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u/algreen589 · 1 pointr/Buddhism

>The point in my response was that I interpreted you to say that elimination of craving was not part of the path to reduce suffering, when it clearly is, as is evident if you read any introductory text on Buddhism, and I provided a quote from the Pali cannon to illustrate this.

>But now it seems to have morphed into a quibble over how to summarize the third noble truth.

If something has morphed its your argument and its because you morphed it. When I originally joined this thread this is the comment I responded to:

>I am asking about the second Noble truth. I am asking concretely, how one reduces/eliminates thirst in the context of meditation...

>It's as if I asked about how exactly to do step 4 of a recipe, to mix flour and butter together, and you responded with, follow the recipe. I'm asking specifically about one of the steps in the recipe.

This is you stating emphatically that you are talking about the Second Noble Truth.

I replied:

>The First Noble Truth is all life is suffering.

>The Second Noble Truth is suffering is caused by desire.

>The Third Noble Truth is there can be an end to suffering.

>The Fourth Noble Truth is that the end to suffering is in following the Eightfold Path.

>I know you've seen people here say that if you eliminate all desire you can end suffering, and maybe you've seen a website or even a book that says as much, and if you want to believe that too that's perfectly fine.

>>I am asking concretely, how one reduces/eliminates thirst in the context of meditation...

>You can't make a Turkey with salt. You can't extinguish desire with meditation. It takes more than that, but that can help.

To which you replied:

>The third Noble truth is more specific than you note

>>nirodha (cessation, ending) of this dukkha can be attained by eliminating all "craving, desire, and attachment";[7][8]

This is you mentioning the Third Noble Truth for the first time. I don't know why you brought up the Third Noble Truth. I think you're confused and I'm not here to "quibble", or to flex my ego, or to expose anyone so I simply wished you good luck.

You then replied with:

>Here is a short summary of the four noble truths from the Saṃyutta Nikāya of the Pali cannon, as quoted in The Foundations of Buddhism by Buddhist scholar Rupert Gethin.

>>This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, sickness is suffering, dying is suffering, sorrow, grief, pain, unhappiness, and unease are suffering; being united with what is not liked is suffering, separation from what is liked is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in short, the five aggregates of grasping are suffering.

>>This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: the thirst for repeated existence which, associated with delight and greed, delights in this and that, namely the thirst for the objects of sense desire, the thirst for existence, and the thirst for non-existence.

>>This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: the complete fading away and cessation of this very thirst its abandoning, relinquishing, releasing, letting go.

>>This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: the noble eightfold path, namely right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

I don't know why you chose to share this translation, or how it advances your point. But I noticed that it is a workable translation so I replied:

>The second noble truth here doesn't look anything like what you described before. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

I thought that this would gently point out that you had switched from the Second Noble Truth to the Third Noble Truth, and I was trying to point out that even in the translation you quoted The Second Noble Truth is not how you described it here:

>I am asking about the second Noble truth. I am asking concretely, how one reduces/eliminates thirst in the context of meditation...

>It's as if I asked about how exactly to do step 4 of a recipe, to mix flour and butter together, and you responded with, follow the recipe. I'm asking specifically about one of the steps in the recipe.

  1. One does not reduce or eliminate desire in the context of meditation
  2. The Four Noble Truths are not like a recipe or step by step instructions
  3. The Second Noble Truth only says that suffering is caused by desire. It does not describe or imply any action.

    But as a response you say:

    >That's because I was describing the third noble truth not the second. And the previous quote is in agreement with this quote from the Pali cannon. "Thirst" here is equivalent to craving.

    >>I know you've seen people here say that if you eliminate all desire you can end suffering, and maybe you've seen a website or even a book that says as much, and if you want to believe that too that's perfectly fine.

    >I am responding to this comment of yours, given that it is not something said only by "people" or found in a "website"/"book", but the pali cannon itself.

    I am not quibbling over how to summarize the Third Noble Truth. You are insisting that you have always been talking about the Third Noble Truth, and you have not. You also seem to be saying that your point is that The Third Noble Truth implies or describes some action, which it does not.

    So I reply:

    >The third noble truth says only that there can be an end to suffering.

    >You need to look at the discussion and really think about what you've said. I think you're confused. I know you are.

    Suggesting some of my suspicions and encouraging you to review the discussion which I've detailed above.

    And now this last reply from you:

    >The point in my response was that I interpreted you to say that elimination of craving was not part of the path to reduce suffering, when it clearly is, as is evident if you read any introductory text on Buddhism, and I provided a quote from the Pali cannon to illustrate this.

    >But now it seems to have morphed into a quibble over how to summarize the third noble truth.

    >>This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: the complete fading away and cessation of this very thirst its abandoning, relinquishing, releasing, letting go.

    >Sure you can summarize the third noble truth by saying that there is an end to suffering, but it is only gets at half point, as is evident above, that end can occur by removing the cause of suffering, namely thirst: "...the cessation of suffering:[is achieved by]...complete...cessation of...thirst [craving/strong desire]".

    >The noble truths as stated are just short descriptions of a general structure to the diagnosis of the state of things from a Buddhist perspective. The truths are expanded in great detail, in basically every element of Buddhism.

    Do you recall the story of the Buddha before he reached Enlightenment? He had become frustrated in his practice and decided that he would sit beneath a tree and do nothing but meditate until he reached Enlightenment. He was not able to reach Enlightenment in this way and you will not either. This is something I am absolutely sure of. Elimination of desire is part of the path, but it is not the whole or primary focus, and in the context of meditation it's not something to focus on in the way that you mean it. Nor is it suggested in any introductory text of Buddhism. You have misunderstood your reading.

    I am not quibbling over how to summarize the Third Noble Truth. It does not say what you think it says, or mean what you think it means. I am trying to have a discussion and address your questions.

    >Sure you can summarize the third noble truth by saying that there is an end to suffering, but it is only gets at half point, as is evident above, that end can occur by removing the cause of suffering, namely thirst: "...the cessation of suffering:[is achieved by]...complete...cessation of...thirst [craving/strong desire]".

    Bracketing in words you think should be there is not helping you understand. Let me be clear:

    The way to end suffering is by following the Eightfold Path. Meditation is a part of that path and being mindful of desire is a part of that path. Meditation on ending desire will not, in and of itself, bring you to Enlightenment.
u/madhzub · 1 pointr/Buddhism

I think it really depends on what you want to get out of reading it. I think pretty much everything people have suggested could be/is a good choice, but interestingly they are all going to give you a very different impression of Buddhism.

What the Buddha Taught is simple but dry. Imo, doesn't convey much of the "spirit" of buddhism, but it does get the ideas across pretty directly. When I was about 18 I read this... it was pretty confusing at the time, being one of the first things I read on the subject.

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind is a classic and also written in short essays, iirc. However that's from (obviously) a Zen perspective. It's going to have some pretty different things to say about Buddhism than Walpola's book. Also, Zen can be rather enigmatic. So don't expect any kind of direct explanation if you go that route.

Awakening the Buddha Within might be a pretty good choice. Das is good for a mainstream audience. He's light and fun to read, but also gives a lot of good information on the subject.

Siddhartha is probably the suggestion I like the most. It's literature, but also pretty short, and quite interesting. I think it probably is going to give you the best idea of what Buddhism is "about."

I would also throw out there a personal favorite, [The World is Made of Stories by David Loy] ( This book makes for some very light reading and it's fun, but also very profound, imo. It's totally anecdotal, in that the whole thing is a collection of unrelated quotes strung together to convey a concept. However, don't expect any real talk about Buddhism. It really is just quotes.

Another thing that I think is worth mentioning, and might be a good choice, depending on your mentality is [Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor] ( This book probably isn't for most people. For one thing its very polemic! And I don't necessarily agree with his ideas about the "historical Buddha" (a pretty lame concept in general, if you ask me) but reading this would definitely give you a good idea of how the western mind deals with some of the less appealing aspects of eastern thought. I think it can also show you what is at the core of Buddhism, what makes it worth translating into another culture.

Anyway, hope that helps!

u/yhung · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Yup - arhat is just a term for someone who's attained the state of nirvana. With Theravada, practitioners believe that attaining nirvana / reaching arhathood is a more realistic path to start off with; the path to Buddhahood is extremely difficult, and it's okay to want to attain a state of personal bliss and stay in that for a very long time, before eventually progressing further along the spiritual path towards Buddhahood.

Mahayana practitioners also realize that it's an extremely difficult path, but the end result (Buddhahood) allows someone to accomplish so much in order to help all sentient beings that it's perhaps a little selfish to want to spend so much time in a blissful yet incomplete state (arhathood), when there's an option to skip that phase and progress along the path of bodhisattvas, which involves greater sacrifices but ultimately reduces the time necessary to reach Buddhahood (an even more blissful state than Arhathood, the state of ultimate bliss according to Buddhism) by a significant amount (many, many eons). Bodhisattvas are characterized by their devotion to the practice of bodhicitta - the desire to attain Buddhahood as quickly as possible in order to maximize their ability to help end the suffering & root causes of suffering for all sentient beings (the Wikipedia page on "sentient beings" is a good place to start, if you're unsure of what sentient beings means, in the context of Buddhism). Sentient beings are typically classified into 6 realms of existence in the Buddhist worldview: Gods, Asuras (demi-gods, with less enjoyment and more anger + jealousy), Humans, Animals, Ghosts, and Hell beings, and until we reach the state of Arhat or a certain level of Bodhisattva (it's complicated - the scriptures classify these levels in many different ways, the most complicated method lists 52 different levels of Bodhisattvas), all sentient beings are stuck in this cycle of infinite rebirth (reincarnation) into these 6 realms, depending on one's personal karma.

By the way, I responded to the question "selfish vs unselfish" Buddhism below, you might be interested in looking at that.

Personally, I base my practices on Mahayana (and the Vajrayana subsect of Mahayana) scriptures and texts. This is because most of the teachers I find myself admiring and feeling a strong connection to are Mahayana & Vajrayana lineage masters. While the Mahayana path is more difficult than Theravada one (this is acknowledged by many historical scholars & practitioners of both traditions), the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions also provide many more effective methods of practice that allows one to progress along the spiritual path much more quickly than Theravada techniques. Most of my current teachers belong all four major sects of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, but I've also spent over a year (on and off) living in a Chinese Mahayana monastery in Taiwan, as a volunteer.

