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Favorite Buddhist Books (not Suttas) And Reference Websites


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Just casting about for good book recommendations. This is not a question of favorite Suttas, but more a modern take on the Dhamma, as it is mutating its way out of Asia.

The two favorites that come to the top of my mind are:

1. Buddhism Without Beliefs -- Stephen Batchelor

A controversial book, but a great revisiting of the essence of the Dhamma. Praised as the best book on Buddhism in the 20th century by Prof. Richard Hayes.

2. Land of No Buddha -- Richard Hayes

My favorite Dharmacharya -- Prof. Hayes ("the Buddhist Mencken" as I like to call him) elucidates many aspects of the Dhamma without making it look like he is. He was a professor of Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Pali at McGill, University, and is an active practitioner of the Dhamma (for those not familiar with him--so not merely a dry academic; also he is also an editor of the "Journal of Buddhist Ethics").

Any recommendations would be appreciated.

All the best,

E.

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Just casting about for good book recommendations. This is not a question of favorite Suttas, but more a modern take on the Dhamma, as it is mutating its way out of Asia. The two favorites that come t

A great personal story of a guy who did the hippy scene and drugs but describes his progress through dhamma and meditation .... http://archive.org/stream/OneNightsShelter/OneNightsShelter-Ven.Rahula_

Intuitive Awareness by Ajahn Sumedho.   https://forestsangha.org/teachings/books/intuitive-awareness?language=English

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I've lost my copy of my favourite book, so if anyone knows where I can get it again I'd be grateful

What the Buddha taught by Walpola Rahula

the best book ever written on Buddhism, untainted by modern egos and hysterics, just plain and simple.

:o

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I've lost my copy of my favourite book, so if anyone knows where I can get it again I'd be grateful

What the Buddha taught by Walpola Rahula

the best book ever written on Buddhism, untainted by modern egos and hysterics, just plain and simple.

:o

Wow, yes, I have to agree with you. That was one of the first two books on Buddhism I ever bought, along with "The Three Pillars of Zen", by roshi Kapleau.

That slim volume sums up all of the essence of the Dhamma in such a clean and simple style. That was where I first heard of "anatta" and "paticca samuppada", and the "panca khandas", and his lucid explanations of them. Only the beginning, of course. If you live in BKK there is a small bookshop on the far end of Khao San (by all of the fake TOEFL degree and ID vendors) that stocks a good selection of Dhamma books.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently I've been reading books by W.Vajiramadhi. I'm not on "Looking Death in the Eye". All the books are written by a Thai monk in both Thai and English, and show the attitude of Thai Buddhists in particular. The one that I'm reading right now is quite an eye opener.....

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Hey Rikpa,

You know Richard Hayes? He's like my favorite guy ever. Five-star academic without the ego hang-ups and snobbery. I was surprised to see your post, I'm assuming you must be a former Redman like me, and probably took Theravada Buddhist Lit with Hayes. Am I right? Small world, huh? Wonder if I knew you-- I graduated in... oh crap I forgot already. 3 or 4 years ago.

Ourmanflint, you cn find a copy of What the Buddha Taught in multiple languages at the Mahachula University Bookstore or the Mahamakut University Bookstore. The latter is a great place-- tons of English books on Buddhism without the farang pricing you find at Kinokuniya and the like. It's across the street from the main entrance of Wat Bowon, near Khao San Road. It's not particularly easy to spot, so if you have any trouble finding it let me know.

Edited by tycann
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:D For me it is 'Handbook For Mankind' Buddhadasa Bhikku...the first text I read, written in 1956 and on the celebrations marking his birth 100 years ago it is more than relevant today...I have a large library of Buddhist books but another time... :o Dukkha
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Hey Rikpa,

You know Richard Hayes? He's like my favorite guy ever. Five-star academic without the ego hang-ups and snobbery. I was surprised to see your post, I'm assuming you must be a former Redman like me, and probably took Theravada Buddhist Lit with Hayes. Am I right? Small world, huh? Wonder if I knew you-- I graduated in... oh crap I forgot already. 3 or 4 years ago.

Sorry for not replying sooner--I never caught this. Wow, so you actually had the amazing good fortune to study with the man directly? Lucky you! Not me. I have only known him via the Internet for a decade or so. As an amusing aside, I have never wanted a "Dharma name" or asked for it (kinda silly to me), but he did give me one long ago, for fun, I am sure. I will never forget that!

We almost met in person once (he was coming down from Montreal to Woodstock, NY, to hang with some other Buddhist sympathizers there, but got diverted en route--and I had gone specifically to meet the great man in person!).

IMO, he is one of the greatest Buddhist scholar/practitioners to have ever been born and raised in the Western hemisphere.

I have to say that 1/2 of my influence has been the Tibetans, the other 1/2 the Theravadins, and the other 1/2 Prof. Hayes's eclectic and non-sectarian take on the Dhamma. Actually, in terms of impact, I would even have to admit he has had a greater effect on me than even the lamas and ajhans I was lucky enough to know, all put together.

Sorry to go on so much, but his knowledge of the written Dharma is encyclopedic, and his explanations on it have never contradicted a single stanza I've ever been instructed on by any teacher no matter the tradition. I suspect in a few hundred years he will be seen as one of the great ones in Western Buddhism, even though no one these days really seems to accord him the sort of respect or renown he truly deserves. But then the great ones were almost always "hidden treasures" and never recognized until hundreds of years later... So be it. I am just lucky to have crossed paths with the man.

