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rikpa

Favorite Buddhist Books (not Suttas) And Reference Websites

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I always like Thoughts Without A Thinker & Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart by Mark Epstein.

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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

Interesting that you mention this book. I had loaned it to a patient and never got it back.

Fortunately I read it three times and it did become my favorite. I would love to get another copy.

I found the original in an outdoor book store set up at Nakorn Pathom where the large standing Buddha is.

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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

Interesting that you mention this book. I had loaned it to a patient and never got it back.

Fortunately I read it three times and it did become my favorite. I would love to get another copy.

I found the original in an outdoor book store set up at Nakorn Pathom where the large standing Buddha is.

Hi Pepe, I am fairly sure that you can download Handbook for Mankind for free from;

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebidx.htm

I am unable to check because for some reason I can't access that site today.

I hope this helps.

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Has anyone read Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind by B. Alan Wallace? It seems to get rave reviews on Amazon.

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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

Interesting that you mention this book. I had loaned it to a patient and never got it back.

Fortunately I read it three times and it did become my favorite. I would love to get another copy.

I found the original in an outdoor book store set up at Nakorn Pathom where the large standing Buddha is.

Hi Pepe, I am fairly sure that you can download Handbook for Mankind for free from;

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebidx.htm

I am unable to check because for some reason I can't access that site today.

I hope this helps.

---------------------------------------

Hi garro,

Yes Actually I found it in a couple of different locations. I thought, Gee how fortunate to find my favorite book on Buddhism on line. Very fortunate.

Good Health,

Pepe'

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There are a couple of books by Donald Swearer, based on chronicles written by monks long ago that are interesting. The newest is by Swearer and Sommai Premchit entitled, 'The Legend of Queen Cama'. It is based on a Pali chronicle from the 15th century written by Mahathera Bodhiramsi. It is about the founding of Haripunchai, the early northern Mon kingdom now centred at Lamphun. An older book written by Swearer and Premchit, was also based on chronicles. I believe the title was, Wat Haripunchai.

There is a translation of a chronicle in Pali done by a 15thc. monk, I believe in the time of Tilokarat, the King of Lanna, titled, The Sheaf of Garlands of the Epochs of the Conqueror. All of these are excellent for the history of Buddhism, and the history of these early kingdoms in Northern Thailand.

David K. Wyatt has also translated some chronicles, such as The Nan Chronicle, and The Chiang Mai Chronicle, that are partially based on Buddhist chronicles and tamnans.

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I just finished a book written by Samana Potirak called "E Q Logutra". He just tries to explain some topics in tripitaka that Thai buddhists often misunderstand. I totally agree with his arguments in his interpretation of complicated practice. And IMO, only the true monk can present which should be Lord Bhudda's correct teachings and which should not. As far as I know, no Thai monks in the past dare to correct traditional beliefs like him. I just tell myself silently how deep and wide and sincere this monk has mastered Bhuddism. His different opinion/interpretation must be correct. Only the Ariya monk (monk attaining Dhamma)can .

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I just finished a book written by Samana Potirak called "E Q Logutra". He just tries to explain some topics in tripitaka that Thai buddhists often misunderstand. I totally agree with his arguments in his interpretation of complicated practice. And IMO, only the true monk can present which should be Lord Bhudda's correct teachings and which should not. As far as I know, no Thai monks in the past dare to correct traditional beliefs like him. I just tell myself silently how deep and wide and sincere this monk has mastered Bhuddism. His different opinion/interpretation must be correct. Only the Ariya monk (monk attaining Dhamma)can .

True monk or novice?

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A little book that comes frequently to mind and so , therefore, is a favourite of mine: Exploring Karma and Rebirth by Nagapriya. Not only as it's a good introduction to the theory of karma, but dots the I's (so to speak) as to the problems inherent in certain Buddhist dogma. I found Nagapriya's realistic appraisal compelling reading and not easily forgotten.

Edited by chutai

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Another good book I'm reading is Theravada Buddhism by leading scholar Richard Gombrich. It's a "social history" of Buddhism. This extract from an interview with the author gives an idea of where he's coming from:

"My early research work was, in fact, what you would call anthropological. I went to Sri Lanka and wanted to understand what Buddhism meant to Buddhists in a given context. I clearly found that to take the Buddha's words out of their context, without knowing the cultural background, is liable to give you total misconceptions. For instance, you can simply read that all Buddhists believe that everything is suffering. If you take that seriously, you will think you are going to meet a population of depressives. Of course, Buddhists are quite different to that, which leads to the question, 'How do Buddhists interpret that everything is suffering?'

Gradually it dawned on me that any religion has to be interpreted in this way, whether it is ancient or modern. Of course, being a Sanskritist as well, it wasn't so difficult for me, because I could read the texts that the Buddha was responding to in his day. I discovered, indeed, that they are highly relevant and that the Buddha accepted certain things in them. For instance, he accepted the idea that we are in an endless cycle of rebirth - although he changed the meaning of that very considerably. However, he did have that basic presupposition given to him, along with a lot of other things as well. For example, he was given an alternative idea of what 'religion' was about. It did not just have to be about how human beings can save themselves by resorting to the power of some omnipotent deity.

It immediately became obvious to me that this was an important way of learning more about what the texts mean. Doubly so, because the commentaries seem to be completely unaware of the things to which the Buddha was responding. Of course, we must read the commentaries. They are full of valuable and interesting material. It is just that they don't say the last word on the matter."

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For instance, he accepted the idea that we are in an endless cycle of rebirth - although he changed the meaning of that very considerably.

I'd be interested in following that one through a little more. Any ideas what the author was refering to ?

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I'm pretty sure he's referring to Vedic belief in rebirth and kamma, according to which there was no way out of the endless cycle of rebirths. The Buddha accepted the idea of rebirth but modified how kamma worked and came up with nibbana as an exit strategy. The author examines the prevailing beliefs of the time and shows which ones were adopted or changed by the Buddha. In some cases, the Buddha clearly created Vinaya rules so that his followers wouldn't be unfavourably compared to the Jains or other sects.

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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.

If you like Batchelor, then you should get "Buddhism Plain and simple" by Steve Hagen - would be best first book on Buddhism for the unreligious....

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