Author Topic: Where to start  (Read 1173 times)

Offline Sasquatch02

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Where to start
« on: September 01, 2015, 04:33:08 pm »
I'm sort of new to Buddhism and want to know where to start on reading. I've got a few audio books by HH that I listen to at work but that's ad far as I've gone. Can someone help?

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 09:40:43 pm »
Hi Sasquatch02 and welcome to FreeSangha.

"However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?"  ~ Buddha

There are thousands of books about, or related to, Buddhism. Which ones should you read if you are just starting off as a Buddhist or interested in Buddhism? You don’t want to spend your money on a book you didn’t enjoy, and you want to gain insightful information and teachings that can help you.

The books shown in this article are perfect for the new Buddhist who wants to learn and understand about Buddhism, and how to apply it to their daily lives. They are also especially beneficial if you don’t have a Buddhist teacher already and are attempting to learn this on your own.

The Top 5 Book List

These five books will be more than enough to get you started in learning about Buddhism, and putting that knowledge into direct practice. After reading all of the above mentioned recommendations, you can dive into other books such as those by the school of Buddhism you wish to follow (each one has specific ‘texts’ and/or ‘sutras’).

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula --- Although this book was written in the 1950’s, it’s a fantastic book to start off with for anyone who is new to Buddhism and will give you the good foundation to begin your practice. You’ll learn about the Buddha, the Four Noble Truths, and other Buddhist concepts. Also included are selected texts to include some selections from the Dhammapada. (Theravada Buddhism)
Being Good: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life by Ven. Master Hsing Yun --- After you have learned about Buddhism with What the Buddha Taught, it’s time to move on to more ‘real world’ situations.  Ven. Master Hsing Yun provides you with how to live your life by using examples from the Buddha and Buddhism. It’s one of my favorite books due to the very easy flow of the book, great readability, and each chapter deals with a particular life issue (such as ending anger, your reputation, sickness, how to manage wealth, patience under insult, friends & friendship, helping, and other topics. This makes it easy to flip to any ‘chapter’ and re-read based on what’s happening in your life now. (Mahayana Buddhism / Humanistic)

Life: Politics, Human Rights, and What the Buddha Said About Life by Ven. Master Hsing Yun --- This is one of Master Hsing Yun’s newer books and it goes into more detail than Being Good did. It's an excellent book to take you into the wider issues that face not only Buddhists, but the world as a whole. How Buddhists view the world, the cycle of life, race and human rights, politics, war and peace, and happiness are all covered in this book. After reading, you’ll gain a clearer perspective of how you as Buddhist can understand and make a difference in these big issues that encompass our world. (Mahayana Buddhism / Humanistic)
The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh --- One of my favorite authors, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, gives a great review of the Buddha’s teachings.  This may seem like a similar book to my first recommendation, What the Buddha Taught, but it’s not. Now that you have the first three books under your belt, you are hungry for more. Thay (as his followers call him which means “Teacher”) gives you in-depth information about the Buddha’s teachings, without making it overly complex (not an easy feat!). You’ll gain wisdom from one of the world’s great Buddhist teachers that will help your practice especially if you don’t have a teacher already (I call this book “a teacher in a book”). Topics include the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, other basic Buddhist teachings (such as the three Dharma seals). Throughout this book are helpful diagrams, illustrations, and tables which I felt help ‘visualize’ the concepts and text so you can more easily understand it. (Mahayana Buddhism / Humanistic)

Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh --- Finally, you have to put this all together. You’ve read two books about the Buddha’s teachings, and two books about applying those teachings to your life. But what happens when things go really bad? That’s exactly what happened to Thay during the Vietnam war. Buddhists were persecuted in the South (even though they were the majority religion of the people there), and violence and conflict surrounded them. How can Buddhists practice non-violence while trying to engage peace?  The Order of the Interbeing was created by Thay and transformed how modern Buddhism is shaped. No longer are Buddhists confused about how to react in these situations, the 14 precepts of engaged Buddhism provides practical guidance to make sure that non-violence is always practiced, while helping to end conflict and war. Although we may not face war on our doorsteps, the precepts and lessons can be applied to any difficult situation you may find yourself in. (Mahayana Buddhism / Zen / Engaged)

3 More Books to Explore

Here are additional books that I enjoyed, and found helpful and interesting. I’m sure they will become favorites of yours as well:

For All Living Beings: A Guide to Buddhist Practice by Ven. Master Hsing Yun --- Although focusing primarily on Humanistic Buddhism, everyone can find a great start with this book as it focuses on the ‘threefold training’ which all Buddhist branches practice which are: Morality, Meditative Concentration, and Wisdom. As with all books by Ven. Hsing Yun, it is almost like you are right there with him during a teaching or lecture which includes stories (when needed) to help make a teaching more realistic. At the end are three appendixes  which are essentially “lists”: The Twenty Greatest Things in Life, Humanistic Buddhism’s Modern Rules of Conduct, and Life’s One Hundred Tasks. (Mahayana Buddhism / Humanistic)

Buddhism in Every Step by Ven. Master Hsing Yun --- This is a series of over 40 ‘mini’ books and they're available for free as e-books. These are great collection of little books that cover particular topics (how to practice at home, what is buddhism, taking refuge, etc.). Because they're so small, you can fit them in your pocket and read one anywhere. They have the same easy reading style as the rest of his books so you will find them very helpful in starting your practice in Buddhism. (Mahayana Buddhism / Humanistic)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism by Gary Gach --- Not only is this a great book for beginners, but the author also provides plenty of humor (at all the right points) to help make learning about Buddhism fun. Don’t let the “Idiot’s Guide” title fool you... it’s a book you’ll find not only enjoyable to read, but will provide plenty of insight. (All Forms of Buddhism)


Offline Inner Peace

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2015, 06:31:29 am »
Try Thích Nhất Hạnh, that is the book I have been handed by a friend, I hear it's fantastic.
I think you can buy the book from online stores such as Amazon.
The previous comment outlines some brilliant books too.

Offline Amara

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 10:53:25 pm »


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