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1. Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical
2. Buddhism Plain and Simple
3. Buddhism for Beginners
4. Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical
5. Hinduism and Buddhism, an Historical
6. Buddhism For Dummies
7. Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach
8. Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary
9. Buddhism and Buddhists in China
10. Manual of Zen Buddhism
11. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
12. One Breath at a Time: Buddhism
13. Outlines Of Mahayana Buddhism
14. Buddhism for Mothers of Young
15. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism,
16. The Essence of Tibetan Buddhism
17. Zen Buddhism
18. Buddhism: A Concise Introduction
19. The Complete Idiot's Guide to
20. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

1. Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 1
by Sir Eliot
Paperback: 330 Pages (2010-07-12)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003VTXYKK
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 1 is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Sir Eliot is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Sir Eliot then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

2. Buddhism Plain and Simple
by Steve Hagen
Paperback: 176 Pages (1998-12-29)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$5.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767903323
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Buddhism Plain and Simple" offers a clear, straightforward treatise on Buddhism in general and on awareness in particular. Steve Hagan presents the Buddha's uncluttered, original teachings in everyday, accessible language unencumbered by religious ritual.Amazon.com Review
You might want to digest this book slowly, a few pages at atime. Although Zen teacher Steve Hagen has a knack for putting thephilosophy of Buddhism in a "plain and simple" package, it may take awhile to sink in. There is so much there. Seeing reality, realizingthe wisdom of the self, breaking free of dualistic thinking--this ispretty heady stuff. Thankfully, Hagen passes it along in the form ofexamples from life, psychological tidbits, and stories from Buddhistteachers past and present. And when it clicks in, it can belife-transforming. Hagen explains this shift in outlook and how thefundamental way we look at the world affects everything we do. As anoutline, Hagen follows the basic teachings of the Buddha, and we seethat, rather than dogmatic truths, they are reminders for us as wereconsider the life we have taken for granted for so long. As it turnsout, Buddhism is life, plain and simple. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Customer Reviews (158)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read, plain and simple and to the point.
I'm not even done reading this book, and I love how it really takes to the basic ideology of Buddhism. Sometimes with all there is out there to read and experiance, you get lost in the details. This book is helping me get back to what's it all about. Highly recommend this to beginners as well as to ones who have been doing this for quite a while.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE best introduction to Buddhism
I've read dozens of books on Buddhism, and I keep coming back to this one as the most unadorned and compelling introduction to the tenets and practices of Buddhism. Even though Hagen writes from a Zen perspective, his explanations are applicable to anyone interested in Buddhism in general. Highly recommended in conjunction with "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clarifying and enlightening
I found this book intensely helpful in clarifying the basic principles of Buddhism. I have referenced this book in several situations. I recently picked it up again after not having looked at it for over a year and had that "wow, this is really good! I forgot how helpful this is!" reaction.

Hagen lays out in plain language the spirit and philosophy of Buddhism. He plainly explains the basic principle that desire leads to suffering. He gets at the simple definition of nirvana.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in mindfulness, Buddhism or living well.

5-0 out of 5 stars to the point !!
I have been buddhist for a while. love this book to the point and funny

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introductory book on Buddhism
I've read this book a number of times, and given it to half a dozen people asking for an introductory text on Buddhism. ... Read more

3. Buddhism for Beginners
by Thubten Chodron
Paperback: 160 Pages (2001-02-25)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.22
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Asin: 1559391537
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Answers fundamental questions and issues that arise in the minds of modern Western individuals who are beginning this tradition of practical spirituality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent beginner's guide
thubten chodron has prepared an excellent orientation to buddhism for beginners.it is well written, well organized, and answers almost all of my basic questions.this book is the "what is it?" and not the "i'll inspire you to do this in order to achieve enlightenment".it makes sense to stand and walk before running.it is plenty brief, provides a glossary at the end, and is laid out for future reference.it is very basic, so, i suspect that most folks will want to move on with further readings with greater detail.in the end, it is only by practice of a pathway that we will really develop spiritually.this book provides the high school type orientation to the most basic questions.this seems to be one of the finer orientations for westerners and is not written for an academic audience necessarily and older teens should be able to comprehend it.fortunately, other than a few mantras in the original tongue, everything is in easy-to-understand english. i highly recommend it.i give it an "A-".

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book
I will agree with some of the others; this is a great book if you're vaguely familiar with some of the concepts.If you've never heard anything about buddhism except the name, this may not be the best place to start.What it did for me was to clarify some of the concepts I had read about in other books that those authors did not elaborate on, either for lack of room or their belief you already understood the concepts.I did find this to be a fascinating read.Some of it in other ways gets repeated in other books on the subject to varying degrees, but this is a bit more simplified.Well worth the read.

3-0 out of 5 stars bud for beginners
interesting, written in plane english very basic overview of buddhism not preachy at all just some insight on the subject.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Terrible Introduction for those new to Buddhism
This is a really bad place to start for those new to Buddhism. The title should have been "Tibetan Buddhism for Beginners." There is so much emphasis on the very mystical, literal interpretation of reincarnation that is specific to the Tibetan tradition, and this is not a good way to start. Details such as "it takes 4 minutes for the transmigration of the soul... I don't know why, but it just does" (not a literal quote, but she basically says this), is really ridiculous.

A better place to start would be "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula or "What Makes you Not a Buddhist" by Jamyang Khyentse.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Buddhism for Interested Peoples
Simple.Easy to read.A basic introduction.Not too in-depth, but that is not the intent of this book.The intent of this book appears to simply provide some basic background information for those with an interest in Buddhism.If you are already a Buddhist or possess existing knowledge of the subject, this book is not what you are looking for.If you have no knowledge of Buddhism, but are interested in learning what the religion is all about, this is a good book for you. ... Read more

4. Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3
by Sir Eliot
Paperback: 556 Pages (2010-07-12)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003VS0ZB2
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3 is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Sir Eliot is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Sir Eliot then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

5. Hinduism and Buddhism, an Historical Sketch, Vol. 2
by Charles Eliot
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-03-07)
list price: US$10.75 -- used & new: US$10.75
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Asin: 1443206741
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: History / General; History / General; Religion / Buddhism / General; Religion / Buddhism / Rituals ... Read more

6. Buddhism For Dummies
by Jonathan Landaw, Stephan Bodian
Paperback: 384 Pages (2002-12-01)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$12.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764553593
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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What's the significance of Buddha? How can the practice of Buddhism enrich our never-ending hectic lives? Discover what it means to be a Buddhist in everyday life and in everyday lands in this fascinating Eastern religion. Buddhism For Dummies offers a clear, straight-forward road map that will aim to answer the fundamental questions, issues, and conflicts that arise daily. Readers will gain an understanding of what is Buddhism?, How to become a Buddhist? Explore the 2,500-year history, and learn about the most prominent Buddhist leader of our time, the Dalai Lama. Buddhism For Dummies will also touch on daily observances, celebrations, styles, practices, meditation and more! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

3-0 out of 5 stars For dummies...
This book constantly refers to other parts of the book in parenthesis, it is extremely distracting. Very hard to understand the point when you have (For more information on ### refer to page #.) every other sentence.

5-0 out of 5 stars buddhism for dummies
The information is very well organized and easy to read.That was exactly what I needed to understand the concepts.I would highly recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Just the Basics
The title says it all. The book gives you a good overview of Buddhism and goes into a bit of detail where needed. lots of notes, bullet points and asides highlight this book (just like you'd see in other books from the Dummies series). This is for someone who knows nothing about Buddhism and would be a nice gift to someone who is curious or open minded.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great intro to the Dharma
Why do people from Tibet fly colored flags? What is Zen and why is it everywhere? What is a Theravada?

This book answers all of that and more!

If you are interested in finding out about Buddhism, or have a loved one that is a Buddhist this is the book for you. It quite adeptly describes the basics of Buddhism and lays them out in a friendly manner. You will learn about the different sects and find out just how much Buddhism is NOT a cult. That is an important one to me because I have been accused by a neighbor of spreading my cult juice all around. Considering I never talk to anyone about this unless they ask its a bit challenging.

Back to the book, inside you get information about the Buddha, where he came from, what his message was and most of all how he was NOT a deity. He never was and never expected to be treated as one. It was not until the Greeks invaded India that the first statues of Buddha came around, (notice the knotty hair you will see on most statues of Buddha, its very Greek in origin).

This is a great primer for students too. If you have a world religions class, you cannot pass this book up. Its like cliff notes on steroids.

If you are interested in Buddhism you cant pass this book up. Its easy to digest and fun at the same time!

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed My Life Forever
I'm not going to write what's in this book; instead, I'm going to tell you about how reading this book changed my life for the better.

I was born and raised in a Catholic family, and for over 30 years I considered myself one, but I wasn't very good at it and I didn't like it; whenever I sinned, I was filled with despair and self-loathing.But then sometime in early 2008, I picked up this book and my life was changed forever.Within a few months my mind, my perceptions and my attitude toward myself had irrevocably changed.

What I took from this book was the lesson that the physcial world is impermanent, it is always changing, and from this I took so much more from it.I have come to believe that looking outside yourself for lasting happiness--whether it is food, money, power, possessions, even love from others--is impossible; these things can only bring temporary happiness.True happiness come from within.

Accepting this idea means you become much more accepting of the inevitable curve balls that life throws at you.You realize that the situation, while not to your liking, is only temporary, so just accept it and ride it out.

This acceptance of events also applies to people as well.I used to be very hung up on what others thought of me.I did everything I could to make them happy, but in the end only drove myself crazy when they didn't give me that approval I so desperately needed.But now I accept that no matter what I do, some people just won't like me and I don't try to win them over.