Last of all, regarding your question here:

> And is it possible to be still ordodox and live middle way? I am not telling that i am Zealous i am just more like agnostic but well, but when is hard or thinking about life i found that i ask myself am i wrong?

I'd like to quote the Dalai Lama's perspective on this, since he's a widely respected figure amongst the Christian community as well (he's actually been invited by a couple of Christian communities in the past to share his perspectives on the Bible, believe it or not). Basically, his view is that no matter what religious tradition one chooses to follow, the most important thing is to keep a spirit of inquiry and skepticism as opposed to blind faith, because ultimately blind faith can be pretty dangerous on the path in search of truth, whereas healthy skepticism & inquiry allows for a more natural / gradual realization of knowledge & truth. If you've been raised / grew up as an Orthodox Christian, the Dalai Lama suggests keeping that as your main spiritual belief system unless you reach a compelling point where there's no reason for you to feel like you want to continue with that tradition; but of course, you're always welcome to use Buddhist concepts / teachings (e.g. meditation, visualizations, etc) to supplement your practice of Christianity, as long as they don't interfere with the core concepts of your current belief. If you're interested in reading more about using Buddhist techniques to complement Christian practice, I recommend the following book by Thich Naht Hanh, a Vietnamese Mahayana monk of the Zen tradition who's also highly respected amongst Christians (I had a high school Christian teacher who started doing some mindfulness meditation after reading some of Thich Naht Hanh's books):

u/BBBalls · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I had kind of a hard time thinking about a response I felt good about. Below are resources roughly sequenced as "stages". All the resources are within or related to the Theravada tradition. I tried to keep everything free. When a preferred resource is not free, I include a free alternative. Buddhism is very much a practice, so when instructions are given put them into practice the best you can. There is also a need to understand why you are practicing, so there is a need to understand Buddhist theory. Some of these resources might not be seem immediately applicable to you, which is fine, just think of it as being similar to reviewing a map before going on the hike. This small collection of selected resources may seem overwhelming, but learning the dhamma is a long process, so there is no hurry to read or listen to everything. It is like walking through mist, you don't necessarily notice getting wet. I just want to reiterate that practicing is very important. Buddhism is about doing, and to lesser degree about acquiring book knowledge. One caution, I put several different meditation styles below; go a head and experiment with them, but figure out which one fits you best and stick with it for a while. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer skillfully. Remember that persistence will bring rewards. Good luck.


"Stage 1"

With Each & Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana [not free] (Free older version)

Noble Strategy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Stage 2"

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi [not free] (A free "clone" can be found at It has all of the introductions Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote, but uses free translations of the suttas)

The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations translated by Gil Fronsdal [not free] (A free and reliable translation of the Dhammapada by Anandajoti Bhikkhu)

"Stage 3"

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli & Bhikkhu Bodhi [not free] (Free translations of all of the Majjhima Nikaya suttas can be found at Thanissaro Bhikkhu has translated a free anthology of the Majjhima Nikaya called Handful of Leaves, Volume II: an Anthology from the Majjhima Nikaya)

The Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


"Stage 1"

Introduction to Meditation is an audio course by Gil Fronsdal.

Basics is collection of talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

The Buddha's Teaching As It Is: An Introductory Course is a series of talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Eightfold Path Program is a series of talks by Gil Fronsdal.

Four Noble Truths is a series by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella.

"Stage 2"

Don't eat your fingers. Seriously though, just listen to talks and get a better feel for the dharma.

"Stage 3"

Seven Factors of Awakening is a series of talks by Gil Fronsdal.

A Systematic Study of the Majjhima Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Resources:(There are a huge number of great resource. Below are the ones I frequent or have frequented)


Talks: (huge variety of teachers have talks here), (Thanissaro Bhikkhu has a huge catalog of talks. He has a straight forward style.), (Gil Fronsdal has very accessible teaching style. He presents the dharma in an almost secular way, but doesn't doesn't diminish it in the process.)

Video: Buddhist Society of Western Australia (Ajahn Brahm is a much loved and accessible teacher), Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu (Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu has a very calm demeanor, and does live Q&A regularly, StudentofthePath (Bhikkhu Jayasara is a recently ordained monk and is an active redditor, u/Bhikkhu_Jayasara), Dhammanet (Bhikkhu Sujato has "loose" and friendly teaching style, but is a serious scholar.)

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

As a Zen roshi said in a teisho to his students recently, "Nobody here cares if you believe in anything!" That's not making light of the teachings of Buddhism, it just means that you're absolutely free to practice Zen no matter what you believe, what you think, what you think you believe, what you want to believe or disbelief. We have conversations about whether the hungry ghosts prefer we offer them bread or sunflower seeds, but we throw all the offerings to the birds, and they don't seem too picky. Take all the wisdom of Zen and use it to wipe your ass! ;) But yeah, zazen (sitting meditation) is the foundation. A famous verse says "upholding the precepts, showing remorse, giving gifts, countless good deeds, and right living -- it all has its source in zazen."

I practice Zen with a sangha. In my daily life, Zen mostly means that I do daily zazen, try to live harmoniously and wisely (don't ask), and try to be one with whatever I'm doing, not getting tangled up in unnecessary thoughts. Zazen is the basic ingredient, it's like tasting zazen makes it possible to see what else needs to be done.

Edit: Two books I think are really good: You Have to Say Something by Dainin Katagiri roshi, and The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau roshi. The former is by a Soto teacher, very warm and beautiful, and full of good stuff. The latter is from a tradition that's influenced by both Soto and Rinzai, and is a bit more rough and practical, and has some really inspiring first-hand accounts of initial awakening by modern lay Westerners.

And another little practice that works anywhere is to watch your mind state and care for it. Try to bring a kind of gentleness, clarity, and purposefulness to your actions, speech, and even your thoughts. This means literally everything you do is a profound Zen practice. Ritually I think bowing is a good example: externally it looks like a tiny little gesture of respect, but internally, it's a focused and intense practice. Try bowing to something you appreciate, like a cup of coffee, and see what happens in your mind. Can you find some concentration, love, silence, or gracefulness? That's Zen practice!

u/Bakmoon123 · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Here's my standard set of recommendations for Theravada Buddhism. If you are interested in other traditions, then other people will recommend more suitable books.

I think the classic book What the Buddha Taught is one of the best starting points there is. It's a rather basic text, but at the same time it covers a lot of ground. Definately a must read. There are other more comprehensive introductory books, but they are a bit more technical.

Another amazing book is the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi's book In the Buddha's Words which is an anthology of just a few of the Suttas along with some excellent introductory essays. This book is probably the best introduction to Buddhist scripture out there. This book is the only one on this list that isn't available for free on the internet, but for a little over ten dollars, I'd say it is definitely worth it.

The Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi also gave an introductory summary of Buddhism in the early 80's called The Buddha's Teaching As It Is which is quite good.

His Systematic Study of the Majjhima Nikaya is one of the best lecture series there is in my opinion.

You can find some articles he wrote here. I especially recommend the article "The Buddha and his Dhamma" and "The Noble Eightfold Path".

Sutta Central is probably the go to place for translations from the Pali Canon.

Here's a pdf of Mindfulness of Plain English, a very popular and general text on meditation.

Also one of the best books on meditation (although it is a bit more technical) is the book Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization

If you want to practice meditation according to the Mahasi Sawadaw tradition, then read this pdf of Practical Vipassana Exercises is a very good book. Also, if you are interested in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition I highly recommend the youtube videos of the Ven. Yuttadhammo

Here's a good meditation manual from Ajahn Thanissaro about Mindfulness of Breathing.

If after you go through some of these texts and decide that you want to become Buddhist, it's very easy to do on your own. You just recite the formula for going for refuge and take on the five precepts. Here is a video that shows this, and if you click the closed captioning button, it gives you subtitles.

u/DukkhaTales · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Hmm, good question. I can't claim to have read a lot of Thay's work (because as you said, there's quite a bit), but my hunch based on what I have read is that where you should start depends on your current knowledge of Buddhism.

Thay seems to write two types of books: a "general audience" type book that draws on Buddhism, but only to the extent that the teachings can be practiced by anyone regardless of their background. The Miracle of Mindfulness might be an example of this, or his "one-word-title books" as I call them: Power, Savor, Fear, etc.

The other type of book he writes seems to be intended for readers who either are already Buddhist or interested in going more deeply into Buddhist teachings. To know where to start with these works, a lot depends on how familiar you already are with the Buddha's teachings. I can tell you the order I read them, which seemed to work quite well:

Started with: The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: This is Thay's overview of the core teachings of Buddhism. I see this book like this: if Buddhism was a country, this would be a map of it. It shows you all the major points of interest, and the roads connecting all of them together. After reading this, you'll have a good grasp of what the different pieces of Buddhism are and how they work together to help you toward awakening/enlightenment.

But if you've never read anything about Buddhism at all before, I'm personally not sure if this is a good first book as it's not exactly a light read. Don't get me wrong: it's written with Thay's usual elegance and clarity, but it's packed with a lot of stuff (in the best sense). I was already somewhat familiar with the basics of Buddhism, so for me it was easy to build on that; but for someone brand new, I think the "general audience" books would still be a better start.

After that first book: In the first book itself, Thay recommends three sutras every serious practitioner should study regularly: the Bhaddekaratta Sutra, the Anapatasati Sutra, and the Satipatthana Sutra. Thankfully, Thay has translated and written commentaries on all three sutras and my links go to his books on these sutras.

Not much more I can share given that I'm about halfway through Thay's book on the Anapanasati Sutra. What I can say is that I can see why he says these are sutras to be studied throughout your life. They have some really powerful teachings that I have no doubt will take me years to grasp and practice properly.

