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BANGKOK 25 April 2019 22:59
rikpa

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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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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My personal favorite: Opening The Door of Your Heart, by Ajahn Brahm. It's a collection of short stories that elucidate the 'timeless wisdom of the Buddha's teachings.' Highly recommended. :o

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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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One of my recent favourites is A State of Mind Called Beautiful by Sayadaw U Pandita. The all-time favourite is Aj Sumedho's The Mind and the Way.

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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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Yeah,

Buddhadasa is so bad-@ss. His Paticcasamuppada: Practical Dependent Origingation pwns Buddhaghosa.

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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 bad-@ss. 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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I think Buddhadhassa's "Heartwood Of The Bodhi Tree" is the best book on sunnata / voidness I have read. He makes a very profound subject very accessible for the reader. I enjoyed it very much.

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For me it is 'Handbook For Mankind' Buddhadasa Bhikku

I prefer "No Religion" :o

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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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