What also appeals to me about Buddhism is that you are allowed, even encouraged, to question the teachings of masters past.Even Buddha himself said not to follow what he said or did simply because he did it.Think for yourself on these practices, and if they work for you, then embrace them, but if not, then don't and don't lose any sleep over it.

If any of these points I have raised appeal to you, then I encourage you to buy this book and I hope you find what you are looking for within these pages.But if my words go in one ear and out the other, that's okay too; Buddhism isn't for everybody. ... Read more

7. Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children
by Sarah Napthali
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1742373771
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Firmly grounded in the day-to-day reality of being a mother, this revolutionary guide discusses Buddhist teachings as applied to the everyday challenges of bringing up children


Teaching how to become a calmer and happier mother through Buddhist teachings, this enlightened book helps mothers achieve their full potentials to be with their children in the all-important present moment, as well as to gain the most possible joy out of being with them. Parenthood can be a time of great inner turmoil for a woman—yet parenting books invariably focus on nurturing children rather than the mothers who struggle to raise them. This book is different; simply put, it's a book for mothers. Using Buddhist practices, Sarah Napthali offers ways of coping with the day-to-day challenges of motherhood. These ways also allow space for the deeper reflections about who we are and what makes us happy. By acknowledging the sorrows as well as the joys of mothering, Buddhism for Mothers can help enable a shift in perspective—so that a mother’s mind can guide them through the day instead of dragging them down. This is Buddhism at its most accessible, applied to the daily realities of ordinary parents.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book helps me be a better mom... And human being
As a new mom, I've struggled with anger, worry, resentment, fear... The author deals with all these and other aspects of being a parent, presenting guidelines and leading the reader through how to apply Buddhist principles to mothering, and to be a more calm, centered person. I haven't even finished the book yet, and it's helped me so much. I am buying this book for every new-mom friend I have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love this book!
I'm reading this book for the second time (and I also have the author's second book) and I find it so helpful!It helps you to find ways to work towards making more mindful parenting choices, while also being realistic about the struggles moms face and that a formal meditation practice is hard to come by for most.I find myself remembering different passages throughout the day that help me to be more aware of my own habits and actions and not get bogged down in negativity.I would highly recommend this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars You will read it again and again!
I purchased this book along with "Mama Zen" by Miller and have LOVED them both.I keep them by my bed and read something out of each of them every night.It's the kind of book you can read over and over because the topics covered are relevant to your life everyday with children!This book goes more into the buddhist teachings (which I like) than "mama zen" does and I find they complement each other well.This is better than any "how to" or "what to expect" parenting book out there because it tackles the most difficult aspect of parenting (I think) - how it makes you feel!Tired, angry, hopeless, lost, happy, confused, whatever!The author lets you know it is okay and normal to feel all of these things as a parent and gives you buddhist teaching to help you deal with these emotions and faith that you will become a better person for the challenges that parenting provides!Best "parenting" book i've ever bought!!Next I'm buying her book for parenting school-age children!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life
Buddhism for Mothers opened my eyes to a completely different way of looking at parenting, and at everything. One small example- before reading this book I would get mad or even just annoyed at my kids all the time.I couldn't figure out how to change their behavior. This book helped me see that I should start by dealing with my anger, separately from whatever my kids are doing.Basically she's saying that if you start to feel angry, don't suppress it or express it. Just notice it, and the effect it's having on your body. Remember that the feeling is only temporary, so you don't want to give it too much power. Use it as an opportunity to grow by exploring what's causing it and then resolving it.Well, that explanation doesn't really do the book justice.But you might be able to get a taste from it, that this is an approach that starts by helping you to become more loving, and then the rest sort of takes care of itself.But she's very specific about how to be loving, and patient, and accepting.There's a lot more to it than you might think. My kids still start to drive me crazy, but now I have a way of turning that into a moment where I can practice what I've learned.Just that switch from feeling emotional, to analytical changes the whole dynamic.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great tonic for mothers
If you've ever felt at your wits end, fed up with responding to a constant stream of demands from your children, wondering what your life might have been like if you'd take a different path - then PLEASE read on.
Doesn't it feel great when you're talking to a friend and they listen without judgement and completely understand what you're feeling and going through as a mother... But how often does that happen nowadays? Not that much I think when we are rushing around from one appointment to the next, with time only for snatched conversations, texts or emails.
As mother's many of us strive to meet high standards and expectations we set for ourselves, only to feel guilty for failing to be the perfect mother, partner, friend, worker, housekeeper, dieter etc... Then we beat ourselves up and berate ourselves at a time when we really need huge doses of support and compassion.
Well right now I feel like jumping up and down and yelling out to you - GO GET THIS BOOK.. but since I can't do this in person -let me try and explain why. Plainly put - you have to get your hands on Buddhism and Motherhood.What an amazing read.The author Sarah Napthali, a mother of two young children, completely gets what it is to be a mother in a clear, honest and gentle way.
Sarah Napthali uses Buddhist teachings to provide ways to help us cope with the day-to-day challenges of motherhood - and in ways that allow us to think more deeply about who we are and what makes us happy - something we rarely allow ourselves the chance to do. She gives us amazing insights and tools to help shift our perspective on anger, guilt, worry about our children, living with a partner and finding happiness.
This is already so long, but I wanted to pull out some excerpts from the book that I loved. I've put these in my blog at [...]. So take a look if you want to know why this book will give you the chance to reconnect with what is important to you.
... Read more

8. Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
by Stephen Batchelor
Paperback: 144 Pages (1998-03-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573226564
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Those with an interest in Buddhism will welcome this new book by Stephen Batchelor, former monk and author of Alone With Others and The Awakening of the West. But those who are just discovering this increasingly popular practice will have much to gain as well-for Buddhism Without Beliefs serves as a solid, straightforward introduction that demystifies Buddhism and explains simply and plainly how its practice can enrich our lives. Avoiding jargon and theory, Batchelor concentrates on the concrete, making Buddhism accessible and compelling and showing how anyone can embark on this path-regardless of their religious background.Amazon.com Review
As in all the major religions, there is a wisdom behind thetheology of Buddhism that informs the believer in daily life. StephenBatchelor would argue that the difference with Buddhism is that thewisdom is in fact independent of the theology and is not informativeto believers only, but to everyone. In Buddhism Without BeliefsBatchelor lays out the major tenets of Buddhist wisdom, commenting ontheir relevance to modern life. The Buddha said that seekers must findthe Truth for themselves, and Batchelor offers this book as a roadmap. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (122)

1-0 out of 5 stars NOT Happy!
I bought this book because I had just finished reading it and loved it.Since the book I read was borrowed, I wanted to buy a new for my library.Well, the new book I received via Amazon was a very poor quality version of the one I had just read.The printing was faint.The paper cheap.The cover was cheaper and less substantial.It looked like a cheap Taiwanese copy ... the ones they produce without paying royalties.To top it off they packaged it such that they tape covered the front of the book so now I have a new book without the top have of the printing on the front page.Yes, I'm pissed.I want my money back!

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking at Buddhism from the modern west
How should we look at an ancient framework of ideas from the modern world, as intellectual descendants of Socrates and Huxley?To be an authentic Buddhist, should we strive to believe precisely the things that Gotama believed?If we do not try to do that, how should we understand these teachings?

These are the questions that Batchelor considers, and he comes down very strongly on the side of trying to tease out the essence from the teachings and apply those to our world rather than try to see the world from a pre-literate agrarian perspective.

Perhaps Batchelor's most famous example of this deals with reincarnation.He notes clearly that there is no reason to believe that the Buddha did not have an opinion about that and that his opinion was that all beings are reincarnated and there is some relationship between our state in this life and our state in the next.He also notes that this was something that everybody in that time and place believed.It was be a teaching tool, but it is not really his teaching, and it is not part of the essence to apply to our lives today.

Further, he finds many things that seem to be part of the essence of the teachings that are very compatible with the questioning of beliefs to be found in Socrates and the agnosticism of Huxley.And then in that context he applies the essence of the teachings to the modern world.

I found his thoughts and conclusions very compelling.This book changed my life, opened my eyes to skills and practices that are entirely compatible with my background as a scientist, and I think are widely applicable in this modern world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on Buddhism
This is the best book on Buddhism I ever read. It's easy to read and explains things that other books talk about but leave you scratching your head saying, "What does that mean?" It's a thin book but totally comprehensive.

2-0 out of 5 stars This Book Smacks of Western Elitism

Is not this type of blather, mainly propagated by science-worshipping, atheistic, material-rationalist, elitist, intellectuals?Have they not commandeered and co-opted, certain elements of Buddhism to serve primarily as a "moral framework" and as a "guide to daily living" for the general purpose of adding something meaningful to and consoling to their sterile, empty, hollow, vapid, and nihilistic worldviews?

Having said that, I actually see nothing wrong with this kind of phenomenon per se. But to consider nirvana/enlightenment, karma and rebirth, as nothing more than "useless baggage from the past" based on superstitious belief and the ignorance of 'infallible and almighty Western-Science,' makes it hard to call these people "Buddhist" in any sense of the word. I feel I know them reasonably well, as I used to travel in their circles and to be completely honest with myself- I'll admit I was one myself, of the worst sort. One of the self-styled iconoclastic and progressive thinkers, who are all quite eerily similar to one another in thought, deed, education, schools attended, book collections, social class, etc.. They can frequently be observed entering Unitarian Universalist churches, humanist groups/meetings of various sorts, and Ethical Society meetings, often gloating, drooling, and reveling in their intellectual superiority over the masses and in their atheistic superiority over the religious and faithful amongst us.