Hope that helps. I'm sure others have read far more of Thay's work than I have, and can either correct my attempt here or give better recommendations.

u/Beefenstein · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

In terms of 'conversion':

  • Attempt to understand the four noble truths

  • Meditate or, if unsure as you do not want to attempt without a teacher, breathe and be mindful. Consider the truth of the arising and ceasing of phenomena. At this point you may or may not want to extend this to your own physical and mental processes: it is not easy for all people to consider their own physical death and certainly not to consider the unreliability of their own ego (I am a Psychologist and we actually discussed the lack of evidence of a consistent self on my degree course -- this has helped me not worry too much about the fact I have no stable, permanent mental self)

  • Perhaps read some suttas. I like the Theravada and Thai Forest traditions so I'm reading and but others have different viewpoints which I am confident are equally wonderful

  • When you are ready to accept that these noble truths are valuable and likely to be true and feel that you can commit to the noble eightfold path state plainly that you take refuge in the three jewels

    This is not a conversion, but it is a commitment to studying Buddhism -- which is a religious system of education (towards the very eventual outcome of enlightenment) more than it is a "I go to church now" religion. Although in traditional settings there are temples, monasteries, almsgiving, ceremonies etc!

    With great love and respect.
u/velocity_of_time · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

OK - just threw that in there due to your comment about talking to girls and negative thoughts.

You should certainly consider meditation, and give it an honest shot. Even when divorced from the religious teaching of the Buddha, many forms of meditation have proven stress-relieving effects, and (anecdotally) can help with cognition, patience, and compassion. For a primer I recommend Mindfulness in Plain English, a wonderful book that is available for free here. I think you'll find the first chapter very helpful in answering your question "why meditate?" As for how long, I fully intend to meditate daily for the rest of my life. Once you really get going and start to see the benefits, I can't imagine you'd one day say "alright, my work here is done."

Bhante Gunaratana also has a very helpful, detailed book about applying the Noble Eightfold Path to daily life: Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness. Here's an article about it by the Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, but I'm not sure how accessible it will be to a beginner.

OK, I see. So the point of your practice will be to help others as much as yourself? Look into metta (loving kindness) meditation; it can help you with your ability to forgive and also make compassionate thought and action more "automatic." Keep in mind from the beginning, though, that nothing you do will "improve others." You can only change your attitude to other people. Of course, if you're more compassionate, positive, and forgiving, it may very well rub off on them. And even if it doesn't, you'll be happy. It's a no-lose scenario.

I hope this has helped.

u/jespada1 · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I've been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Peaceful Action, Open Heart, which is wonderful, concurrently with A Guide to the Threefold Lotus Sutra, by Nikkyo Niwano, that gives a concise overview of each chapter. It also helps to have an introduction, in the form of a talk or short articles. There's a short chapter in Cultivating the Mind of Love on this Sutra.

I was at a retreat with TNH in the 1990's where he spoke about the Avatamsaka and Lotus Sutras, that's since been issued by Sounds True as The Ultimate Dimension.

Most of the talks were on the foundational practices for entering into the kinds of experiences described in these Sutras, and I found that his framing them in this way actually made them accessible. Remarkable!

These are good places to start.

As Thay said in his commentary, these are not so much works to be studied with the rational part of ourselves as they are to be received as inspired poetry, lived with and enjoyed. Then meaning of these sutras and the truth they speak of can reveal themselves to us gradually.

He says, in the beginning of The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching:

“When we hear a Dharma talk or study a sutra, our only job is to remain open. Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing. If we read or listen with an open mind and an open heart, the rain of the Dharma will penetrate the soil of our consciousness.

“The gentle spring rain permeates the soil of my soul.
A seed has lain deeply in the earth for many years just smiles.

“When reading or listening, don’t work too hard. Be like the earth. When the rain comes, the earth only has to open herself up to the rain. Allow the rain of the Dharma to come in and penetrate the seeds that are buried deep in your consciousness.

“A teacher cannot give you the truth. The truth is already in you. You only need to open yourself - body, mind, and heart - so that his or her teachings will penetrate your own seeds of understanding and enlightenment. If you let the words enter you, the soil and the seeds will do the rest of the work.”

Best wishes to you in your practice.

u/TamSanh · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

This book, The Mind Illuminated, is one of the best introductions to Buddhist meditation I've read, written in easy-to-understand, contemporary English, it is useful for both the beginner and intermediate practitioner alike. Comes in both Kindle and Paperback.

There are many other books, of course, that talk more on doctrine. I recommend starting with Ajahn Chah. Thich Nhat Hanh is also a huge favorite, as his writing is very kind and compassionate. I do not have any writings I can recommend, but he is more modern and more accessible.

The beauty about Buddhism is that it is all testable. Test everything you read, to the best of your ability. This is the only way one can truly learn. Go to temple and see how you like it. If it is the right fit, it will be good; if it is not the right fit, there will always be another chance, or try again another time.

There are also a lot of Apps that help support meditation, though I'm not too much of a fan of them. There was a recent post where many people offered their own recommendations:

Feel free to ignore my comment, in that thread; it is not meant for you.

u/not_yet_named · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Describe the Four Noble Truths? I sometimes like looking at Wikipedia's simple english version of pages to get good, short overviews of things. I don't think that description of the first step of the Eightfold Path is very good though. The normal english article is better for that one, but other than that it's a good summery.

Many Zen teachers express things differently. They might not go into a lot of detail or focus on lists and texts as much. There are also some differences. For example under Right Action, some Japanese Zen lineages allow monks to marry and have families. In general though all that page will still apply to Zen.

Zen is pretty hard to learn on your own. Koans, which are things you might call spiritual questions, make up a lot of the practice in a lot of Zen, and to practice them you pretty much need to be working with a teacher. I don't know of any good resources that I'd recommend for learning to practice Zen on your own.

If you'd like a good book to learn about Zen from an scholarly point of view this is a good one. It's only going to teach you about Zen, like things you'd learn about the subject if you took a college class. It won't teach you how to practice Zen. If you'd like a book that isn't from an academic point of view this is a nice one, but still, it's not really going to teach you how to practice Zen.

u/heptameron · 8 pointsr/Buddhism

Rupert Gethin's Foundations of Buddhism is a thorough introduction to Buddhism. For starting reading the Pāli discourses, there's Bhikkhu Bodhi's In the Buddha's Words - this is a selection of discourses serving as an entry point.

Then you can start with the discourses directly: start with the Majjima Nikāya and then you can also go through The Dīgha Nikāya and the Samyutta Nikāya. And then the last but not least: Aṇguttara Nikāya and the Khuddhaka Nikāya (search on Amazon). These texts would be important references for the rest of your life if you seriously pursue Buddhism.

Regarding insight meditation, Bhikkhu Anālayo's Satipaṭṭāna book is the best modern day commentary available. Highly recommend it. His "Excursions into the Pāli Discourses" Part 1 and Part 2 are also very useful since they summarize many of the topics discusses in the discourses.

Books by Shaila Catherine or Ajāhn Brahmavaṃso would be good texts regarding samatha meditation.

There are the various texts written by the Ledi Sayādaw and Mahāsi Sayadaw - two Burmese scholar-practitioners who popularized insight meditation in the last century. You can go through Ven. Ledi Sayādaw's Vipassanā Dīpani (Manual of Insight) and you can find Ven. Mahāsi Sayadaw's books here.

Bhikkhu K. Ñānānanda has many books discussing deep questions about dependent arising, the nature of nirvāna, and so forth. You can find them here.

I'll let others recommend Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna and Zen material. In general, Reginald Rays books on Tibetan Buddhism are great entry points to Tibetan Buddhism, and then there's Gampopa's Jewel Ornament Of Liberation. There's also Shantidēva's Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, useful for any Mahāyāna practitioner. With Zen there's always Dōgen Zenji's Shōbōgenzō.

You should be able to find all of the above by googling if it's available for free or on Amazon (or a University library) otherwise.

u/window_latch · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

> One of the key differences that I mentioned earlier, between Buddhism and Science, is that a scientist's "no mind" isn't actually no mind; it's the distinction between relative and absolute truths

It's kind of interesting, but another saying in Madhyamaka thought is that the only absolute truth is that the only truths are relative truths. Or that the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths. Gulp down the emetic. :) You might enjoy investigating that school. My impression is that you're pretty bright, and it's all about transformation that starts by turning the thinking mind against itself, in a way. This book is a good introduction, with commentary in the second half that's much easier to parse than the original text.

u/ZFree2013 · 8 pointsr/Buddhism

Depends on what I want, study or practice. But my most recent have been...

Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise

For daily living the books by Thich Nhat Hanh are fantastic, especially the power of silence. The book is aimed at all audiences but really goes in to depth showcasing how life in the west especially has become out of control, we are constantly imbued with noise, constantly thinking and never truly coming home to ourselves, so our suffering is always 'ours' carried by us everywhere until it begins to spill out in our actions and thoughts.

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha)

I really like both this book and the middle length discourses for when I desire to feel 'closer' to the teachings. This book in particular takes teachings from the the pali canon and presents those which bear the most relevance to life today. The teachings are very profound and each suttra is very powerful. Many of the questions here could be easily answered by reading these translations of the discourses by Bikkhu Bodhi.

Although I do feel these are books for the book shelf as the suttras are kept purposely intact but it means there is a lot of cumbersome repetition and one or two suttras a session are best I find.

Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: Majjhima-Nikaya: New Translation (Teachings of the Buddha)

This book focuses more on the Buddha's time at jetta grove and a lot of the pages describe his dealings with the monastics, but also detail his meetings with all walks of life from princes to simple villagers. There is the classic hell suttra too, which is gruesome and had me in contemplation for a while! The teachings are profound though and any discerning Buddhist would benefit from reading the texts.

'The translated teachings of Miao Yun'

This is not so much a book as a collection of teachings which have been translated for a western audience. The words however contain a lot of wisdom and really detail the framework of a path from human to buddha-hood and the importance of cultivating core values such as wisdom and compassion.

u/BearJew13 · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but if you are looking for a good "intro to Buddhism" book that puts great emphasis on cultivating bodhichitta (the aspiration to attain enlightenment/buddhahood in order to best help infinitely many beings), then I can recommend 3 of my favorite books by the Dalai Lama, and one book by the famous 8th century Bodhisattva Shantideva:

u/LarryBills · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Sorry you are having a hard time. Maybe you can start small. It's very common for people to give themselves a dream or goal that's so big, they feel that even if the fall a bit short they would still be amazingly successful. However, as you are seeing here, this is unskillful and most often leads to a cycle of disappointment, self-doubt and recrimination.

