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Favorite Buddhist Books (not Suttas) And Reference Websites

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This might already be posted and I missed it but Thich Nhat Hanh's Old Path White Clouds is a much visited favourite of mine. Good light reading for a bus trip or a vacation at the beach.

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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.....

I have just read books 1-7 The law of Karma by Phra rajsuddhinanamonkol , asia book shops 150 baht each .

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"Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things," by Gary Geddes

Sunday, July 22, 2007; Page P02

BOOK: "Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things," by Gary Geddes (Sterling, $24.95)

TARGET AUDIENCE: Readers who like foreign travel seasoned with conspiracy theory.

Proposition: Long before Columbus's voyages, the Americas were discovered from the other direction. By a Buddhist monk. From Kabul.

Canadian poet Geddes follows what might be the path of Huishen, a 5th-century scholar and explorer, by traveling through Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, then across the Pacific to the Canadian coast and down to Mexico and Guatemala, where ardent researchers have seen influences of Buddhism among Olmec and other artifacts.

But readers expecting definitive proof will be disappointed. Huishen's name turns up missing from ancient rosters; Geddes fails to anticipate office holidays and thus finds potentially helpful sources unavailable; rival scholars explain away purported evidence of "pre-Columbian Asian contact." The account is nonetheless rewarding, made so by the poet's eye that Geddes brings to his observations. Kabul is magical, "as if the idea of light originated here." An old Mexican taxi is "a triumph of faith over technology," and a container ship's cargo groans like "the bellow of the last surviving mammoth."

--Jerry V. Haines

Source: Washington Post

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Rude Awakenings, by Ajahn Sucitto and Nick Scott.

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"Synopsis: Two very different men - an earthy life-loving naturalist and an austere Buddhist monk - partner for a great six-month walking adventure: tracing the Buddha's footsteps in India. Set in each of the two author's contrasting voices, the book is half down-and-dirty adventure, complete with surprising twists and pitfalls; half inspirational spiritual memoir. This story blends self-effacing humour, philosophical explorations, drama, travel observations, and the occasional giant fruit bat."

I really enjoyed this one-of-a-kind book, especially as I'd been to India and Benares in the early 70s. It doesn't sound like it's changed much. The idea of having sections narrated alternately by the monk (from Amaravati Monastery) and the layman works very well as they have very different perspectives on what happens along the way. The pilgrimage itself is a bit of a slog until tragedy strikes near the end.

The events recorded took place in 1990 but they couldn't get the final book published. After 10 years Wisdom finally offered to publish the account of the first half of the trip. The second half - in which they travel up to Nepal and recount the lessons learned from the pilgrimage - remains unpublished.

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A book entitled " Kantitam Forest Monastry " not only informs me the way Luangpu Nainkam practice meditation but some miracles on the way until he became an arahant.

Now he is only 28. He practised Dhamma when he was only 6 years old he didn't know why but he said he just liked it. He had seen lives in another realm when he went tudong in Sakolnakon province. Those in that realm told him only people with pure sila(arahant) could see them. They smelled the fragrance from the ones with pure sila.

There are even further incredible incidents in his life. I think I'm fortunate because the province he lives (Srisaket) is not too far to visit. I hope to see him in person and his monastry very soon.

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I just finished reading Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies & the Truth about Reality. Excellent read.

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Sons of the Buddha, by Kamala Tiyavanich.

Another great book from Kamala Tiyavanich and the third in her trilogy on early Thai Buddhism and its monks. This one is about three preachers from the south of Thailand, Ajahn Buddhadasa, Ajahn Jumnien, and the late Ajahn Panya. More info here. Available at Kinokuniya.

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Nyantiloka's Buddhist Dictionary is now available from Silkworm Books.

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Sons of the Buddha, by Kamala Tiyavanich.

Another great book from Kamala Tiyavanich and the third in her trilogy on early Thai Buddhism and its monks. This one is about three preachers from the south of Thailand, Ajahn Buddhadasa, Ajahn Jumnien, and the late Ajahn Panya. More info here. Available at Kinokuniya.

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Oh Cool! Thanks for posting this book!!

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Cleaning up a messy unconscious

By DANIEL BURKE

Religion News Service

There aren’t many Zen priests like Brad Warner.

-- RNS

Brad Warner

Before turning to Buddhism 25 years ago, the 43-year-old Californian hit the hardcore punk scene in Ohio as bassist for the Akron-based band Zero Defects.

Now a writer as well as a Buddhist priest, Warner, 43, combines his love of punk and Zen to produce straight-talking meditations on sex, death, God and the Buddha. His latest book, Sit Down and Shut Up, centers on “Shobogenzo,” a mysterious 13th-century text.

Warner talked recently about practicing Buddhism and playing in a punk band, why we need books and how meditating is like cleaning your room.

RNS: I’ve heard Buddhist teachers say you don’t need to know anything about Buddhism, if you just sit down and shut up long enough, you’ll get it. Do you think that’s true?