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Yeah,

Buddhadasa is so [email protected] His Paticcasamuppada: Practical Dependent Origingation pwns Buddhaghosa.

I agree--I prefer Buddhadasa's open and non-orthodox stuff to Budddhagosa's, but then again, to understand the Lankavamsa Buddhism of SE Asia, a careful read through Buddhagosa's Visuddhimagga is indispensible. The Vism. is a really rich text and definitely worth studying for a lot of good reasons, even if it can get a bit tedious at times.

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A book of Ven Buddhadasa's collected essays called Towards The Truth, edited by Donald K Swearer, was the book that first brought me to Thailand in the 1970s. I believe it's out of print.

My favourite of Ven Buddhadasa's is his Khwaam Waang - Jit Waang (Emptiness - Empty Mind). I read it in the original Thai, not sure if it was ever translated.

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:D

Hello all

I'm a newbie here. I just finished "siadai kontai maidai arn" by Dangtrin. I think it is both entertaining and informative. It makes me believe the author should have attained Dhamma already.

That sounds like a book worth reading :o:D

One of my fav buddhist books is "Wings of Awakening" by Thannissaro Bhikku.

Although this is not strictly a buddhist book, "The Power of Now" by Eckart Tolle is pretty close to buddhism. He describes his enlightenment in the book. One night he was in his bedroom overcome by strong overwhelming anxiety. He remembers saying to himself "I cannot stand myself", which triggered something & he was sucked into a vortex (?). When he awoke he saw the world as an awakened person. Or so he claims. Great book anyway.

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  • 1 month later...

From a review:

THE WAY OF THE WHITE CLOUDS

Lama Anagarika Govinda

The Way of the White Clouds is the remarkable narrative of a pilgrimage which could not be made today. In 1948, Lama Anagarika Govinda made a journey into Tibet before its invasion by the Chinese. His extraordinary descriptions of the landscape, monasteries and people of Tibet are unforgettable, and his sensitive explorations of the spiritual traditions of Tibet and the travels he made within his own being are both magical and extremely helpful. As a book for discovering what Tibet was really like before enormous change swept through it, and what Tibetan spirituality is all about, The Way of the White Clouds has no equal.

From the book:

The Way of the White Clouds

To see the greatness of a mountain, one must keep one's distance;

to understand its form, one must move around it;

to experience its moods, one must see it at sunrise and sunset,

at noon and at midnight, in sun and in rain, in snow and in storm,

in summer and in winter and in all the other seasons.

He who can see the mountain like this comes near to the life of the mountain,

a life that is as intense and varied as that of a human being.

LAMA GOVINDA

THE WAY OF THE WHITE CLOUDS

--I first read it in the early 70's ... it still is my favorite and I still have my original copy. Jazzbo

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Exploring Karma and Rebirth by Nagapriya is an excellent and challenging little book that acts not only as an introduction to these subjects but also questions some of the exising ideas that have been handed down since the Brahmanistic times of the Buddha. Well worth the read whether new to the subject or familiar with the concepts. Good reviews by people like Stephen Batchelor on the back cover.

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  • 3 months later...

The Foundations of Buddhism by Rupert Gethin is a real gem. Answers all those questions you didn't know who to ask. :o

Anyone know where the Buddha statue on the cover is located? I'm guessing Sri Lanka.

7461.jpg

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The Foundations of Buddhism by Rupert Gethin is a real gem. Answers all those questions you didn't know who to ask. :D

Anyone know where the Buddha statue on the cover is located? I'm guessing Sri Lanka.

7461.jpg

I believe that's a detail from the 12th-century (many Sinhalese claim it's 5th C, but the stylistics belie that dating) standing Buddha at Aukana, Sri Lanka. I visited the site in 2000 and 2005, exceptionally nice sculpture.

tallbuddha.jpg

Now to read the book behind the cover ... :o

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What about any book form 'lama Surya DAS',he is an american monk,writes very wise and simple in a understandable manner,really recommend books from him.Also ofcourse the books of 'His holiness the dalai Lama'

just so unbelievable wisdom and compassion this man has,also,The Tibetan book of living and dying(Rinpoche),for some hard to read maybe,but just opened my mind.If you have never read the last one,you will never understand buddhism at all!Some very good books!have a nice reading :o

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Living Buddhists Masters by Jack Kornfield is fantastic for the amount of knowledge contained within. I can read it again and again.

Light on Enlightenment by Christopher Titmus was great for simplifying things but it is a while since I read it.

Buddha in the Jungle by Tiyavanich Kamala. This was a great Thai book which looked at the Thuodong forest monks.

Any book containing the wisdom of Ajahn Chah

Edited by garro
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geez you did well to spot that

sounds like a very good book indeed.

just checked out my local library and they got it :o

I've only flipped through my copy since I'm saving it for my vacation but every time I open it I find something interesting. It looks better than Karen Armstrong's Buddha.

Apparently he's written another book called The Buddhist Path to Awakening: A Study of the Bodhi-Pakkhiya Dhamma . There's a short bio of the author at http://www.bris.ac.uk/thrs/staff/rg.html.

Nice photo, sabaijai!

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