Quite often, some big dreams are achievable but it takes time to really understand what goes in to making it real. So you might want to adopt a pragmatic approach here and say, "Ok, my previous approach didn't work. That's no problem. We all come up short sometimes." But it's important to not to repeat mistakes that you know don't work and wallow. Do something different and do it now.

So start small. What do you think you could want in a year or two's time? For example: do you want to be enrolled in a degree program for Therapy? That seems doable. Not easy, but doable. You'll need to start researching programs and determine what prerequisites and requirements are needed. Then see where you might be short and reach out to a few programs to speak to their admissions or advising departments. They will be happy to help as they have enrollment considerations top of mind. Then you put together a schedule for your application, get your transcripts in order or finish whatever prereq's you need. Especially in CA, there are a TON of places other than Berkeley to apply. How about the College of the Pacific? Davis? Does Chapman have a program? You can check out the programs here on MFT California.

On that note, are you aware that many/most folks working as Therapists don't have PHDs for instance? Be clear with the requirements for the role. Here's what I found with a little Googling

This avenue seems most critical right now. You need to get out of your head and out of the self-recrimination game. Grandiose plans and self-hatred are together in an unhelpful cycle here so drop all of it.

On the Buddhism side, forget all that you thought you knew. Start a daily meditation habit. 10 minutes a day and build up from there. Do it every day without fail. Read What the Buddha Taught. Buy the book. It's better than reading online.

Finally, you didn't state it in your note but if you'll allow some advice from someone who used to be young: if the following are in your life, drop them while you get things on track (and hopefully beyond):

Weed, booze, video games, porn and other wastes of your time that dissipate your energy and erode your mind. You'll save a lot of time if you nip this garbage in the proverbial bud.

The good news is you can forgive yourself. None of us are perfect and you have plenty of time to get on track. Now get to it!

u/citiesoftheplain75 · 8 pointsr/Buddhism

I know of people for whom the Mahasi approach has worked well and whose insights achieved through that system have held up over time. I know others who kept practicing Mahasi noting for years without progress, growing increasingly frustrated until they gave up on meditation.

People who can reach stream-entry via Mahasi noting, without any formal concentration practice, probably have naturally concentrated or powerful minds. This is great for them, like winning the lottery, but it isn’t the case for everyone. If your mind is not concentrated enough to reach awakening without formal samatha practice (or your behavior doesn’t meet the ethical standard for developing concentration), no amount of noting will get you to stream-entry.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have those who claim that it’s absolutely necessary to reach a depth of concentration in which the five senses are absent in order to reach stream-entry. This is not borne out by reality. Probably most people who attain stream-entry in this world don’t possess that depth of concentration. See Thanissaro’s essay Silence Isn’t Mandatory for more information on this topic.

On both sides of the underlying issues--whether jhana is necessary before insight practice, and the question of what constitutes jhana--I have seen inappropriate universalization of personal meditation experiences. If a certain individual was able to reach stream-entry without formal concentration practice, they may believe this is true for everyone. If someone couldn’t reach stream-entry without attaining a state of concentration in which the five senses are absent, they may become convinced that this is the minimum standard for all people.

Without recourse to supernormal abilities, to discover what meditation experiences are possible under particular conditions would require the dispassionate study of many people’s accounts. Trying to reverse-engineer reality from texts doesn’t always work, because the investigators--including academic experts--can read their biases into the texts.

I feel that the level of concentration described in The Mind Illuminated is sufficient for stream-entry and very much desirable for improving the quality of one’s life and capacity to serve others. In the suttas, the Buddha recommends the development and mastery of at least the first jhana before attempting stream-entry.

If you're looking for balanced approaches to awakening, Dharma Ocean has great teachings and retreat programs. I also see people having success with Open Heart. These are both tantric Vajrayana systems.

u/lgstarn · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Shingon and Zen are both practices that, in my opinion, benefit greatly from some preliminary understanding of Buddhism. There is a lot of info out there and you already have a great start with Suzuki. In my opinion, you'll want to get a feel for the Buddhist approach to inquiry, teaching, and the importance of spiritual friends. has some fantastic material from the Theravada tradition, which (again in my opinion) serves as an excellent foundation for the Mahayana tradition if you so choose. I personally am Mahayana but learn so, so much from Theravada.

Inquiry: The Kalama Sutta

How to recognize the Dharma

The importance of spiritual friends

Access To Insight Study guides

If you feel you have a good handle on the basic concepts like the Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Noble Path, Stream Entrancy, etc., then Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva is a sublime text no matter what tradition you end up calling home. Good luck!

u/ThatBernie · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

Fronsdal's translation of the Dhammapada is good. It certainly looks nice, and the translation is elegant yet accurate. I also recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation, which you can get for free online, or you can download the book in PDF format.

I would recommend reading Bhikkhu Bodhi's In the Buddha's Words before digging more deeply into the full Nikayas. This book wonderfully selects passages from the Pali Canon and organizes them in a logical fashion, with clear commentaries.

I also recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu's many e-books which you can download for free online. For beginners I highly recommend Refuge and The Wings to Awakening (found at the bottom of the linked page).

Hope this helps!

u/Vystril · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

My post in the book recommendations to the right:

>For all Buddhists:

> The Majjhima Nikaya: The Middle Length Discources of the Buddha
The Digha Nikaya: The Long Length Discourses of the Buddha

>For Mahayana Buddhists:

> The Nectar of Manjushri's Speech: A Detailed Commentary on Shantideva's Way of the Bodhisattva

>For Vajrayana Buddhists:

Words of my Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche

>Nothing in particular after that.

>There are a TON of misconceptions out there about what the Buddha taught and the presentation of the basic Buddhist path. Not reading the Digha/Majjhima Nikaya and calling yourself a Buddhist is the same as calling yourself a Christian without ever reading the Bible.

>Similarly, not having read the Bodhicharyavatara (a commentary really helps on this one, which is why I linked the best one) and calling yourself a Mahayana Buddhist is the same.

>Words of my Perfect teacher is simply an excellent introduction to the Vajrayana path, so I think it should be on there as well. Maybe not as necessary as the previous 3 (because in Vajrayana it's most important to learn from a qualified guru), it's still an excellent book. And if you haven't found a teacher yet, it would certainly help in finding a good one.

u/CivilBrocedure · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

A great primer for the core tenets and historical context is "What The Buddha Taught" by Walpola Pahula. It provides a wonderful explanation of the thought process and is very clearly written; a lot of colleges use it in their comparative religion courses.

I also think that reading the "Dhammapada" is particularly vital. I prefer the Eknath Easwaran translation; I feel like he did an excellent job translating it into modern laguage while retaining the meaning of the text and providing excellent discussions of each sutra without being to neurotically overbearing, like so many religious commentaries can be. He also did excellent versions of the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads if you are interested in broader Indian spirituality.

u/djdementia · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Yes I was raised Roman Catholic. My Mother is still practicing but very open and understanding. She sees that incorporating some Buddhist Philosophy in my life has brought peace and happiness to me and that's what's most important to her - not how I found that peace and happiness.

This book, Living Buddha, Living Christ may be helpful to you. It is about the many similarities between Christianity and Buddhism.

I don't really consider myself Buddhist either. I kind of ebb and flow between Atheist, Agnostic, and a Pantheist but Buddhist Philosophy really helps me in my daily life.

u/Little_Morry · 1 pointr/Buddhism

>1.Different schools of Buddhism? I understand that their are different ones, are there a lot of differences? For example, Zen, Tibetan, etc.

Lots of differences. But, that's not so important right now. Just look at everything. Finding the right style of practice, and more importantly, the right teacher, is like falling in love. You can't plan it, you can't prepare for it, but if you're open to it, it will happen. For now, commit to nothing but honesty and curiosity and look at everything you can find.

>2.Best beginner book for Buddhism? Something that can teach me a lot about Buddhism, and books to explore different sects.

I'd advise anyone to read Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's "What Makes You Not A Buddhist". Very good introduction, from a Tibetan background. As with everything in the Dharma, the purpose is more to learn about you than about Buddhism, though ;)

>3.What are you. supposed to do when you mediate? Some compare it to lucid dreaming, the ability to do whatever, but what exactly are you supposed to do? Aren't you supposed to focus on being awakened, if so, how?

Best (only) way is to learn face-to-face. And there are many many techniques, which may or may not work for you. For now, sit up straight, but relaxed. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. If you get distracted, no problem, just breathe in again. You're not "supposed to" feel this way or that way. Just breathe, be present and come what may. Start with 5 minutes a day, every day.

>4.How would you know if you were "Awakened"?

Dunno, I'm not. Not worrying seems to be a factor.

>5.What school of Buddhism do you prefer and why?

Karma Kagyu, one of the Tibetan "schools", because that's what my teachers teach me. And my teachers are my teachers because when I think of them I can't think of being anything but their student.

>6.How do I become a Buddhist?

By sending me $ 3.50! ;) No, if you feel Lord Buddha is your guide, his teaching (the Dharma) is your path, and his students (the Sangha) are your homeboys, you're a Buddhist. Different schools may have different rituals to confirm this, which is fine but unimportant.

Keep your doubt! It's useful. Keep your faith too, for the same reason. Feeling strongly about something does not make you right, and being right does not make you kind, which is arguably the best thing to be. Investigate everything (with the exception of non-prescription opiates and asshattery) and enjoy yourself! Good luck!

u/Bodhisattva_OAQS · 1 pointr/Buddhism

> just read the wiki on the "Mūlamadhyamakakārikā", which seems pretty enlightening; though am a hardcore philosophical-theorist

I just looked over the wiki page and it seems pretty esoteric. The MMK is pretty hard-nosed philosophy when you get down to it. If that approach interests you, you might like Buddhism as Philosophy as a short, more down-to-earth overview of this, along with a bunch more topics from the tradition. The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way seems to be recommended a lot around here if you're at all interested in diving into a translation/commentary.

> Thank you for your thoughtful replies.

Sure thing.

u/darthrevan · 1 pointr/Buddhism

>what does the Buddha mean when he references his teachings simply as a raft meant to cross a river in Chapter 6[1] ?

This is actually a very deep simile, rich with many layers of meaning. I've sat here for a while and typed out several explanations, then deleted them realizing none of them captures all the levels of what the Buddha was saying here. That would be an entire essay, really.