I myself came to Buddhism from this background- an atheism and science background (I'm an engineer for what it's worth), and like many others, for many years I could not accept the karma/rebirth model of existence. However, rather than my universally proposing that Buddhism be reworked and re-tooled for the `modern rational age,' I simply adopted certain Buddhist beliefs that I could accept at the time, and worked these into my life. Batchelor is somewhat my doppelganger- he has moved in a polar opposite direction from me, yet in some strange way I feel he is quite similar to me. If I understand correctly, he rushed out whilst barely out of his teens, to become ordained as a Tibetan monk, lived in India, studied Zen in Korea, etc. In contrast- It took me 20 years of studying Buddhism before even deciding to become a lay Buddhist, unaffiliated with any Buddhist school, order or movement. Batchelor appears to have been a hastily ordained Tibetan monk, soon after a disrobed Tibetan monk, tried Zen on for size, decided that didn't fit, and was eventually drawn to the scientific/atheistic worldviewmodel, over many years of thought and consideration.

As for me, I came from an atheistic science worldview model to begin with. It's where I started from. After many years of study, questioning, and searching, I gradually accepted Buddhism and all its foundational thought, including rebirth, enlightenment/nirvana and karmic law.This was a gradual process for me, and this also appears the same in Batchelor's case; albeit us moving in polar opposite directions. "Opposite journeys" towards truth and liberation as it were.

I sincerely hope I am wrong in stating this, but it seems to me as if there is a good deal of Western, intellectual elitism at work here. By all means, adopt Buddhist teachings into your scientific/atheist worldview, but please, don't make the claim "My Buddhism is better than your Buddhism. "My Buddhism is based on rationality and science, whilst yours is based on ancient superstition and an outmoded worldview." "My Buddhism is pure in nature and entirely based on cold rationality and reason, unsullied by superstition, whilst your Buddhism has 'folk beliefs' mixed in and is therefore diluted, corrupted, and inferior." "My Buddha is Bigger than your Buddha!!!"Is this not what this group of misguided people, is actually saying here? Does not all this boil down to: "The Buddha was a victim of living in a culture/society that brain-washed him into believing in a karma/rebirth model he could not shake off?""The Buddha's mind was not intelligent, advanced, or enlightened enough to shake off the concepts/trappings of karma and rebirth?" Whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that the Buddha discarded many other such "sacred cow" beliefs without hesitation.Anatma(no soul) being one key example. The Buddha also discarded the caste system when it comes to Buddhism, no easy feat for that culture and time period.

Does Batchelor, with all his surety and confidence, ever stop to think for one micro-second, that maybe it is *he* who is the product of his environment, social conditioning, schooling, Western academia, British culture and its legacy of racism and colonialism, Western thought, and the paradigmatic group-think, common amongst Western intellectuals? Or is he a special being who is somehow entirely immune from paradigmatic thinking and all environmental conditioning? Did the thought ever arise even once in his mind, that perhaps it is *he* who needs to change his solidly embedded, Western, rationalist worldview?Or is he so intent on shaving off the corners of Buddhism so it then fits into his nice and tidy, little Round-Hole of Atheism and Science?Am I wrong in stating that many believe that Buddhism is a buffet or smorgasbord of ideas, wisdom and teachings, where you pick and choose the concepts that you happen to you like, agree with, give you warm fuzzy feelings or are compatible with your pre-existing worldviews?

I find it somewhat interesting that Batchelor hails from Britain, which at one time not so long ago, colonized and ruled vast parts of the globe.. Mr. Batchelor, is this simply a case of us white, European, western-educated, rationalists and men of science, needing to teach these backwards Asians how "real Buddhism" actually works and how it needs to be implemented? After all, many of them even hail from Tibetan backwater villages and such, grew up in impoverished conditions, lack proper schooling, academic degrees, knowledge of rationalist philosophy, quantum physics, and beyond that, they are superstitious, believe in spirits, ghosts, fortune tellers, pray, bow to statues, and other non-scientific nonsense. It's our job to educate them about pure/genuine/original/rational Buddhism, and save them from their backward ways of practicing Buddhism, isn't it? Is there more truth in my comments than you would care to admit, my good Mr. Batchelor? Is your current quest, some type of modern, Buddhist based "White Man's Burden?" Those Asians who have been studying, practicing, refining, and perfecting Buddhism over the last 2,500 years, could not have possibly got things right without us modern, science-based, Westerners to improve upon it for them. Is that what you are saying Mr. Batchelor?

Batchelor also states something to the effect of-"I find rebirth hard to believe in and accept." Well great, so your solution is to change Buddhism so that several fundamental building-blocks of it, are abesnt and no longer bothersome to our western-trained, modern, rationalist minds?I find many things hard to believe as well-I find it hard to believe I am sitting here at my work-desk and traveling at approx. 800mph.(Earth's rotation) Or that my body is 99.9999999 empty space(spacial structure of the Atom) and that the solid feeling earth that I stand on, is also such empty space.However, all these things happen to be true.

I'll share an experience of mine-One nice, warm, summer evening, about ten years ago, I was strolling down one of the back-streets of Chinatown in NYC, away from the crowds and traffic, and I was passing by a storefront. Behind the front glass window of the small shop, sat a statue of the Buddha. An elderly Asian woman seemed to appear out of nowhere. She was approx 60 years of age, pencil thin to the point of emaciation, and very haggard and impoverished looking. She quickly stood facing the window, clasped her hands together as if in prayer, and quickly bowed three times to the Buddha's image, before quickly disappearing once again, into the urban jungle of NYC's Chinatown.

This occurred during the time I fancied myself somewhat of an Atheist-Scientist-Rationalist-Buddhist and for about ten minutes I thought to myself- How far superior is my understanding to her understanding. Did she study the sciences and have an engineering degree? Did she have a huge book collection of western philosophers, eastern philosophers, advanced physics, and did she understand where Buddhism intersects and stands within that great pantheon? Did she understand particle theory? Dark matter? String theory?Plato? Descartes? Sartre? Allthe great thinkers and philosophers of the ages? All the intricacies of interdependent origination? How dare she degrade and insult Siddhartha Gautama's teachings by merely bowing to his image as if he were a common God of some sort, to be prayed to, revered and worshipped. How dare this vile, tired, haggard, and skinny, old Asian woman, corrupt MY Buddhism with her primitive folk beliefs and her irrational superstition?At that very moment, I was Stephen Batchelor, I became Stephen Batchelor, or even worse!

After ten minutes of such thought, I became literally nauseated, sick to my stomach, and ill because of myself and my big, fat, ego and proud sense of self. And I had somewhat of an epiphany, regarding my own shallowness, egotism, ignorance, and lack of compassion- With all my stone-cold reason, hard science, rational facts, and intellectual B.S., who was it for me to question, cast doubt upon, consider more ignorant or less informed, any person's beliefs or practice? Maybe that old, skinny, woman,knows more about Buddhism than I do. Perhaps her practice and application of it is far superior or purer than mine. Perhaps she has developed more positive karma in her life than I have or ever will. Perhaps she could teach me many things about life and Buddhism. Perhaps she is a kinder person than I. Perhaps she is more compassionate than I. Perhaps she has helped others more than I. Perhaps she is further down `the path' than I am. At this point, I decided that I am not one to judge others in their beliefs and practices. I can only say what is right for me, and my path, and my beliefs. I am not here to denigrate anyone else's path or write books claiming "mine is superior" for such and such reason...

"Cherry picking" Buddhism for certain agreeable concepts, whilst rejecting certain main foundational concepts, and still calling it `Buddhism' can be quite insulting to the Sangha and Buddhist community. Call it for what it is- Make up a new term for it- "Atheistic-Buddhism" perhaps, or "Scientific-Buddhism.". I could accept those terms being used to describe it.Referring to it as simply `Buddhism' and presenting it as having anything to do with traditional or historic Buddhism,is quite foolish and erroneous..

5-0 out of 5 stars Distillation of the Essence of Buddhism
Mr. Batchelor simply separates the wheat from the chaff in this book: what is essential, and novel about the Buddha's teaching, as distinct from the many other mystical, Brahmic, and animistic belief systems that existed during his life. He has laid a path for a very Western appreciation of Buddhism, one stripped of so much of the cultural accoutrements of the Eastern schools, and this is likely essential for the continued success of Buddhism in the West. Mr. Batchelor's work is very divisive, and that is an indication of not only its relevance to modern Buddhists, but also it's importance in shaping the future of Buddhist practice. ... Read more

9. Buddhism and Buddhists in China
by Lewis Hodus
Paperback: 80 Pages (2009-07-01)
list price: US$9.45 -- used & new: US$6.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1438522010
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Yes, it is open to all men. The sutra says: 'If there be any one who commits evil deeds, and even completes the ten evil actions, the five deadly sins and the like; that man, being himself stupid and guilty of many crimes, deserves to fall into a miserable path of existence and suffer endless pains during many long ages. On the eve of death he may meet a good and learned teacher who, soothing and encouraging him in various ways, will preach to him the excellent Law and teach him the remembrance of Buddha, but being harassed by pains', he will have no time to think of Buddha. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting book!
This book records many real conversations occurred 100 years ago, otherwise I know nothing on what the people then said. ... Read more

10. Manual of Zen Buddhism
by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
 Paperback: 166 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$16.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1604443219
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (Suzuki Daisetsu Teitarō, October 18, 1870 - July 12, 1966) was a Japanese author of books and essays on Buddhism, Zen and Shin that were instrumental in spreading interest in both Zen and Shin (and Far Eastern philosophy in general) to the West. Suzuki was also a prolific translator of Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit literature. Suzuki spent several lengthy stretches teaching or lecturing at Western universities, and devoted many years to a professorship at Otani University, a Japanese Buddhist school. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Place to Start
I actually had studied Zen off and on for many years, and read many texts. But, I wanted to read a book that I felt would give me some direction, a manual.So obviously the title caught my attention.D. T. Suzuki was very well known, honored and respected scholar and practitioner of the Zen way. But a quotation on the back of the book by Carl Jung cinched my decision to purchase, "Suzuki's works on Zen Buddhism are among the best contributions to the knowledge of living Buddhism...We cannot be sufficiently grateful to the author, first for the fact of his having brought Zen closed to the Western understanding, and secondly for the manner in which he has achieved his task."
This book is a must have for the library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Table of Contents
For your information, Here is the Table of Contents:This is a very useful book for followers of zen, of course, The Ten Oxherding Pictures are a must have!

