly fitting for this "Discovering Theravada" subforum.

:anjali:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby Bonsai » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:58 pm

Thanks Ben, Dan74, and Sanghamitta! Will definitely check them out.

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Re: Buddhist Text for Non-Buddhist?

Postby suanck » Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:48 am

David N. Snyder wrote:http://www.goodquestiongoodanswer.net/

Good Question, Good Answer by Ven. Dhammika is excellent, short, but not too short, concise, in plain English and to the point. It covers all the major issues and clears up some misconceptions.

And it is available online, free!


I agree. That's the book I'd recommend to anyone who wants to have a general overview of Buddhism.

Suan


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