Warner: I think that’s basically true. The philosophical aspect of Buddhism is important, but practicing it is much more critical. A lot of Americans who are into Buddhism will study the philosophy but never do the practice. If you had to do one or the other I think the practice is more important.

Your book posits some surprising similarities between playing in a punk band and practicing Zen.

People think they are entirely different worlds. Punk rock is very noisy and in your face. Zen tends to be quiet and out of your face. They’re comparable in the sense that you have to just do the thing you’re doing. When you’re playing bass, you have to just play bass or you’ll lose the thread and make a mistake. Zazen [meditation] may be a little harder in that sense because all you’re doing is sitting. But it is a kind of action even though you’re not doing anything. It’s not like you’re just being lazy.

What’s the biggest hang-up for Zen beginners?

That you’re doing zazen wrong because you sit there and your mind is full of desire and plans and hopes and all kinds of thoughts. People imagine zazen must be this beautiful tranquil place of ease. Generally speaking, when you first start out, it’s not like that at all. It wasn’t even like that for the Buddha when he started.

How long does it take to get your mind to settle down?

Sometimes it takes ages. I’m still waiting for it to settle down.

Your book says that the old Japanese Zen masters were the original punks. How’s that so?

They went against their society. It was a socially accepted thing to be a monk but it was still a pretty weird thing to do. They were rejecting those things of society that everyone else was striving for.

You’re pretty critical of some of the books on Buddhism out there. How is yours different?

A lot of those books point to some beautiful thing that’s far away that the author has and he wants to help you achieve. I’m trying to bring it down to something more real, to combat that sense that the only way to practice meditation is to run off to India and sit on top of a mountain for 10 years.

Your book centers on “Shobogenzo,” which, from the excerpts, seems pretty tough to grasp. How long did it take you to understand it?

It’s definitely difficult. I read the book completely through three times before I “got” it. But even when I didn’t understand it, I could feel instantly that it wasn’t just some guy talking nonsense.

You’ve got an interesting metaphor in your book: how meditation practice is like cleaning your room.

Yeah, I’m a really messy person, I probably came up with that one day while I was cleaning my room. Basically, it’s that you can’t just get somebody else to shove all your stuff in the closet and you can’t clean it all at once. That’s like moving all the mess to an area of your unconscious. It’s still there. So, there’s no instant miracle. It’s a gradual process.

Your book is pretty clear, we’ve all got “it,” that is, universal truth, within us. Do we need books, then?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? A book can be a useful kick in the pants to take action and look at your surroundings. My big kick in the pants was to find a teacher; maybe, hopefully, my book will spur somebody to come on and do the practice.

National Catholic Reporter, December 14, 2007

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Buddhadasa: Theravada Buddhism and Modernist Reform in Thailand by Peter A. Jackson. This one is a keeper for anyone interested in Buddhism in Thailand. It's about Buddhadasa, why and how he tried to reform Thai Buddhism, where his ideas came from, who opposed him and why. There's lots of good stuff about orthodox Theravada Buddhism, scholarly Thai Buddhism and popular Thai Buddhism.

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Visions : Gleams of a higher destiny by Phra Terry (Suratano Bhikkhu).

It was first published as Samma Ditthi - A Treatise on Right Understanding in 1962 and reprinted as the current version in 2007.

Great book for me personally. It not only mentions the Buddhas teachings on it but quotes many a great philosopher who's thought's have been similar in nearly every way. :o

http://triple-gem.net/Samma_Ditthi_02Nov07.pdf

Edited by Austhaied

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To get a good solid foundation of knowledge on the teachings, history and various schools of Buddhism and their origins I highly recommend Peter Harvey’s “ Introduction to Buddhism”. Don’t be mislead by the title because it is more than just an introduction and goes quite in-depth in its scope. I really liked it because it approaches Buddhism objectively as a course of study. It is used by many universities throughout the world as the textbook for Buddhism courses.

For those interested specifically in the basics of Theravada Buddhism as practiced in Thailand, I recommend Sunthorn Plamintr’s “Basic Buddhism Course”. It was originally written as a Sunday school text for the children of Thais living outside of Thailand who could read English but not Thai. It is a great source of information to the adult non-Thai as well who wishes to learn the basics of Thai Buddhism just as it is taught to nearly every Thai schoolchild in Thailand. In-depth esoteric spiritual discussions aside, after having read Phra Sunthorn’s book you will be able to discuss most all aspects of Thai Buddhism knowledgeably with your Thai friends.

Once touched by the beauty and truth of the Buddha’s teachings, I loved two books already mentioned by other posters in this thread, Buddhadasa’s “Handbook for Mankind” and Walpola Rahula’s “What the Buddha Taught” as wonderful explanations of the core concepts.

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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

An alternative name for Opening the Door of Your Heart is Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life's Difficulties, by Ajahn Brahm.

The Thai Language edition in pdf format and other Dhamma related books may be downloaded for free!

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