I.GATHAS AND PRAYERS:1.On Opening the Sutra2.Confession3.The Threefold Refuge4.The Four Great Vows5.The Worshipping of the Sarira6.The Teaching of the Seven Buddhas7.The Gatha of Impermanence8.The Yemmei Kwannon Ten-Clause Sutra10.General Prayer11.Prayer of the Bell.II.THE DHARANIS:1.Dharani of Removing Disasters2.Dharani of the Great Compassionate One3.Dharani of the Victorious Buddha-Crown.III.THE SUTRAS: The Prajnaparamita-hridaya-sutra, or Shingyo (complete)2.TheKwannongyo, or "Samantamukha Parivarta"(complete)3.The Kongokyo, or Vajracchedika (The first half and extracts from the second half)4.The Lanikavatara Sutra, or Tyogakyo
(Extracts)5.The Tyogonkyo, or Surangama Sutra (resume).IV.FROM THE CHINESE ZEN MASTERS1.Bodhidharma on the Twofold Entrance to the Tao2.The Third Patriarch on "Believing in Mind"3.From Hui-neng's Tan-ching4.Yoka Daaishi's "Song of Enlightenment"5.Baso (Ma-tsu) and Sekito (Shih-tou)6.Obaku's (Huang-po) Sermon from "Treatise on the Essentials of the Transmission of Mind"7.Gensha on the Three Invalids (from the Hekiganshu or Pi-yen Chi)8.The Ten Oxherding Pictures, IThe Ten Oxherding Pictures, II.V.FROM THE JAPANESE ZEN MASTERS1.Daiio Kokushi on Zen2.Daio Kokushi's Admonition3.Daito Kokushi's Admonition and Last Poem4.Kwanzan Kokushi's Admonition5.Muso Kokushi's Admonition6.Hakuin's "Song of Meditation"VI>THE BUDDHIST STATUES AND PICTURES IN A ZEN MONASTERYBuddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhats, Protecting Gods, Historical Figures.

5-0 out of 5 stars Table of Contents
For your information:Here is the Table of Contents:
I.GATHAS AND PRAYERS:1.On Opening the Sutra2.Confession3.The Threefold Refuge4.The Four Great Vows5.The Worshipping of the Sarira6.The Teaching of the Seven Buddhas7.The Gatha of Impermanence8.The Yemmei Kwannon Ten-Clause Sutra10.General Prayer11.Prayer of the Bell.II.THE DHARANIS:1.Dharani of Removing Disasters2.Dharani of the Great Compassionate One3.Dharani of the Victorious Buddha-Crown.III.THE SUTRAS: The Prajnaparamita-hridaya-sutra, or Shingyo (complete)2.TheKwannongyo, or "Samantamukha Parivarta"(complete)3.The Kongokyo, or Vajracchedika (The first half and extracts from the second half)4.The Lanikavatara Sutra, or Tyogakyo (Extracts)5.The Tyogonkyo, or Surangama Sutra (resume).IV.FROM THE CHINESE ZEN MASTERS1.Bodhidharma on the Twofold Entrance to the Tao2.The Third Patriarch on "Believing in Mind"3.From Hui-neng's Tan-ching4.Yoka Daaishi's "Song of Enlightenment"5.Baso (Ma-tsu) and Sekito (Shih-tou)6.Obaku's (Huang-po) Sermon from "Treatise on the Essentials of the Transmission of Mind"7.Gensha on the Three Invalids (from the Hekiganshu or Pi-yen Chi)8.The Ten Oxherding Pictures, IThe Ten Oxherding Pictures, II.V.FROM THE JAPANESE ZEN MASTERS1.Daiio Kokushi on Zen2.Daio Kokushi's Admonition3.Daito Kokushi's Admonition and Last Poem4.Kwanzan Kokushi's Admonition5.Muso Kokushi's Admonition6.Hakuin's "Song of Meditation"VI>THE BUDDHIST STATUES AND PICTURES IN A ZEN MONASTERYBuddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhats, Protecting Gods, Historical Figures.

5-0 out of 5 stars If the book is worth $13, the Kindle version is certainly worth $3.
Found the print copy of this in a bookstore and thought it was an interesting reference.Starts from the very beginning and covers quite a lot.If you are interested in the rituals and readings of Zen Buddhism, this the book to have.Well worth the small cost.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zen Classic
This is a classic book and important for any Zen Buddhist Library.I am very happy that it is still available. ... Read more

11. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
by D.T. Suzuki
Paperback: 144 Pages (1994-01-13)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$6.88
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Asin: 0802130550
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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One of the world’s leading authorities on Zen Buddhism, D. T. Suzuki was the author of more than a hundred works on the subject in both Japanese and English, and was most instrumental in bringing the teachings of Zen Buddhism to the attention of the Western world. Written in a lively, accessible, and straightforward manner, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism is illuminating for the serious student and layperson alike. Suzuki provides a complete vision of Zen, which emphasizes self-understanding and enlightenment through many systems of philosophy, psychology, and ethics. With a foreword by the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung, this volume has been generally acknowledged a classic introduction to the subject for many years. It provides, along with Suzuki’s Essays and Manual of Zen Buddhism, a framework for living a balanced and fulfilled existence through Zen.

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Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is not a book review.
For those from a western cultural background, Zen falls somewhere between extremely difficult to impossibly inaccessible. We have such a hard time about it, It's not uncommon to dismiss the whole thing as a bunch of nonsense. One hand clapping? Trees in the forest? What the hell are these guys talking about? And why are they talking this way? Why are they being so difficult about the whole thing? Why don't they just tell us what it's all about?

They did, but we couldn't tell. Due to conditioning, everything is placed in terms of logical dualism. Thanks to ego, it's hard to accept that our comprehension has limits.



The questions are rhetorical.

This first step has been a major hurdle, Intro to Zen has been incredibly helpful in getting started. It does exactly what it says it does. But is it Zen?

5-0 out of 5 stars just what it says
I almost hesitated to give this 5 stars because the book itself is really an intellectual work - written largely to appeal to the intellect.This is somewhat contrary to Zen and to the very principles advocated in the book.But it is an excellent introduction and was among my first books on Buddhism and my first on Zen.As such, it served to inspire me to further investigation and to enter a spotty program (I wish I had the discipline to do better!) of meditation .

While reading this book, I suppressed the urge to "speed read" and took my time, reading as my last activity before bed.I would read until I got tired, or until something stopped me... something that demanded processing.Here's the best example:"Zen always seeks the ultimate truth that cannot be taken to the dissecting table of the intellect".

It took me three days to get past that one.This book puts forth the idea (this book is certainly not the only one) that not everything can be "figured out" by turning the gears of the brain.As a lifelong slave to my brain, I was challenged and fascinated by this idea.

In fact, I often had that sensation while reading this book.I recommend this wholeheartedly to intellectuals who suffer from their own minds.It cannot serve as an end, but very well as a beginning of the journey towards a more peaceful mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great guide for modern living
Intro to Zen by Suzuki offers some common sense guides to living in our rushed, hectic world.It takes time to grasp the concepts but stay with it and you'll be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Big Suzuki* * * ( * * )
D.T. Suzuki was NOT a Zen Master, though he was a Zen practitioner. So this book is a little dangerous for people interested in Zen. This is a great INTELLECTUAL discussion of Zen "philosophy," the "psychology" of Zen, the Zen "mentality," the "principles" of Zen, and the "point" (if there is one) of Zen. For all of that, it earns FIVE STARS.

This book was and is written for linear-minded Westerners who want to know "about" Zen, but for the person interested in Zen practice, reading this book is analogous to sitting down at the dinner table and eating the plates, not the food. You will not "experience" Zen by reading this book (unless you already understand that reading the book is Zen). People first coming to Zen through this book need to be warned that this book will not make them into Zen students. D.T. Suzuki makes a big deal about "Kensho" and "Satori," but trying to describe enlightenment is like trying to describe your own dying. Thus, we give back TWO STARS. But if you want to understand Zen as a "school of thought," this book is definitely for you.

D.T. Suzuki was considered the "dean" of Zen in the West when Zen was first breaking into the public consciousness. Along with Lafcadio Hearn, Reginald Blyth, Christmas Humphreys and Alan Watts, he was one of the midwives of that process.

Shogaku Shunryu Suzuki (not related), who WAS a Zen Master often referred to himself as "Little Suzuki" to distnguish himself from "Big Suzuki." For active Zen practitioners, however, the appellations need to be reversed. For the essence of "Little Suzuki"'s teisho (teachings) visit with Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (Shambhala Library).