The essence of it is that the Buddha did not want people to get caught up in his words, thinking that by analyzing his words they would attain enlightenment. He had to use words because that was the primary way he could communicate the Dhamma, but what he was teaching is beyond words.

This connects to your second question, because later in the Diamond Sutra the Buddha said:

>Subhuti, as to speaking truth, no truth can be spoken.

A clue to understanding this is given by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh when he wrote in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching (emphasis mine): "Right View is the absence of all views."

So when you ask, "Here is my view now, is it valid?" The answer is most likely "No."

The Buddha taught purely out of compassion. He didn't teach because we lacked something, or he needed to "save" us, or any of that. He sat for days after his enlightenment deciding what to do, because he realized that there was nothing to do. And that is why he says there is no teaching, and that to consider the teaching as having an existence is false.

You are therefore right to connect no-self with the non-existence of the teaching as well. The teaching of no-self, anatta, is something also deep and requiring a good teacher to go through with you. I am definitely not a master or teacher of that caliber, so all I can do is recommend this video on non-self that might help you understand it.

u/Thomas_Amundsen_ · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

> Many people are telling me to meditate and figure it out for myself. How can I do this?

Honestly, I would advise against that. I'd recommend learning meditation from a teacher, and I'd also recommend studying some Dharma first before making meditation the main focus of your practice. And before all of that, the most important thing is going to be conduct. The most important aspect of conduct is to not take life, even very tiny insects. If you don't have proper conduct, then nothing else is really going to work. So, I'd recommend that order:

  1. establish stable virtuous conduct
  2. study Dharma
  3. practice

    It won't hurt to start a small meditation practice right now, in fact I would recommend that. But it will be best to spend the most energy on conduct and study at this time.

    > What should I focus on? Karma and dependent origin? Cessation of attachment? Compassion? Which aspect is the most important?

    It's really hard to say. I don't think there's any right answer unless you're working within a specific tradition. My personal recommendation would be to read In the Buddha's Words by Bhikku Bodhi. This will give you a really strong introduction to Theravada teachings. Even though it's Theravada, it is the common foundation of all schools of Buddhism. If you don't understand everything in this book, it will be difficult to understand anything else in Buddhism beyond this.

    Then, if you want to get a little introduction to the Mahayana, I'd suggest reading some translation of Shantideva's Entering the Conduct of a Bodhisattva (maybe translated as The Way of the Bodhisattva). This book is great for both complete beginners and very advanced bodhisattvas. I have read this text several times over the last 10 years and I learn something new every time. The Dalai Lama said:

    > If I have any understanding of compassion and the bodhisattva path, it all comes from studying this text.

    If you find that you are attracted to the Mahayana, then I would suggest that your next quest is to find your teacher. In Theravada, a teacher may not be of the utmost importance. But for Mahayana, a teacher is indispensible. There are enlightened teachers living today, it just takes effort to find one. My sincere advice would be to find an enlightened teacher, and then follow their advice as best as you can.

    Finally, don't turn Dharma into an escape. Dharma is never going to solve your worldly problems. You will still need to learn how to deal with life just like any other adult does in our society. Make sure to spend the proper effort and do well in school :) Dharma doesn't solve worldly problems, but it will lead to peace where no worldly problems bother you at all.
u/mkpeacebkindbgentle · 1 pointr/Buddhism
  1. You can buy this book and just read one little sutta each night before you go to sleep :-)

  2. The dhammapada is poetry, and poetry is meant to inspire. IMO it can be hard to be inspired if you don't know what you're supposed to do.

  3. 5 minutes of metta when you rise, 5 minutes of metta before you go to bet. ~20 minutes sometime during the day.

  4. By keeping yourself immersed in the Dhamma over time. Here is the Buddha explaining it:

    >“I say, bhikkhus, that (1) true knowledge and liberation have a nutriment; they are not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for true knowledge and liberation?

    >...[7 causally linked factors that I've removed for brevity]...

    >It should be said: (9) hearing the good Dhamma. Hearing the good Dhamma, too, I say, has a nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for hearing the good Dhamma? It should be said: (10) associating with good persons. (source)

    In the text above, the Buddha explains how associating with good persons leads to enlightenment. These days we have other ways to hear the good Dhamma too; talks by monks online, books, especially reading the word of the Buddha.

    Obviously the best thing is to hang around a Buddha or other enlightened monks or nuns, but that can be hard to come by :-)

  5. Reading the book i linked to. Deepening that understanding. Basically, keeping the Dhamma in my life. Also, meditating. Especially metta.

    >Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, if someone were to give a gift of one hundred serving dishes [of food] in the morning, one hundred at mid-day, and one hundred in the evening; and another person were to develop a mind of good-will — even for the time it takes to pull on a cow's udder — in the morning, again at mid-day, and again in the evening, this [the second action] would be more fruitful than that [the first]. (source)

    Metta is one of those things that, even if you do it just a little, it does a lot of good.
u/aguavelvet · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Finding the "path" is one of the greatest fortune in life... so it is said. So congratulation.

I would strongly recommend "Three Pillars of Zen" by Roshi Phillip Kapleau.

This book was and is one of the most influential book in my life. What I really liked is that somewhere about the middle, there are accounts of enlightenment experiences of westerners. The sufferings of most of these students were something that I strongly identified with. Just these accounts are fun enough for the price of ownership.

All the best.

u/XWolfHunter · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

I recommend the Middle-Length Discourses, the Majjhima Nikaya. It is a colledtion of suttas, which are discourses, that is part of something called the Pali canon, which is the oldest surviving complete collection of Buddhist writings.

It's a long book, but one of the reasons why I would recommend it is because each of its discourses is not predicated on any other, and they're usueally only a few pages long each, so they're good for intermittent reading. They are also aimed at people of varying levels of understanding, so there will be something (hopefully several somethings) in there that speaks to you, from the start and as your understanding develops.

It's also quite a good way to familiarize yourself with the context of Buddhism and what most likely went on two and a half thousand years ago, as the discourses take place in many locations, from towns, meeting halls, and huts to forests, lake beds, and groves, and involve many people, from monks to contemplatives to "the Niganthans" (Jains) to laypeople and kings.

I hope you consider this, which is one of the books on which modern Theravada Buddhism is based, and if you have questions about the Pali canon in general, I may know the answer or how to find one as I have been reading them/about them for about a year. But know that they're probably a little more difficult to read than most of the suggestions out there, because they are very old and were translated from their original language.

Best of luck in finding a good book for you.

u/athanathios · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Great suggestions and I would comment that Look_within's recommendation is great, I read that and In the Buddha's Words, which is an outstanding anthology of Buddha's teachings organized in a very logical format by one of the top Pali translators and Scholars of our time Bodhi Bikkhu. He also has an amazing site Access to Insight, which in and of itself is an outstanding resource.

Personally if you want to pop off some stuff, I would learn the 4 Noble Truths, the 8 Fold Path, The Life of the Buddha, Dependent origination, The 3 Marks of Existence and the 5 precepts. Also meditation is a big part of the path, so I would start with Mindfulness in Plain English, try to meditate daily starting at 20 minutes a day.

u/monkey_sage · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

My pleasure! I apologize if I came across as rude in my first comment; it's been one of "those" days today. Feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have any other questions or are looking for any kind of resource. If do you end up really wanting a book to read that will help you with this, I'd really recommend The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. It's absolutely beautiful to read, and there are good talks on YouTube which examine this text in-depth. Hope you have a beautiful day! :)

u/MadmanPoet · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Yeah, do some research. We have a pretty solid reading list started over on the right hand side. (It's only two books long, but they are good books.) I don't know your level of knowledge about Buddhist thought and teachings so I would suggest you look up this one or this one.

I am sure there are some less expensive places to find them, is an eBay company and I have found some really great books for like .75, soooo go has a look.

I wouldn't avoid reading Sutras first off. But I wouldn't make that the central part of my study as they are often very difficult to read and can be confusing. I mean, yeah read some Sutras, but read some other material as well.

Also, go to Pretty solid website.

u/wundertunge · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Before starting on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, you might want a survey book of Buddhism. Although not at all complete, I do think the book The Buddha and His Teaching is a great academic survey covering many foundations of Buddhism including the Buddha's story, Karma, the eightfold path, ego, attachment, and meditation. It mainly follows the Tibetan model in organization: Part 1: Hinayana, Part 2: Mahayana, Part 3: Vajrayana, excluding focus on schools like Zen and Theravada. All in all, though, an excellent read.

There are also a number of contemporary readings that will explain Dharma through a modern lens. What Makes You Not a Buddhist? was recommended to me awhile back.

Also, if you'd like to get to the heart of it, start meditating. You only need 10 minutes a day of basic shamatha and vippasana practice to start becoming a student of your own mind.

Good luck

EDIT: it just dawned on me that Shamatha and Vippasana might be foreign terms to you. You can do a google search, or you can PM me and I'd be happy to help

u/SirDucky · 9 pointsr/Buddhism

So many of the suggestions so far seem to be of the Theravada or Mahayana lineages. It's important to understand that buddhist teachings vary depending on the lineage you follow. The lineages generally coexist respectfully, recognizing that "there are many ways up the mountain".

I just wanted throw my hat into the ring and suggest What makes you not a Budhhist by Dzangsar Khyentse. It comes from the Vajrayana lineage of teachings, and I love the author's pithy style. I think it's the best introduction to Buddhist teachings I have read so far, but it should be coupled with something more conceptually comprehensive.

In contrast I found What the Buddha Taught to be informative, but slightly dry. It was well worth the read, but I struggled to translate what I learned there into my daily practice. Just something to be aware of.

By far the best thing I did was to find an authentic teacher and supportive Sangha. Reading and learning is good, but this path requires so much more of you than just knowledge. I think that finding a qualified teacher is one of the most important tasks that a novice has in front of them, because there are a lot of unqualified teachers in the west who will inadvertently lead you astray.

u/The_Dead_See · 1 pointr/Buddhism

In terms of Buddhist texts. The Pali Canon contains the core teachings but all of it was written down many years after the death of Gotama Buddha. Until the time of the councils that codified and committed the teachings to text, it was an oral tradition. There were also notable disagreements between factions of the sangha before and after the teachings were written down. In other words, 'authenticity' is a tricky subject in Buddhism, just as in any other religion.

