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No Popular Theravada Bestsellers? - Dhamma Wheel

No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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christopher:::
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No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby christopher::: » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:28 am

My family and i arrived in NY last Friday. Today whilst at Border's bookstore i couldn't find one Theravadan book among well over 100 books on Buddhism... Everything available was by a Mahayana author, primarily Tibetan and Zen Buddhist. The Dhammapada was probably the only exception. Is this the case elsewhere as well? I had found books by Ajahn Chah and Joseph Goldstein last year, but i was wondering- with so many wise Bikkhus and Ajahns who make their dhamma talks available for free online, do they actively avoid publishing books?

:reading:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

Clayton
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Clayton » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:47 am

No, there are some books published, but a lot of Theravada teachers make their work available online (including books) for free out of compassion. This has been a great benefit to me in my practice. Check out Amazon if you want hard copies...

Clayton

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Ben
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:56 am

Hi Christopher

Great to hear you're in NY. I hope you and your family are having a great time!
Sadly, its the case most places I've been as well. I think the main issue is that booksellers have a very thin margin from which to pay for rent, wages, and all their other costs and then make a profit, so they will order in what they know will sell. About three years ago the closest thing to a Theravada book I bought in Borders was Jack Kornfield's 'After the ecstacy, the laundry'. And it was disappointing!

Last year I revisited the Theosophical Bookshop in Melbourne. Despite the Theosophical Society playing a pivotal role in bringing Theravada to the West in the late 19th Century, most of the books in the Buddhism section were of that bastard-hybrid genre of "New Ageified" Tibetan and Zen. You know, that touchy-feely stuff that you wouldn't touch with a barge poll.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Mawkish1983
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:03 am

Isn't Analayo's Satipatthana book a best seller?

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Ben
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:45 am

Yes, but again, amongst whom?
I would say amongst Theravadin practitioners in the West.
And how many would they number in any town and city?
Its all about market size.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Mawkish1983
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:12 am

Hmmm. That's why there's a whole section in the multistory bookstore in Manchester devoted to Bibles but not even a shelf of Physics books.

There's always amazon :)

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Ben
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:27 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

PeterB
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby PeterB » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:22 am

Its long been clear that there is is a direct and largely inverse ratio between best sellers lists and what the Buddha actually taught.
I dont see that changing. The popular taste is for the ersatz and what makes you feel good in the short term.
" With a Foreword By HH The Dalai Lama" is usually a reliable indicator that it need not detain one.

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BlackBird
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:35 am

"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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tiltbillings
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:41 am


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BlackBird
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:03 am

"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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tiltbillings
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:34 am


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Kim OHara
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:44 pm


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David N. Snyder
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:29 pm

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tiltbillings
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:55 pm

The use of the Dalai Lama's name on the front cover is a marketing device. That there is a forward by the Dalai Lama likely carries little weight with Theravadins, but it may attract the attention of Mahayanists to a "hinayana" book and those with a general interest in Buddhism. All of which is not a bad thing.
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Sobeh
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Sobeh » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:13 pm

I almost exclusively use ; Theravadans are more similar to graduate students than to the general reading public, imo, and to that extent are still a small population unable to make a dedicated storefront financially viable.

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Aloka
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby Aloka » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:24 pm

For anyone living in the UK, I recommend Wisdom Books. Their prices are comparable with Amazon and one can order by phone as well as online. They're very friendly and willing to get books in for customers if they don't have them in stock.




.

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christopher:::
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby christopher::: » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:49 am

Very interesting. Thank you all for your responses.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

alan
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby alan » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:46 pm

Was leafing through that book today, so I have it in mind. The intro sounds more like the result of a corporate marketing team than a real person. Of course his favorite bit is that it shows how much we have in common.
But to the topic: If the book tells you Buddhism is about paying attention while you eat that plum, grooving on the plumness of the plum, and it's all sweet, baby, if you just pay attention to the moment, well then that book will appeal.

alan
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Re: No Popular Theravada Bestsellers?

Postby alan » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:52 pm

Although I prefer not to peal my plums.


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