Zen is NOT an intellectual process, and it cannot be described. It is tasting the food. It is the reading of the book. It is sitting in meditation. It is counting the breath. It is all that, and it is none of that. It is---BANG---and that is all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good intro to the Zen View of everything
The book is divided into several chapters which were originaly published as a single articles on several publications, but have a reworking that makes them easier to read. First a rather long foreword by Dr. Jung let us oversee the entire oriental vision of the world. Afte a short prelimiray done by the author, chapter two discusses on what is zen and what is not zen. On the third chapter the question of the supposed nihilism of zen is brought to the board. Then on chaper four an introduction the the logic (or ilogic) of the zen is done. Still, on chapter five the author reaches the partial conclusion that zen rather than a nihilistic and ilogical doctrine is a higher affirmation of the whole of the universe. On chapter six, a general realization of the practicity of zen (in contrast with other branches of buddism and christianity) is done. On chapter seven, the author try to describe the reaching of illumination or "satori". On chapter eight, author make an explanation of the aim and functioning of the so called "koans", which are excescies composed of brief cases that exposes the zen mind and logic further hard to explain and understand. Finally on chaper nine a short description of a monk's life in a zen monastery is done, to show up the central role of the "zendo" or meditation hall within the monastery.
A brief reading that can be taken as an exelent introduction to the zen, highgly recomended. ... Read more

12. One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps
by Kevin Griffin
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-06-09)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1579549055
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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What would the Buddha say to an alcoholic or addict? What could those in recovery offer to the Buddhist path? Kevin Griffin has immersed himself in the Buddhist and Twelve Step traditions, and in One Breath at a Time he gives some surprising and inspiring answers to these questions.
The author, a Buddhist meditation teacher and longtime Twelve Step practitioner, weaves his personal story of recovery with traditional Buddhist teachings. The book takes us on a journey through the Steps, examining critical Twelve Step ideas like Powerlessness, Higher Power, and Moral Inventory through the lens of Buddhism. One Breath at a Time presents potent ancient techniques for finding calm and clarity and offers a vision of a Higher Power not tied to traditional Western Judeo-Christian concepts. One Breath at a Time, describes the convergence of two vital traditions, one ancient, the other contemporary, and shows how they are working together to create a rich spiritual path for our times.

Certain to resonate with both meditators and those whose mantra is "One day at a time," One Breath at a Time should find a large, welcoming audience.
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Customer Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Profound Compassion and Curiosity without Judgement
This book is another path towards recovery from a Zen perspective.There are many roads that lead towards sobriety and seeing it from a Buddhist perspective in this book allows us once again to look at our disease with profound compassion and curiosity without judgment.The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery


5-0 out of 5 stars Honest, open-minded and willing
Someone suggested Kevin Griffin's book to me several years back and it has been a valuable addition to my library on alcoholic recovery. Kevin is great in presenting a stark review of his crazed years and shows how we can make real change in our life, through spiritual practice. This is a great book. Anyone interested in recovery and Buddhism should read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Recovery and Full Life
The approach in this book to addiction recovery guides the reader through steps to defeat the addiction and begin again a full and satisfying life through a combination of a twelve step program approach with the similar techniques of the Buddhist experience.

1-0 out of 5 stars Alcoholism Recovery yes, Buddhism no
This book will actually dissuade you from the desire to learn Buddhism. The author even says that Buddhism alone did not solve his problems, mainly alcoholism, but he needed to rely heavily on an integration of both Buddhism and the 12 Steps of overcoming alocohol addiction, in order to obtain fulfillment. He admits the title is wrong, and that it is indeed. There are no 12 steps to Buddhism, but to an individual looking for a basic book about Buddhism fundamentals, "Buddhism and the Twelve Steps" could easily deceive the unititiated or unsuspecting person to believe that this book is indeed a book about 12 steps of Buddhism. It is not. Buddhism has 5 precepts or 8 precepts, depending on your attitude and goals for a peaceful life and mind. And while any person can characterize his Buddhism as 12 steps, this book is not such a book either. The author works tirelessly attempting to integrate alcohol addiciton recovery and Buddhism, but to those not well-informed or educated about the 12 steps of alcoholism recovery, this book leaves much to be desired. This is not a beginner's book about Buddhism at all, or even a book about the precepts of Buddhism. Rather, this book more accurately should be categorized as a book about alcohol addiction recovery, or a book about how the 12 steps of alcohol addiction recovery can be supplemented by some teachings of Buddhism. If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from alcohol addiction, or what the author says might be any type of dysfunctional behavior, and you have been immersed in and can fully appreciate what aloholism is about, and more particularly what the 12 steps of alcoholism recovery are about, then you could consider supplementing your library with this book. But if you are seeking to learn how Buddhism alone can help you solve a different type of real-world problem, say, dealing with a chronic illness, an eating disorder, anxiety, drug abuse, job stress, depression, the loss of a loved one, or bipolar, then this book is not for you. Or even if you are merely looking for an example of how Buddhism alone has worked to solve another person's problem, this book will leave you at a loss, since, again, the author stresses that fulfillment cannot be attained by Buddhism alone, but rather by only a combination of Buddhism with the 12 steps of alcohol addiction recovery.

... Read more

13. Outlines Of Mahayana Buddhism (1908)
by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Hardcover: 450 Pages (2009-08-27)
list price: US$51.95 -- used & new: US$35.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1120096901
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Due to the very old age and scarcity of this book, many of the pages may be hard to read due to the blurring of the original text. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Typos galore
This is for the kindle edition: basically it looks like someone scanned in the paper version of this book, but never bothered to proof the text. Full of typos to the point of being hard to read.I guess for .99 beggars can't be choosers, but if you are the type of person who is offended by typos, find another version.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magisterial
After almost one hundred years, this work still remains the single best introduction to Mahayana Buddhism written in English. While it contains a number of idiosyncrasies - consistent with the times in which it was written - it commends itself as one of the most comprehensive and authoritative studies of the major tenets of this tradition.In particular, its exposition of Buddhist metaphysics is without peer in the modern period. It is also much more helpful in understanding the Mahayana as a whole than the numerous books on Zen that Suzuki wrote in subsequent years.This is not the work of a mere scholar but a magisterial treatise of profound spiritual insights written by a man who had actually experienced what he was talking about.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Mahayana
This is a good, all-round introduction to Mahayana Buddhism. There's no talk of Zen, but alot of Buddhist metaphysics are clearly explained. It is typical Suzuki, and contains almost no info on practice. There's alot of near sermon-like dirges, and also some interesting parallels (and criticisms) of christianity. ... Read more

14. Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children: Becoming a Mindful Parent
by Sarah Napthali
Paperback: 258 Pages (2010-07-20)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1742371922
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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From the author of the acclaimed Buddhism for Mothers, a guide to discovering the path to meaningful, spiritual, and satisfying motherhood


A combination of personal narrative and stories gathered from mothers, this guide shows how spiritual and mindful parenting can help all mothers—Buddhists and non-Buddhists—be more open, attentive, and content. By guiding mothers on a spiritual path, this evocation also helps them cultivate wisdom, open-heartedness, and a better understanding of themselves and their children. The Buddhist teachings and principles help answer questions that all mothers face, especially those with young children: Who are my children? Who am I? How can I do my best by my children and myself? What to do about all that housework? and Is this all? Written in a clear and engaging style, this warm and simple meditation facilitates parenting with awareness, purpose, and love.

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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is wonderful
This book is useful for those who aren't practising Buddhists as well.Manymothers would like to be more mindful, and would like to avoid getting so caught up in "busyness" that we miss those amazing little baby moments.This book has useful, practical thoughts to help mothers adjust their perspective to see what is really important.It bridges the gap between Buddhist books that seem written for people who have no distractions in their life and plenty of time for formal meditations and retreats, and the reality of mothers of young children.

5-0 out of 5 stars Motherhood as a Spiritual Path - Good for non-Buddhists too
What I like about this book is that the author writes as both a practicing Buddhist and a hands-on mother, and her personal stories bring the two together. She doesn't write in the voice of a Buddhist 'teacher', or as a parenting expert. She shares stories from the trenches of her daily experience, and is very honest about how she feels in the moment. This makes it easy to translate into your own life.

All of the chapters revolve around a question, such as 'Who am I?', 'Where am I going?', 'What does this moment require?' and even 'What can I do about all the housework?' The most meaningful chapter to me personally was 'Who are my children?', which addresses the ideas and projections we often impose on our children, out of concern or denial.

I personally liked this book more than the prior, because it also covers the themes of mindfulness well, but branches out into more psychological issues associated with motherhood and ties them back to Buddhism. I think any parent can benefit from this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transforming
Excellent book.I can't recommend it enough. It has changed the way I parent and the way I treat myself and those around me.If you are looking to be more present in your life and with your children I suggest you read both of her books!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for keeping your mind
I think this is a great book, the author's use of examples of what other parents have been through is very helpful.She is very realistic and honest about feelings you may go through when parenting.And then she gives good ways of dealing with these feelings.Very down to earth.

4-0 out of 5 stars A celebration of motherhood as a meditation
I got this invitation to write a review while reading Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children: Becoming a Mindful Parent. I read Sarah Napthali's first book on Buddhism for Mothers and enjoyed it. I read this book with great pleasure as well. Napthali reflects on Buddhists principles from a recognizable point of view, that of a mother. A real 'I have been there and I have done that' mother. This makes the book a pleasure to read. You do not have to be a Buddhist to like this book and the author doesn't demand you to understand difficult Buddhist scriptures. You can even read this book while being interrupted by your child and I am quite sure that you will stay calm and kind. I like this book best because it helps you to celebrate motherhood not so much because of your kids (there are many other books on that subject) but because Napthali helps you to make it a long lasting meditation and gain wisdom and joy in the demanding years of parenting young children. ... Read more

15. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, Revised Edition
by John Powers
Paperback: 512 Pages (2007-12-25)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$14.27
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559392827
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The expanded edition of the classic reference, one of Snow Lion's top ten bestsellers. Thorough coverage of Tibetan Buddhism from its Indian origins to the present day; includes new information on the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, religious practices and festivals, and the current political situation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Needed an editor
I had a bit of a conundrum when decided what to rate this book. It is a very good introduction and covers a great deal of information. I chose to read it after a trip to the Spiti Valley in India where Tibetan Buddhism is almost exclusively practiced, and I felt this book gave me a greater understanding of those things that I experienced while I was there. The problem in this book is that it is in great need of a good editor. At many areas in the book, I found myself reading the same information for 3 or more long paragraphs in a row worded just slightly differently. This book could have been edited down to two-thirds of its current length without any loss of information. Until the book gets a proper editing to make it more concise and better worded, I'm afraid I cannot give the book a higher rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars A phenomenal resource & very detailed reference
Truly, this is among The Great Books to buy and keep near you when you are earnestly seeking to understand Tibetan Buddhism and will benefit from a wealth of references to everything you might want or need to investigate in greater detail. No single book could provide in depth information about every aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, why and how it is unique; John Powers has done a brilliant job of anticipating the questions that would likely arise in the mind of someone who wishes to pursue the path of Enlightenment and has been drawn to Tibetan culture and the intense devotion of the Tibetan people to "be as they are and as they were" regardless of many decades and cycles of suffering, destruction and death.