As a general guide, a good translation of the key points of the Pali Canon such as 'In The Buddha's Words' by Bhikkhu Bodhi is a good start. And if you're interested in Mahayana, then the writings of scholars like Dogen and Nagarjuna are important so look for good translations of those.

As for remaining secular in Buddhism. As a Western practice, that's pretty common, especially since the rise of secular mindfulness schools and such. Technically these practices shouldn't really be labeled Buddhism because the original teachings absolutely contain a strong metaphysics and literal belief in not only rebirth but also in various spiritual realms and such. Don't get hung up on desiring the label of 'Buddhist'. Just follow your path through secular schools and see where it leads you.

u/rrrobottt · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

The most lucid expositions I know of for original buddhism are Walpola Rahula - What the Buddha taught and Paul Williams - Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition.

I read them years ago, but I remember that what I particularly liked about them is that they are pretty clever in clearing common objections that a modern student may have, they don't dumb it down (while still being clear and concise), and they don't avoid the sides of Buddhism that may be scary for people (in other words they won't present Buddhism as a good-vibe, let's just chill out and love everybody style of life, like many books do to cater to wide audiences).

u/mbregg · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

There are some scathing reviews in there. Especially the one where he's talking about levitation.

I have to say that I don't completely disagree with some of the reviewers' complaints. Lama Surya Das is a decent writer in my opinion, and the book is entertaining. But as others have said, it really is more of an autobiography. And while he has led an interesting life, this is not why I originally read the book. He definitely tries to put a "Western spin" on Buddhism, and this is obviously because westerners are his target audience. But what winds up being produced is a new-age self-help kind of book.

If you are interested, my top 4 recommendations for easy to read, entertaining books that cover some different aspects/sects of Buddhism (in order of my personal preference) are as follows:

  1. What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula.

  2. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

  3. The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh.

  4. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

    As I said, those are my personal favorites and will give you a good look at some of the major Buddhist traditions.
u/kukulaj · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

I really like as a good introductory book.

It's great to go to practice with a group, but even better if possible is to go practice with several groups, to get a feel for the variety of the traditions within Buddhism. You can then pick the one that feels best for you. Also, as your practice evolves, maybe you will start to feel a bit stuck somehow, and you will know about other groups that might help you get unstuck. Really Buddhism is like a vast toolbox or medicine chest. Use what helps you. As you evolve, your practice can and should evolve.

u/foreveranewbie · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

First, check out the directories on DharmaNet and BuddhaNet. If you're lucky you'll find someplace close to you. If you're really lucky you'll find a good teacher who you connect with. I think that is important. My practice gained a new depth once I found a teacher.

If you're not so lucky, there are still great resources out there. Both the websites I mentioned above have a lot of good stuff on them. One of my favorites is Buddhism in a Nutshell.

If you're willing to spend the money (or have a good library system) two of my favorite books are Mindfulness in Plain English and What the Buddha Taught. Personally, I recommend buying both of them.

Mindfulness in Plain English is an amazing "how to" guide to get you meditating. In the absence of a teacher this will take you quite a ways. What the Buddha Taught is very much from the Theravada perspective and is a fantastic introduction to the most important concepts. It can be a bit textbookish at time but it well worth the read.

u/growupandleave · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Good question. Another one is: What Makes You Not a Buddhist? Actually, this is the title of a great book for beginners on the path:

> So you think you're a Buddhist? Think again. Tibetan Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, one of the most creative and innovative lamas teaching today, throws down the gauntlet to the Buddhist world, challenging common misconceptions, stereotypes, and fantasies. With wit and irony, Khyentse urges readers to move beyond the superficial trappings of Buddhism—beyond the romance with beads, incense, or exotic robes—straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught.

u/EarwormsRUs · 1 pointr/Buddhism

You have asked here and not on /r/zen, so here's some Tibetan ;-)

The later meditations in Lam Rim include matters such as Exchanging Self with Others, and Giving & Taking
Try to do them all 'in order' if you have the opportunity, and ideally try to find a teacher. Mine took us through beautiful and powerful visualisions - one a week - which I would guess are quite different to Zen-style meditations. Some dharma centres offer courses/retreats where they are all taught/practiced over a long weekend.

And obviously you're an aspiring Bodhisattva (might already be one?), so no harm giving Shantideva some time?
(do Look Inside at the table of contents, and check out the Dalai Lama quote at the top of the front cover).

> they have even furnished a small closed-door room in their chapel with a rug and cushion for me to practice zazen during my breaks!

wowwww :-)

With metta.

u/Jayantha-sotp · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

I agree with friend numserv about the pali cannon. This book by Bhikkhu Bodhi is also great in bringing together important suttas and bhante explaining the teachings:

I would add though that if she is looking for something less cannoical text wise id suggest any of the books from Ajahn Chah.

The books out contain his talks and teachings which are amazing for putting the deep teachings into basic understandable words.

Most of it can be found for free here : or on Amazon in paperback form.

u/mynameis_wat · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

"But the thing is i dont even know what im supposed to do during meditation."

There are a few resources:

Mindfulness in Plain English is a text you can find for free online and gives simple meditation instructions. This is what I started with years ago.

A book like Being Nobody, Going Nowhere (ayya khema) also gives some meditation instruction as well as some philosophy around it.

Many have been finding a book like The Mind Illuminated helpful as it is a robust guide into the different landscapes you can find as you begin the meditative path. This book has been immensely helpful to me in my practice.

I also recommend Pema Chodron. If you are hung up on stress and tension, her books can help give a fresh perspective :)

You seem to mention bliss as an indicator of progress. There are many other things to track and be aware of in your meditation path - I would not recommend getting hung up on this particular one. Be gentle with yourself in regards to results and changes as a result of practice. Bliss will not solve the stress, but practices based in 'letting go' may help.

u/Zen_Coyote · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

I liked What Makes You Not a Buddhist for a bit of a twist on learning some basics.

Despite his critics I’ve always enjoyed Brad Warner’s books. He does a pretty good job of weaving Dogen’s teachings into his own narratives.

The Dhammapada is probably the most widely known of Buddha’s teachings.

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh is also a great book.

u/tortus · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

I just finished reading Buddhism Without Beliefs and overall found it to be great. He really gets into personal struggle, frustration of living, what we all internally feel but rarely (if ever) talk about, and how to find meaning and purpose in our lives, all from a Buddhist perspective and without any mention whatsoever of after life, rebirth, gods or creators. The book hit me pretty hard several times.

Another thing I loved about this book is it's very simple and draws from the teachings of the Buddha himself. It doesn't get involved in any of the later developments that Buddhism evolved into.

Be warned though, the author is a bit in love with his own words and at times the book seems to be a bit hoity toity for the sake of it. Other than that, I loved it.

u/Jhana4 · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

An alternate translation, also from Bhikkhu Bodhi:


"There are, O monks, eight reasons for giving. What eight?

People may give out of affection;

or in an angry mood;

or out of stupidity;

or out of fear;

or with the thought: 'Such gifts have been given before by my
father and grandfather and it was done by them before; hence it would
be unworthy of me to give up this old family tradition';

or with the thought, 'By giving this gift, I shall be reborn in a good destination, in
a heavenly world, after death';

or with the thought, 'When giving this gift, my heart will be glad, and happiness and joy will arise in me';

or one gives because it ennobles and adorns the mind."


AN 8:33; IV 236-3



In The Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Page 169


u/Chizum · 11 pointsr/Buddhism

To be honest, I think you'll find the combination difficult as one promotes individualism and vengeance whereas the other eschews non-self and friendship to all despite the recipients perceived flaws.(Kindness is never wasted on the "undeserving".)

But since you sound interested in learning with little history involved, I recommend you read Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness by Henepola Gunaratana ($4 used on Amazon). It's got a great section on compassion. Do you have the bravery to love your enemy? Can you see that the fetter of greed for sensual desire causes suffering?

u/Johnny_Poppyseed · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

To attain right view is to really understand by experience (wisdom) the teaching of the four noble truths.

Right resolve/intention, would be that the backbone of your practice and desire to learn more about buddhism etc, is to help ease the suffering of all beings (including yourself).

Right action, speech, livelihood are basically that you behave accordingly with right view and intention. Etc etc.

Honestly i dont like the way of separating each into groups like that. All the eightfold path are completely related and dependent on one another. To have one, you need them all.

Here's a book recommendation. Great thich nhat hanh book, that does a phenomenal job explaining the core teachings.

u/jty87 · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Here's a brief series of videos, a few minutes each, of Thich Nhat Hanh discussing the Buddhist concepts of the Buddha, karma, dharma, nirvana, impermanence, eternalism/nihilism, and meditation from his own very naturalistic perspective.

Nhat Hanh has studied Buddhist scriptures extensively, especially the earliest ones thought to have been transmitted with the fewest errors like the Satipatthana and Anapanasati Suttas, and developed his own lineage with an emphasis on openness, non-attachment to views, and freedom of thought. If that sounds like something you may be interested in then be sure to check out, or perhaps his overview of Buddhism recommended in the FAQs, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching

u/sovietcableguy · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

I don't think there's anything wrong with interfaith dialogue, but reddit is probably not the best place for it. This would probably work best as a panel discussion, of which there are numerous examples on youtube.

I'm not familiar with Quaker views, but the Three marks of existence: anicca, dukkha, and anatta would make God, Christ, the soul, and salvation as presented in traditional Christianity rather moot.

What the Buddha Taught is a great book for understanding the Buddhist view. I also like chapter 3 of Meido Moore's book The Rinzai Zen Way, titled "Zen and Abrahamic Faiths" for another take on this topic.

There is indeed debate among Buddhists, but Dependent Origination, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Three Marks are difficult to dispute since the Buddha himself taught them.

How one would reconcile these teachings with traditional Christian views of an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing God and all of the individual souls that must be "saved" is quite a puzzle. Perhaps the Quaker view is different.

u/sooneday · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Also not a teenager. My advice is to seek out a local priest or monk and learn from them. Being part of a group of Buddhists (sangha) is important. You need support from others.

I also recommend you do some self-studying. It's likely your teacher gave you some misinformation either out of ignorance or time constraints. I think "Buddhism for Beginners" is a good coverage of the key points, but there are many other good books. Be careful not to be trapped in pursuing intellectual knowledge of Buddhism. You need some knowledge, but practicing the path is more important.

If you run into Zen I want to caution you that many people know very little about Zen, but think they know a lot. Not many people are going to pretend to be experts in other variants like Pure Land, but quite a few will talk about Zen like they are an expert, but they are actually quite ignorant. This goes back to why I recommend you find a priest. Learn from an expert.

Beyond finding a sangha and following the advice of your teacher, the other important step is to follow the precepts. The Five Precepts were explained to me as the minimum someone needs to do to be able to practice Buddhism. Not as a divine law that you are mandated to follow, but in the sense that not following them makes practicing the path very difficult or impossible.

u/PsychRabbit · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

I'm in a similar situation and after having looked around a bit I've put these two books on my Christmas list. (My family still celebrates the holiday and I look at it more as a time for giving and being with Family.)

u/pibe92 · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Before anything, I would take a look at the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, as they form much of the foundation of Buddhism as a whole.

Next, I found the book Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron to be an excellent high-level introduction to Buddhism. Ven. Chodron is an ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun and has studied under His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

If what you read there further piques your interest, I would suggest's Discovering Buddhism Program. The name is slightly deceiving, this goes far more in depth than just discovering Buddhism at a high level. It is also presented from a largely Tibetan viewpoint.

Also, I would suggest that you try and attend a service at a nearby temple as soon as you can. It should be free to visit and you are welcome to show up for the service and then leave right afterwards if you would prefer. I promise it won't be embarrassing, I did the same thing at a nearby Tibetan temple and had a wonderful first experience.

NOTE - I would suggest that you avoid anything related to New Kadampa Buddhism as you start out. They are a rogue modern offshoot of the Gelug school that has a history of abuse and cult-like behavior, and they do not get along well at all with the rest of the Tibetan schools, which all have a good relationship with each other. Any temple under the umbrella of the Gelug, Nyingma, Kagyu or Sakya schools should be legit, and the presence of photos of His Holiness is usually a good sign (although he is more specific to Gelug).

u/Jrcohan · 1 pointr/Buddhism

-Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright

-Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor

There also are pretty extensive peer reviewed journals and statistics on meditation. Check out Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman.

-Altered Traits by Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman

Hope some of that is of help.

Best of luck!

u/BigFatBadger · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

Don't worry about finding a tradition, usually it finds you...

The first book I ever read on Buddhism was The Buddha's Ancient Path by Piyadassi Thera, which I found in my university library and I think is a very good introduction to Theravada.

Shortly after, I read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. This book, although originally written in English, has proved so popular I've heard it is actually now being translated into Tibetan. In any case it is a good introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, and the Nyingma tradition in particular.

You may want to consider doing some online correspondence course if that appeals to you. Look around for something you like, but I strongly recommend Geshe Tashi Tsering's Foundation of Buddhist Thought, which covers the basics of the four noble truths, the major tenet systems, some pramana and abhidharma, bodhicitta, madhyamaka and tantra. It has teachings from Geshe Tashi, textbooks for each module, a reading list, essay assignments and online discussion groups.

u/qret · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching is a really wonderful primer I discovered recently. My own introduction was the free podcast by Gil Fronsdal. He's a terrific speaker and communicates from an easy Western perspective.

u/cmg_ · 1 pointr/Buddhism

I've been reading [Eight Steps to Happiness: The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness] ( It's quite an amazing book. Also The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, is such a powerful jewel which has really been informative.

u/ElMelonTerrible · 4 pointsr/Buddhism

If paying shipping doesn't bother you, check out used books on Amazon. Lots of people would rather pass a book along to the next reader than throw it away, and some people sell books just for the tiny profit they can make on Amazon's shipping fee, so there are a lot of used books that go for basically free + shipping. Here are some good deals:

u/Skottniss · 1 pointr/Buddhism

The foundations of buddhism by Rupert Gethin is a good start. I think it provides a very solid ground to build upon, as it provides historical information on the development of buddhism, aswell as doctrinal information on both theravada and mahayana. It's basic, or rather, it's written for beginners, but it still contains a lot of very good information. It has very good reviews on amazon too (link), so many people evidently like the book.

u/Phish777 · 6 pointsr/Buddhism
  • Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu has lots of videos and covers tons of stuff. He does weekly videos explaining scriptures and frequently does Q&A. Check out his most popular videos for beginner stuff. Watch his videos for tips on meditation.

  • The Heart of Buddha's Teachings by Thicht Nhat Hanh and What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula are going to be the two most recommending books you'll hear from most people in this sub. I've only read Thicht Nhat Hanh's book, I can can definitely vouch for that.

  • This is a basic quick read guide covering the fundamentals. Here is the Noble Eightfold Path in more detail. and this is an archive of Dharma talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Each of these sites contain other good info, so I encourage you to do some exploring

u/Orangemenace13 · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

Has over 1,000 translated sutras available for free, with suggestions as to which to read / where to start - plus writings by contemporary teachers and practitioners.

A great book is In the Buddha's Words, an anthology of sutras edited by Bhikku Bodhi which seems to be widely praised as a great starting point (I own it and find it very useful).

u/cyanocobalamin · 1 pointr/Buddhism

When I first started reading the Pali Canon it quite astonished me to read religious mythology where gods came to pay their respects to a human for what he accomplished and praise him.

The friendliest introduction to Theravada writings might be The Dhammapada a very small book.

The monk Thannisaro Bhikkhu has an anthology of discourses called "The Wings To Awakening", loads of free electronic copies and if you write to him via snail mail ( he doesn't do email ) he MIGHT send you a copy in real book form.

The monk Bhikkhu Bodhi has a much larger and more comprehensive anthology of the Pali Canon called In The Buddha's Words. It has a lot of religious trappings in it and isn't all sunshine and rainbows. If you can stand it, you can stand the Pali Canon.

Most Theravada Buddhists have never read more than a few discourses, let alone the whole Pali Canon ( huge and repetitive ).

Both anthologizes are very dry, be warned.

u/anjodenunca · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Greetings fellow skeptic/atheist.

All I'd like to recommend is that you read Stephen Batchelor. I read two of his books and they helped me slide right into atheistic buddhism, taking the teachings through the lens of empiricism and pragmatism. As a skeptic, there are a lot of other parts of Buddhism that will raise red flags for you, and I think that's good, but luckily the philosophy of Buddhism is so worthwhile in its own right that it's definitely a fine pursuit.

u/Clay_Statue · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Interestingly I could never really understand the Christian religion until I understood Buddhism. I always had a problem with the concept of "original sin". If we come from nowhere, how can a newborn baby have sin? It doesn't make any logical sense. However if you consider reincarnation means that we've had a limitless number of previous lives, it makes sense that we've probably done some bad shit in a prior incarnation. That's how come all newborn babies can be born with sin. Every question you can come up with about life and existence usually has a logical answer from the Buddhist perspective.

Also Buddhism accepts the existence of not just one god, but numerous gods. Thus Jesus and the Christian god can exist within the Buddhist philosophy, but trying to get to heaven is just a dead-end since it is only temporary. Unlike Christianity which promotes permanence (ie you go to heaven or hell forever), in Buddhism all states of existence are impermanent, even heaven and hell. 'Gods' in the Buddhist context are just another type of incarnation for sentient beings (like being human, animal, or ghost). It's possible that you've been a god in a past existence over beings in some other world-system and then that existence finished and now you're here being human again. Being Buddhist doesn't require you to believe in any of this. Many Buddhists disregard the entire cosmology and don't believe in gods, heaven, hell, ghosts, etc, and this is okay. Faith in these things isn't required to practice Buddhism if you'd rather just take it as a philosophy and apply it to your life in that way. Just be aware that there is no permanence and when you die you aren't annihilated, the consequences of your thoughts, actions, speech, and intentions from this life carry through to the next one, and the one after that, and so on.

Anyways, this book is a perennial classic. It's where many people get started. I'm sure some other users will chime in with other suggestions as well.

Good luck and thanks for your interest!

u/tanvanman · 10 pointsr/Buddhism

If you're looking for an overview of the concepts of Buddhism, I think reading would be better. Perhaps the short scholarly classic What the Buddha Taught or The Buddhist Handbook, a book that Altar_Spud recently recommended that looks like a great survey of Buddhism.

If you're looking for the practical application of Buddhism, especially as it applies to meditative practices, then I recommend the teachings of Gil Fronsdal. His seven part audio series, Buddist Meditation, provides a framework for the practice. There are other series in the left column if you want to further explore core teachings. There are also podcasts under the name of Audiodharma that are updated regularly, but cover all different aspects of the practice and are less concisely organized for a beginner.

Mindfulness, The Most Fundamental Skill is a Shinzen Young talk I found on Grooveshark that explains mindfulness in beautiful simplicity.

u/randme0 · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

It depends on which school of Buddhism you are interested in. Different schools of Buddhism have different scriptures. For example, the school of Theravada Buddhism cherishes the Pali Canon, which consists of Vinaya Pitaka (monastic rules and disciplines), Sutta Pitaka (Buddha's discourses) and Abhidhamma Pitaka (philosophical treaties). The school of Mahayana Buddhism cherishes the Tripitaka, while the school of Tibetan Buddhism also has their own scriptures.

If you are into the Theravada school of Buddhism, which is the oldest school and also closest to the original teaching of the Buddha, then I'd recommend the following books:

The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Complete Translation of the Anguttara Nikaya

The Suttanipata: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries

u/oldmusic · 1 pointr/Buddhism

I am an atheist too. There is such a thing as Secular Buddhism and a sub /r/secularbuddhism. My first introduction to Buddhism was Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. I also listen to a lot of talks form Specificaly, I highly recommend that you listen to their intro to meditation course and starting a meditation practice.

But don't limit yourself to the atheist-friendly resources. There are a lot of great resources on the sidebar.

u/Seoul_Train · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I really enjoyed The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings by Thich Nhat Hanh. Could be another good one to help introduce you to some things.

u/mindroll · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

In Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, Stephen Batchelor wrote of visiting the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, three decades before they were reduced to a pile of rocks.