We are first given a history of the evolution of Buddhism and tremendous insight into the formation and embracing of Buddhism as a spiritual 'system' of learning within Tibet. While other countries and cultures have embraced Buddhism prior to Tibet, there is an inexplicable power about the people and the place which made Buddhism almost synonymous with the Tibetan culture. Having been drawn to the Tibetan expression of these spiritual teachings, these book informs me that I did not choose an 'easy' path: for a Westerner to honestly comprehend and do all that is necessary to accomplish the appreciation of emptiness, let alone the ability to contemplate emptiness and know all else is bliss.. this requires Refuge which can be very difficult for most of us to attain. I first sought the Teachings of Buddha in a moment of anger, when I could have used information to bring harm to a person who had behaved very badly. It was then that I learned that if I could not remain compassionate and kind, instead giving in to the feelings of greed, anger and foolishness, I must stay away from these people -- they are, for me at least, evil. John Powers' book has aided me tremendously in refining what I'd learned and informing me "Ah, it is not so easy as all that...!" Even when I am able to maintain kindness and compassion no matter who is tormenting me, this is an important aspect, but only an aspect, of so very much work that must be accomplished. I'm spending as much time researching even more of what John Powers has already written of in painstaking detail.

Even for HH the Dalai Lama with lifetimes of accumulated experience as a perfect being, Kundun has been and still must seek to maintain equilibrium. He's had to make some terribly difficult decisions in the name of keeping peace ~ and for this, he is criticized by some ~ truly, there's been enough bloodshed and he wishes everyone to get along and for persecution of all people to cease. Praying for the persecutors is not the same as the Christian who 'turns the other cheek' in response to insult: parallels can and will be drawn, but the enormous difference is the belief in perfecting one's own nature and achieving Buddhahood versus asking an unseeable and unknowable deity to forgive the ignorance of the persecutor. Each Buddhist feels the connection to all other sentient life, yet there is the knowledge of the illusion and the responsibility to find the clear, unencumbered knowing an action (or inaction) is correct. The Buddhist has no one who died for their absolution and no church is necessary. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is an amplification of these almost indescribable qualities of compassion and connectedness and simultaneous acceptance and contemplation of emptiness. John Powers describes what may seem like an impossible paradox beautifully... well enough that I can grasp what I cannot quite express.

Tantra in various manifestations is explained with great precision. Many Westerners will be disappointed to learn that the bliss is accomplished via sexual union in one end of the spectrum, yet to achieve the necessary courage and resilience to approach an Enlightened and Clear Mind via this path requires an ability to identify with certain Gods and Goddesses in such a way that one either befriends or (more powerfully) becomes them. And the same is true for the consort of partner. Tantra is explained as being dangerous, because this is true. Westerners I've met have bought books of yoga poses which promoted 'better sex' which missed the point entirely and some have gotten themselves into serious psychological crises.

In Tibetan Buddhism, you work and practice ~ rarely will anything be attained easily. And when one chants, it is most often to send a prayer of good out into the world and send prayers almost as often as one breathes and until it becomes something like an autonomic process. Put good thoughts and feelings out for all to benefit. Rarely does one pray for themselves and when they do it is to achieve a greater understanding or strength within themselves with a goal of separating the spiritual from the physical and material realms. Simply put, one wishes not only to be "a better person" but to become much more than this in order that the world will benefit. This is not the 'ego loss' so feared by Westerners (and it is the clinging to same which is much more frightening). And to identify oneself with a deity in order to walk with or become one with that deity is not madness or megalomania; it is asking a great deal of bravery of oneself and then shrugging off the asking as "no big deal." As of this moment in time, this is my best understanding ~ and I've come even this small distance quickly, relying on and trusting the information in this excellent book as a catalyst to more expansive horizons.

As for the person who wrote the review complaining about the 'Feminist approach' in Powers' writing being in some way upsetting, I believe there is quite a lot more literature that assumes a masculine voice and find it refreshing to hear reference to 'she' and 'herself'. It is also wonderful that in Tibetan Buddhism, women are taken quite seriously as monks, Dakinis (Goddesses in benevolence and in wrathful aspect, as warriors and terrifying forces) and, as much as their male counterparts, "people to be reckoned with." It is this way in life ~ why would there be an imbalance in spirituality?

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
Awesome and nicely put together. Great for all levels on the path to Buddhism. A must have!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Looking for an easy readable yet factual correct and unbiased presentation of Tibetan Buddhism, I came across this excellent text. Its now one of my favourite books about Tibetan Buddhism written by an academic and I can highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
I would highly recommend this seller!Book arrived in Australia quicker than expected in better condition than expected!!Can't get better than that! ... Read more

16. The Essence of Tibetan Buddhism - The Three Principal Aspects to the Path and Introduction to Tantra
by Thubten Yeshe
Paperback: Pages (2003)
-- used & new: US$1.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0013W8I6M
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"Meditation is not on the level of the object but on that of the subject - you are the business of your meditation."Bodhicitta is very practical, I tell you. It's like medicine. The self-cherishing thought is like a nail or a sword in your heart; it always feels uncomfortable. With bodhicitta, from the moment you begin to open, you feel incredibly peaceful and you get tremendous pleasure and inexhaustible energy. Forget about enlightenment - as soon as you begin to open yourself to others, you gain tremendous pleasure and satisfaction. Working for others is very interesting; it's an infinite activity. Your life becomes continuously rich and interesting."Historically, Shakyamuni Buddha taught the four noble truths. To whose culture do the four noble truths belong? The essence of religion has nothing to do with any one particular country's culture. Compassion, love, reality - to whose culture do they belong? The people of any country, any nation, can implement the three principal aspects of the path, the four noble truths or the eightfold path. There's no contradiction at all." ... Read more

17. Zen Buddhism
by Daisetz T. Suzuki, William Barrett
Paperback: 400 Pages (1996-07-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$8.87
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Asin: 038548349X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A highly accessible overview of Zen philosophy includes a basic historical background, a thorough overview of the techniques of Zen practice, and explanations of key concepts and terminology. Reprint.Amazon.com Review
The premier metaphysician of the 20th century, MartinHeidegger, once said in regard to D. T. Suzuki, "If I understand thisman correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all mywritings." Roman Catholic writer Thomas Merton,analytical psychologist Carl Jung, socialpsychologist ErichFromm, avant-garde musician John Cage, writer and social critic Alan Watts, poetGary Snyder --all influential in their own rights, claim a debt to Mr. Suzuki andhis writings, the most representative of which are gathered here inZen Buddhism. An intellectual understanding of Zen begins withthis book. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant introduction to zen
For anyone interested in spiritual practice in general and specifically zen; why it is considered by its practitioners as being the only path to liberation while tolerating all other traditions, this book is the best I have yet read. Its discussion maintains the life of zen; by that, I mean it does not deaden the practice as most other books do. It is very clearly written and its contents are profound. Rereadings will bring unexpected rewards.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Beganning of ZEN
One of my doctor's suggested that I look into understanding the practice of ZEN Meditation in healing from Cancer. And because I knew very little on this subject, my boyfriend suggested that I order this book, it was just the one that I need to give me an overview on the subject. I truly have a better understanding on the subject because of this book. I would encouage anyone who is interested in getting a better understanding and greater benefit from their yoga, tai chi, meditation practice to read this book. A must have for you library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where Do I Stand?
Where do I stand?
I have no legs.
This room, this floor;
Moment after moment,
Light flickers on and off.
Not on, not off.
I do not know.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read for anyone and essential for Zen students
DT Suzuki is one of the most influential writers/philosophers on Zen and Buddhist teachings in the western world. Whether they agree with all of his positions or not, nobody in the western Zen community would deny the importance of Suzuki's role on bringing Zen to awareness in the West.

William Barrett has done an extraordinary job in compiling and introducing Dr. Suzuki's writings in this book, which is a veritable horn of plenty when it comes to the classic teachings of Zen Buddhism. Barrett's introduction alone (around 100 pages) is massive treatise on the core teachings of Zen.