"From the monk's cell, hewn out of the sandstone cliff centuries earlier, where I spent my days idly smoking a potent blend of marijuana, hashish, and tobacco, a narrow passage led to a dark inner staircase that I would illuminate by striking matches. The steep rock steps climbed to an opening that brought me out, via a narrow ledge, onto the smooth dome of the giant Buddha's head, which fell away dizzily on all sides to the ground one hundred and eighty feet below. On the ceiling of the niche above were faded fragments of painted Buddhas and bodhisattvas. I feared looking up at them for too long lest I lose my balance, slip, and plummet earthward. As my eyes became used to the fierce sunlight, I would gaze out onto the fertile valley of Bamiyan, a patchwork of fields interspersed with low, flat-roofed farmhouses, which lay stretched before me. It was the summer of 1972. This was my first encounter with the remains of a Buddhist civilization, one that had ended with Mahmud of Ghazni's conquest of Afghanistan in the eleventh century.

Like others on the hippie trail to India, I thought of myself as a traveler rather than a mere tourist, someone on an indeterminate quest rather than a journey with a prescribed beginning and end. Had I been asked what I was seeking, I doubt my answer would have been very coherent. I had no destination, either of the geographical or spiritual kind. I was simply "on the road," in that anarchic and ecstatic sense celebrated by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other role models I revered at the time.

I enjoyed nothing more than simply being on the way to somewhere else. I was quite content to peer for hours through the grimy, grease-smeared windows of a rattling bus with cooped chickens in the aisle, observing farmers bent over as they toiled in fields,women carrying babies on their backs, barefoot children playing in the dust, old men seated in the shade smoking hookahs, and all the shabby little towns and villages at which we stopped for sweet tea and unleavened bread."

While the adventures of past pilgrims are inspiring, other types of journeys are impressive as well:

Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman's Quest for Enlightenment

The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk

u/extrohor · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

There are a lot of different approaches to Buddhism.

Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation is a great introduction.

u/Uncle_Erik · 6 pointsr/Buddhism

I was pulled in by Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. I've seen the book criticized here and there, but I found it very direct and immediately useful.

It doesn't take long to read, but you will feel the book sink in and take hold over the next few months. Then I read it again and it connected on another level. I went from there. I had been born and raised atheist and it took a couple of years of reading and study before being OK with becoming Buddhist. It feels right today, but it was definitely a process.

One thing that very much appealed to me was that the Buddha never claimed to be a god or have supernatural powers. He was a human being who lived and died. Just like you, me and everyone else.

Further, I do not find any conflicts between Buddhism and science. Some branches might, but you do not have to go that way.

My recommendation is to read Buddhism Plain and Simple and use its instructions to learn how to meditate. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Try meditation and see what happens. I can't say for sure what you'll find, however, it is not possible to harm yourself. At worst, you'll think you wasted your time. Though I think you will find it useful and look forward to meditation.

Still, let the book sink in for awhile. Read it again. Then go from there and read and learn as much as you want. Visit with other practitioners, explore, learn.

See where that takes you.

u/ckuf · 1 pointr/Buddhism

this book is by one of the most prominent buddhist teachers, thich nhat hanh. it's about how we can all benefit from living out the teachings and traditions of the buddha and jesus, right now. in this life.

imo the virtue of spiritual traditions is in their collections of teachings. we're free to study them all and consider how to apply them to our own lives. i like buddhism as a foundation because it's pretty consistent regarding what type of outcome we're working toward. other traditions can at times be contradictory or have fuel for acts that might not always be for the benefit of all people, but from what i've found buddhist teachings are pretty consistent regarding how conduct, positive and negative effects ourself (or our non-self lol) and others.

u/gaso · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I think you'd find this book interesting:

I consider myself an atheist lay Buddhist, I don't believe in 99% of the mythological components that are included in some Buddhist belief systems. If I was interested in fruity shit I couldn't see with my own eyes, well...there are a lot of religions out there like that. I found Buddhism compelling because it was, at the core, dedicated to honest to goodness truth.

u/balanced_goat · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Ehipassiko. That's the Pali word for 'see for yourself,' and the Buddha said it often. It meant 'don't take my word for it - you have to walk the path and see the truth subjectively.' And by that, he meant meditation. The only way to truly practice Buddhism is to practice meditation. Consistently. Daily. Even if it's just 5 minutes.

By all means, read what others are suggesting here. But understand that all the other things Buddha talked about (besides meditation) will fall into place (and make more sense) once you've developed your meditation skills, even just a bit.

Get this book: The Mind Illuminated. It is, without exaggeration, the most straightforward, clear, practical guide for developing the skill of meditation. Like playing the guitar or shooting 3-pointers, meditation is a skill. This book will help you get good at it. All the rest will follow.

u/ReubenFox · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

The Dhamma. The second gem of the triple gem. For a theravada buddhist, that means The Pali Canon.

The pali canon is a collection of 2,000 or so texts that come from disciples of the buddha, and record his teachings. The big ones are the dhammapada, the nikaya's and the tipitika. As for what to buy, go for these books of dhamma compilations by bhikku bodhi, In the Buddha's words, Middle-length Discourses, The Connected Discourses, and The Long Discourses.

Here's a good free copy of the dhammapada.

As one last suggestion on dhamma books, I would recommend the The Path of Purification as a must own-must read guide to the entire path from the beginning to enlightenment.

Take your time on the diet and don't force yourself. Do it because you want to. Your focus should be on the triple gem and meditation. Read the booklet I linked in the last thread to get a COMPLETE understanding on what meditation is and what it does. After you have read the booklet, I will be happy to answer any remaining questions you have.

I also made an edit to the original post at the ending of the first answer I made on this thread.

u/lvl_5_laser_lotus · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Personally, I am not familiar with the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, and certainly it is very different than the Pali version of Gautama's Maha-parinibbana.

I am skeptical, though, because the insistence that Buddha did indeed teach of the Self is characteristic of a rather small but vehement group of Buddhists whose affiliation with any lineage I know nothing. The only presence I have surmised is a shady connection of reviewers who post the same exact things under different pseudonyms. See, attadipa viharathi here. Or, Denise Anderson here.

The Self-espousing is a vanishingly small but vocal community in Buddhism, and I would really like to know more about their origination.

edit: I should note that, yes, I do see the similarity between my post re: the apparent eternal mental continuum of a Buddha in the Mahayana and the 'Light of the Soul' mentioned later. However, my curiosity is centered more around the apparent discrepancy between the positive assertions of those like the Dalai Lama and the (almost) absolute lack of reference to Atman-espousing suttas throughout the entire Buddhist corpus. I mean, it is (apparently) only a small, vocal group of 'Buddhists' that hold forth these suttas in opposition to conventional Buddhist dogmas.

u/iamacowmoo · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I think those moments you feel in yoga and biking are exactly what you need more of. A meditator is called a yogi. It is about focusing the mind. Yoga is focusing the mind while in many asanas (postures) and meditation is focusing the mind in one asana (usually sitting, though it could be walking or whatever you pick). You can just as easily practice Biking Meditation as well (I like running meditation).

Those brief moments are touching your experience in the present moment. Keeping in touch with the present is what you are practicing with meditation. This is what is extraordinarily simple and natural. Keep reading these difficult ideas, find some more accessible books, and start regularly practicing/sitting and you should be good to go. Happy learning!

Edit: For an accessible book check out The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. Or Steve Hagen's Buddhism Plain and Simple.

u/thenaturalmind · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Chiming in for a sec, we used this book in my Buddhist Metaphysics class which focused a lot on Nagarjuna. This is his greatest work and it also includes some good commentary for clarification, since you'll probably need it, the first time around anyway :)

u/busuku · 1 pointr/Buddhism

If you are looking for good reading on Buddhism, I cannot recommend enough a book called, "The Way of the Bodhisattva", by Shantideva.

Another favorite is, " Gates to Buddhist Practice ", by Chagdud Tulku

( an excerpt )

Best of luck.

u/DeathAndRebirth · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Uhm.. it all depends on what you want to write about!

  1. Buddhism for Beginners

  2. This may help too

  3. This is a classic

  4. Another good book

    Im sure google would help in your search as well
u/Vonschneidenshnoot · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

The best general introductory work is The Foundations of Buddhism by Rupert Gethin: It's very readable and is a thorough introduction to the history, practice, and theory of Buddhism. It's widely recommended as the first book you should read by scholars in the field. Starting with a solid rational and diverse understanding of Buddhism is definitely valuable.

u/Nefandi · 3 pointsr/Buddhism

If you want to research Buddhist views on the mind, I suggest you start with the Mahayana Sutras like Lankavatara Sutra and Shurangama Sutra. If you want to get really technical, then I recommend you read Mulamadhyamakakarika, although Jay L. Garfield's translation is much better imo.

That's just the tip of the iceberg of course. And the Suttas you find in the Pali canon in my experience 100% confirm the same exact view, but they are more circuitous and more subtle about it, so they are not as good for educating a person about the nature of one's own mind.

It's joke easy to spend 10 years studying Buddhist primary sources and not finish studying more than a tiny fraction of them. And understanding the nature of one's own mind is essential prior to meditation.

u/trashfiremarshmallow · 1 pointr/Buddhism

I have found collections very helpful where the editor has arranged important sutras to give the reader a step-by-step guide through increasingly complex dharma topics. In particular Bhikkhu Bodhi's In The Buddha's Words. Thich Nhat Hanh's Awakening of the Heart gives what the editor feels are the most crucial texts, (so fewer sutras and more in-depth commentary), and includes Perfection of Wisdom texts.

Edit: links

u/admorobo · 15 pointsr/Buddhism

I think it may be helpful to have a series of discussions about why you are looking to learn more about Buddhism. For many Christians non-Abrahamic religions are very difficult to understand (source: me, an agnostic raised by an Evangelical Born-Again father and Catholic mother). Part of the process for you and your girlfriend could be learning about Buddhism together, and understanding how it is both different and similar to Christianity.

As someone who comes from a Christian background myself, as a teenager I found Thich Nhat Hanh's works Living Buddha, Living Christ and Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers as effective ways of comparing and contrasting various concepts and values of both the religions. As long as you and your partner are having an ongoing open discussion about your spiritual journey I think you'll be OK.

EDIT: I'll also put forward that if part of your reason for looking outside of Christianity is that you're "not much of a social guy", you should be aware that community (Parsa or Gana) is very important to Buddhists as well.