A great read for all! Zen students that have not yet tackled the massive corpus of D.T. Suzuki's writings would be well advised to start with this superb collection which presents the essential teachings of Zen, and the heart of Suzuki's message in a wonderful format for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Man That Brought Zen To The West late 1940's
Besides the great writer Alan Watts who was able to popularize Zen and the Eastern mindset to the West,morphing into the literary current day pschologists such as Mark Epstein and Jon Kabat Zinn, much credit must be given to Suzuki who was the undisputed earlier intellect who brought Zen as an academic calling to the West..His writing is difficult,historic, and philosophically prosed yet taking one's time with these works sheds light on Zen's themes of seeing that IS second nature because it is original nature.
The great intellectual's of the day,such as Karen Horney,Erich Fromm all showed their respect to Zen in their concepts while William Barrett's introduction rings fresh as the new intellectual zeitgeist of the then day hit Western shores...Barrett himself a fine philosopher and writer offers a timely overview bringing in Heidegger and existentialism one of his areas of expertise. ... Read more

18. Buddhism: A Concise Introduction
by Huston Smith, Philip Novak
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-12-01)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$3.50
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Asin: 0060730676
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A concise and up-to-date guide to the history, teachings, and practice of Buddhism by two luminaries in the field of world religions.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Warm, wise, and wonderful
A warm, wise and wonderful introduction to Buddhism.They provide chapters on the major philosophical points ofBuddhism as descriptions of the major branches.I especially liked the section on the history of Buddhism in America.A quick and helpful read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book that made a Buddhist out of me
I think Smith and Novak did an expert job here. This book is written from an explicitly ecumenical perspective: both authors are Americans who are interested in philosophy, not ritual, and Smith in particular (the better and more famous author of the two) is the child of missionaries and a convert to Western Buddhism from the 1960s. What they present to you is a possible Buddhism, not that which sounds foreign or "backwards", but that which you can imagine bringing into your own life. It's a neat little trip from India to Japan to America, surprising you all the way through and giving you possibilities for endless future exploration.

I've been studying Buddhism since the day I picked up this book, and its teachings have illuminated all that I encounter. Today we get bogged down in arguing over biases or simplifications, but it's impossible to write an unbiased book about any sort of human culture. They chose the correct perspective to emphasize.

3-0 out of 5 stars Starts off okay, runs into trouble later, good bibliography
This is the second book I have read on Buddhism, the other being "The Three Pillars of Zen". As I am fairly ignorant of Buddhism and am fully a Westerner, I will not comment on the accuracy of the text, only on the writing itself.
The book starts off strong with a vivid portrait of Siddhartha Guatama and a discussion of the various sects of Buddhism, particularly Theravada and Mahayana. The Four Noble Truths as well as the Noble Eightfold Path are explained, along with various subsets of lists that have been organized over the years.
The second half of the book mainly discusses the journey of Buddhism to America, with a very brief section on the journey of Buddhism to Europe. Unfortunately, I found that the prose became significantly less engaging from this point on, which is likely due to the change in primary authorship. While the first half is quite lucid and fascinating, the second half reads more like a list of "who's who" in American Buddhism along with endless lists of names of the various people that have contributed to this or that area. While this information is important, it does not make for good prose reading; an annotated bibliography or listing of names would be far more useful, as there is no way for a reader to remember more than a small fraction of the names listed in any case. This reader would have preferred more space devoted to the general phenomena involved in the western movement of Buddhism.
It would have also been nice for there to be some appendices, with the various lists, people, sects, etc. presented in chart form. The index works well enough, but this would have been a great addition.
I would also like to say one thing to readers who dismiss this book as "shallow" or "watered down". Of course it is watered down; it is a 200-page book distilling writings and teachings spanning thousands of years and surely millions of words written in ancient eastern languages. I think all things considered, this book is worth reading as a concise introduction. For deeper study, the annotated bibliography at the end is quite good.

4-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism: A Concise Introduction
The half written by Huston Smith was an easy enlightening read.The second half was boring.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Very Best Introductions to Buddhism
As I am writing this I have just seen a new report lamenting the lack of knowledge about religions amongst the youth of America. It's easy to see that ignorance about the core beliefs of others is dangerous, and, perhaps, a bit disrespectful.

This is a marvelous introductory book to the basic tenets of Buddhism by the well-known writer Huston Smith, whose magisterial book The World's Religions has sold more than two million copies. The first half of this book is an expanded and updated version of the sections on Buddhism from the World's Religions. Though there has been a shift in emphasis between the two: the big book focused more on Mahayana Buddhism, in this new book, the emphasis is more on Theravada Buddhism, with a useful chart delineating some of the differences and similarities between the two major schools of Buddhism.

The second half of the book is all new and was largely written by Philip Novak, one of Smith former doctoral students who is now a professor in his own right. His focus is more on the growth and spread of Buddhism in Europe and the amazing way in which Buddhism has evolved in North America. A tribute to its remarkable resilience in the face of cultural forces.

Although many of the basics of Buddhism can be picked up online, or by consulting any decent encyclopedia, the discussion of concepts like the our Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Nirvana and the Three Marks of Existence goes beyond the essentials and brings out a number of new and important points.

There is an important issue when we examine philosophical or religious matters. There is inevitably a subjective component in how anyone, scholar or otherwise, interprets the teachings and their own experiences. So it is inevitable that not everyone will agree with every interpretation and nuance. Insight meditation, one of the tools of Theravada Buddhism, was one of the first forms of meditation that I ever learned, and the way that I was taught, by a well-known Thai-born teacher, was somewhat different form the interpretations in this book. I have also seen a couple of reviewers take issue with some of the book's comments about Zen Buddhism. They make some excellent points. Though I studied Zen too, and my own teaching was close to the information given in the book.

So this book will not be the final word on Buddhism, but then there probably cannot be a "final word." The system has shown remarkable adaptability over the last twenty-five centuries, and there is no reason to think that it won't continue to evolve in the future.

Highly recommended. ... Read more

19. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism, 3rd Edition
by Gary Gach
Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-06-02)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.90
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Asin: 1592579116
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reach Your Zen Moment!

The latest edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Buddhism updates one of Alpha Books's most successful books in the religion/spirituality category, providing extensive information on both understanding the teachings and schools of Buddhism and incorporating the tenets of Buddhism into everyday life. It also includes additional information on Buddhism's effect on popular arts and sciences, the continuing relevance of the Dalai Lama, and an annotated bibliography.

• With Buddhism as one of America's fastest growing religions, the audience continues to renew itself
• Covers all four schools of Buddhism: Zen, Tibetan, Pure Land, and Insight Meditation, which are not in competitors' books
• For thousands of years, Buddhism has been a source of inner peace and security for millions
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly, not very good.
I've had great experience with Idiot's guide books and I find Buddhism an engaging subject.This book was a chore to read due to it's feeling more like sitting down and listing to the author drone on in his opinions for hours on end than an informational, how-to, or skill guide.

1.He goes to great lengths to give props to his "old master", who is mentioned so many times that it was annoyingly obvious.

2. Without fully explaining Buddhism, he compares Buddhism to everything from pet-owning and coin collecting (Buddhism in Science, Buddhism in Movies, etc. etc., but by this point you are nearing the end of the book and wondering if it's ever going to begin explaining Buddhism at it's core values or tell you something new - it never does in any satisfying way).

3. He compares it to every other religion in the world and makes excuses for it from a Christian or Islamic viewpoint (Such as insisting that owning a statue of the Buddha is not "Idolatry" - I find it insulting that he even tried explaining that to me.)


3. In general, doesn't explain Buddhism very well.He drops just a bit into more detailed topics such as different types of Buddhism, and, before you can even whet your whistle, moves on like a freight train or veers off course into personal opinion.

I am now reading the Idiot's guide to Zen Living, and I have to say, it tells me 10x more about Buddhism and Zen both than this book could ever hope to imagine.I wanted to learn about Buddhism at a base level before delving into Zen, but I didn't really learn a lot about it from this book that I didn't already know from the basics.It feels more like an opinion article in a newspaper.I am sure the author is accomplished at what he does, but I feel this book was written poorly for novice and intermediate alike. Try Zen Living.

5-0 out of 5 stars A little about alot, start here
I've searched around a bit in my years of following the Buddhist path for a book that explains a little about alot. Meaning, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buddhism is a vast wealth of knowledge, from Zen to Tibetan Buddhism, Pureland to Nichiren there's something for everyone.

While it may not be the most literary book written, it's written in a way any of us "idiot's" can understand. This being the third edition of "Complete Idiot's Guide To Buddhism", it obviously has had some revisions. Not only did it have a different author, but Gary Gach revisited and edited nearly a third of the book updating quite a bit of it.

I really appreciate the way Gary has laid everything out. The first half of the book breaks down the various traditions, the story of the historical Buddha and his teachings such as the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path. The second half of the book is more of a meditation manual, but breaks down various techniques that even beginners such as myself can comprehend and put into action.

As Buddhism continues to gain popularity in the West something as simple as the Complete Idiot's Guide To Buddhism can become a valuable tool. Don't let the title fool you, I believe there is something each one of us can learn from this book.

I'd recommend this to any practitioner, from beginner to advanced. If you think you can't learn something from a book like The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buddhism you're wrong and you should take some time to tear through this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor marks for writing and organization
Unfortunately, this book is poorly written and makes learning about a inherently interesting topic matter laborious. It is rare to see a book so poorly edited. The author's inability to tell "its" from "it's" and his frequent and sometime repeated corny jokes were distracting. I know that the negativity in this review and my frustration with the lack of editing likely reflects poor adherence to Buddist principles; maybe if the book was better I would have a different mindset.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Primer On An Engaging Subject.
Like many who are probably considering this book, my personal experience with spiritual practice has its origin in the Christian-based faiths -- actually growing up in a "mixed" household of Catholics and Baptists -- that predominate here in America.That said, Buddhism surfaces again and again in conjunction with such subjects as "mindfulness," a practice positively associated with everything from focused attention to improved health to centering prayer.Having consulted Wikipedia and a few other sources to get a general overview on the topic, I felt that it might be worth reading a book on the subject from a reliable source (ie, vetted by a publisher).

Most of the books offered on the topic are written by "Zen masters" or "converts" and read like they are (a) dated, having been written tens or hundreds of years ago, (b) were written for a nonwestern audience, or (b) lofty and enigmatic, as if aimed at the Zen choir. (If you don't already know a dharma from a koan, you miss half the book.)

In contrast, the Idiot's Guide:

1. is written in a contemporary, approachable tone
2. does not feel like you are being talked down to
3. provides an excellent general overview of the subject

(eg, covering topics such as the life of Siddhartha the historical figure that made the "hero's journey" to become the Buddha, the spread of Buddhism throughout the world, a comparison of the various derivatives or schools of Buddhism practiced today, the common terms associated with the practice, and the tenants of how to practice, etc.)

The good news about these idiots / dummies / morons books is that each topic is well sign posted.So if, for instance, you are not drawn to a particular topic you can just skip to the end of the chapter and read the critical bullet points and move on to the next topic.Or you can take a leisurely read through the topics that do interest you.

Finally, the book provides practical insights as to what Buddhism is and is not.For example:

a. The "Buddha" is considered a guide, not a god
b. Buddhism is, less a religion (with lots of liturgy and reference to "the word"), and more like a set of practices aimed at relieving the suffering we experience by virtue of being human
c. Buddhism is about "awakening" to being present moment to moment to your every thought and action coupled with an ethical practice of kindness
d. and much more.

Whatever your faith, if you have ever wondered about Buddhism, this is an excellent resource to provide an overview on the subject.

Hope this review helps.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism Revealed
Gary Gach's treatise on Buddhism is a five star plus! A very comprehensive and comprehendable coverage of the world of Buddhism.He brings out the Buddha in the reader and lights up a path to an enriching life. ... Read more

20. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Damien Keown
Paperback: 152 Pages (2000-06-15)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$4.00
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Asin: 0192853864
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This accessible volume covers both the teachings of the Buddha and the integration of Buddhism into daily life. What are the distinctive features of Buddhism? What or who is the Buddha, and what are his teachings? How has Buddhist thought developed over the centuries, and how can contemporary dilemmas be faced from a Buddhist perspective? Words such as "karma" and "nirvana" have entered our vocabulary, but what do they really mean? Keown has taught Buddhism at an introductory level for many years, and in this book he provides a lively, challenging response to these frequently asked questions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet.
This is a great series I discovered while studying at Oxford. The books are short (hence the title) overviews written by scholars for a lay audience.They are in no way simplistic, however.A great place to start if you are interested in Buddhism.It provides both a historical and doctrinal overview of Buddhism.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its title, fluently and accessibly
Finishing Damien Keown's "Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford UP, 1996), I compared his understanding to the book immediately prior that I had reviewed on Amazon, "god Is Not Great," by Christopher Hitchens. The latter writer fails to note the Dalai Lama's own insistence that if scientific inquiry proved false the words of the Buddha, he'd abandon the words; he also keeps, as Pico Iyer reported in his "Time" cover story (Mar. 31, 2008), a model of the human brain on his desk. Certainly the Dalai Lama's not the quasi-feudal potentate lording over theocratic serfs that Hitchens hints. Neither has modern Buddhism, as it evolves in the West, been opposed to secular liberalism or psychological analysis.

London-based scholar Damien Keown quotes the delightfully named Christmas Humphreys, a leading British pioneer in popularizing what he suggested a "new vehicle" of "Nava-yana" to "grow happily alongside, and even blend with the best of Western science, psychology and social science, and thus effect the ever-changing field of Western thought." He continued: "Just what it will be we do not know, nor does it matter at the present time. The Dhamma as such is immortal, but its forms must ever change to serve the ever-changing human need." (qtd. by Keown p. 121 from Humphreys' "Sixty Years of Buddhism in England," p. 80).

Surely Hitchens might find in such an openness a fruitful intersection rather than a solid wall that he erects that shuts off, given the failings of the Dalai Lama that he castigates amidst the larger stupidities of such as the Bhagwan or the Maharishi. In the single chapter he devotes to demolishing the Eastern alternatives, Hitchens does overlook the fluidity of Buddhism within progress, a feature that distinguishes its overlooked practical nature from the otherworldly states that Hitchens like most of us characterizes as a salient, and often only, differing feature of the Far Eastern seeker or guru vs. the Western (or Middle Eastern) mullah or minister.

Keown, by contrast, as his short study promises in its title, gives us a friendly entrance by portals we recognize into what for me's been a mysterious panorama. He compares human nature's "five factors of individuality" taught by the Buddha to five components of an automobile. The parts shift in motion, the car demands the fuel of "tanha," but all of its five parts eventually will break down. This gas-guzzling car's propelled by perhaps the wrong octane (my metaphor) of desire, which equates with the First Noble Truth that we depend on "dukkha." We will need to diagnose this flaw before we can repair our vehicle.

Likewise, Keown uses fire to explain the metaphor of "samudaya," the Second Truth of Arising. He then defines Cessation ("Nirodha") in the words of the Buddha helpfully: "asking about the whereabouts of 'an enlightened one' after death is like asking where a flame goes when it is blown out." (52) The flame has not gone anywhere; the process of combustion has ceased. "Removing craving and ignorance is like taking away the oxygen and fuel which a flame needs to burn." You can see, although Keown does not belabor the image, how the earlier automotive metaphors compliment the traditional ones of the candle-flame to explain for we moderns a venerable set of Buddhist core teachings--which forms Truth #4 of the Noble Eightfold path of the Middle Way of sensible moderation in daily practice, "Magga."

I found the chapter on the Four Truths enlightening, and his on the life of the Buddha summarized efficiently the little we know in fact well. (In fact, all I perhaps for now needed to know, compared with Karen Armstrong's Penguin Lives "Buddha"-- recently reviewed by me-- that tended to ramble on.) Other sections examine Karma & Rebirth, The Mahayana school, and Asian varieties. A short reading list, maps, and illustrations have all been chosen sparingly but appropriately; the use of text boxes to summarize key concepts makes this book reader-friendly, although the handsome typeface may be too small for some readers. The discussions of Asian expansion while necessary lacked the earlier and later chapters' verve, perhaps inevitably-- a second minor flaw.

Valuable discussions of ethics and Buddhism as adapted to the West should counter claims of many about the supposed non-worldly withdrawal from relevant concerns of human rights, scientific advancement, and mental health that show how this ancient teaching can be well integrated into current knowledge at the most advanced levels in industrialized nations, ecumenical dialogues, and secular cultures.

P.S. Countering George Dekle's 2006 comments here on Amazon, this book does not credulously urge you to levitate or water-walk! A careful re-reading of the book reminds us of Keown's pragmatic view: "Although the Buddha is said to have possessed these abilities himself, he sometimes mocked those who went to great lengths to acquire them, pointing out rather than devote years of one's life to learning to walk on water it was simpler to engage the services of a boatman!" (89)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brief Introduction to Buddhism
Buddhism is a subject that has spawned a huge and bewildering number of books, all meant to encourage the Westerner in understanding its message and way.Like the other volumes in the VSI series, this book provides a succinct introduction into a field in general, highly readable outlines.There is a short bibliography for further study, as well as a timeline; both of these help in placing the historical and religious aspects in perspective.It is also very clear in setting out the demands of Buddhism on adepts in the 21st century.As a starting point, this slim volume points theway to the Way.Highly recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism: a Very Short Recruitment Tract
"Buddhism" started off very well, giving the parable of the blind men and the elephant as an example that Buddhism could appear to be many different things depending upon your perspective.Then Keown moved on, giving a "life" of Buddha and an overview of the evolution of the various schools of Buddhism.But the further I read into the book, the elephant looked less and less like an unbiased work of scholarship and more and more like a thinly veiled attempt to convert the unbelievers to Buddhism.By the last chapter, "Buddhism in the West," the veil was off.

Before the last chapter, however, came the chapter on "Meditation," where it was revealed that through the power of meditation, you too can learn to read minds, have out-of-body experiences, levitate, and walk on water.

In the section entitled "The Popularity of Buddhism in the West" Keown made statements that are, to say the least, at odds with sober scholarship.To say that Buddhism, which has a cosmology inhabited by higher gods, lower gods, titans, and ghosts, is a rational philosophy strains credulity.To say that, unlike Christianity, few Buddhist doctrines are in conflict with science and allegorical interpretations are available for the ones that are, is again to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.Firstly, the doctrines of any religion that are in conflict with science can be interpreted allegorically.Secondly, the Judeo Christian concept of a universe with a beginning and an end is far more in keeping with scientific thought than the endless cycles of Buddhism.(Big Bang = "Let there be Light").Then to say that, unlike those poor benighted Christians, Buddhism doesn't have any "thou shalt nots" flies in the face of the Five Precepts, which forbid killing, stealing, lying, sexual immorality, and drunkeness.By my count that's four of Christianity's top ten Thou Shalt Nots.Then he writes about past life regression under hypnosis as if it were a valid science.Hypnosis is such an unreliable guide that most of the courts of this land refuse to allow witnesses to testify to hypnotically refreshed memories.There is more in the same vein in the last chapter, but those are the high spots.

The Oxford University Press is normally a bastion of scholarly merit.This work is not typical of their usually fine output.Instead of this book, read "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Buddhism," which actually gives good information without trying to make you believe you can walk on water and without trying to turn you into a Buddhist.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bodhisattva won't you take me by the hand?
If Steely Dan was your only introduction to Buddhism then you need to get this book. I am so glad that I found these "A Very Short Introduction" books. If all of them are as informative, to the point and interesting, I'm going to have a library. These books are the Cliff Notes to life for people with a brain.
This book has maps, references, end notes and pronunciation guides.It attempts to answer question such as "Is Buddhism a Religion?" Yes, based on the taxonomy of a religion used by Keown.

I don't want to make the review longer than the short book. But, if you want a brief overview of Buddhism and how it can relate to you today, get this book! ... Read more

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