Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community  

Go Back   Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community > The Academy > Tilted Philosophy


 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-02-2005, 11:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: Calgary
Buddhism

I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on good books or websites for introductions to buddhism. (especially books)
Not specifically looking for say Tibeting buddhism, or Zen buddhism.
Anyone read a good introduction? looking for both historical, as well as a comparison and contrast between the various schools of buddhism.
I've found http://www.buddhanet.net/ which isn't bad, but sometimes I just like to have a dead tree in my hands
__________________
The truth is, wherever you choose to be, it's the wrong place.
Chuck Palahniuk , Diary
metalgeek is offline  
Old 07-03-2005, 05:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
Illusionary
 
tecoyah's Avatar
 
I have found this to be a good source of Basic info

http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/buddhaintro.html

I also found this a really good read....context is everything
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...058857-2535857
__________________
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
tecoyah is offline  
Old 07-03-2005, 06:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
Nobody Loves Me
 
Location: Irish In Madrid
I think its called the Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, not sure its been a while since I read it & its back home now. I actually met the author Sogyal Rinpoche a few years back. He is the nicest person I have ever met. Just being in his presence makes people smile. It was wierd.
__________________
Music is my first love & It will be my last.
Magpie0001 is offline  
Old 07-03-2005, 04:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
Upright
 
I've read most of Tibetan Book of Living & Dying. It's a really good book, well written, but like the title says it's basicly about their beliefs on dying and what happens during the process. there isn't a whole lot on the more day to day principles (about 90 or so pages in the beggining) but what there is really well done and easy to understand, although it's just really a few basic principles and introduction to buddhism.
it's been a few years since I've read it, maybe i should go dig it out and finish it...
xddga is offline  
Old 07-03-2005, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
Psycho
 
keyshawn's Avatar
 
A classic read, siddhartha by herman hesse - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

About a boy, practicing buddhist, who is on a journey to find happiness/nirvana.
__________________
currently reading:

currently playing :
keyshawn is offline  
Old 07-03-2005, 07:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Devoid's Avatar
 
Location: Floating amongst the ether
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/sim-explorer/explore-items/-/0553370901/0/101/1/none/purchase/ref%3Dpd_sxp_r0/103-2660227-7363810">Here</a> is a good link from amazon that came up for The Tibetan Book of the Dead, with a bunch of related ones listed too.
__________________
We're here to steal your pornography, and sodomize our vast imaginations. - Inignot
Devoid is offline  
Old 07-12-2005, 10:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
Upright
 
Essntial BUddhism by Jack Maguire

THis is a great book for explaing the basics, of what a "Buddhist " believes, or does. It gets into origins, and beliefs. I don't feel like it tries to convert or confuse the reader.

om
jvlp is offline  
Old 07-13-2005, 09:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
Tilted
 
the basic idea of Buddhism is really cool. I like it. If i wasn't Roman Catholic, i would totally be Buddhist. Dharma and Karma, and the big belly rubbing. *idiotic giggling*
__________________
Check and mate, now king me.
-Homer
bobophil is offline  
Old 07-15-2005, 09:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
Addict
 
sashime76's Avatar
 
Location: Hoosier State
You might be surprised to hear this, go to your local Buddhist temples. I'm sure you will find books your want even in English.
sashime76 is offline  
Old 07-23-2005, 10:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
Hey Now!
 
Johnny Pyro's Avatar
 
Location: Massachusetts (Redneck, white boy town. I hate it here.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashime76
You might be surprised to hear this, go to your local Buddhist temples. I'm sure you will find books your want even in English.
Ya, go straight to the source. You may even get some information from some of the monks.
__________________
"From delusion lead me to truth, from darkness lead me to light, from death lead me to eternal life. - Sheriff John Wydell
Johnny Pyro is offline  
Old 07-23-2005, 11:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
Alien Anthropologist
 
hunnychile's Avatar
 
Location: Between Boredom and Nirvana
After reading "Man's Eternal Quest" by Paramahansa Yogananda, my eyes were opened to forms of Buddism & self actualization in wonderful ways. The book that blew me away was, "Ancient Wisdom, Modern World" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso). He has a great sense of humor and shares his hopes and beliefs for man & the world in all of his books. But The first book I read a long, long time ago was, "Yoga, Youth and Reincarnation" by Jess Stearn -a writer/journalist & sceptic to all things Eastern and mystical. It's fast, yet delightful reading.

Also "The flight of the Eagle" by J. Krishnamurti. It is transcripts & dialog from talks he gave in London, Paris & Amsterdam in the 70s about the Transcendental, Freedom, Meditations and Why We Can't Live in Peace."

ANY books by Alan Watts & esp. Ram Dass are fantastic! Ram lives in Northern CA. and still teaches classes. He's a hoot (funny & deep) and very tuned in to our western minds trying to "comprehend eastern thoughts". He wrote "Be Here Now," a cultural icon in a way....a bit hippy dippy, but totally truthful and written with love and insight.

Enjoy. Just for grins: I'm currently a Lutheran, by association, a reforming WASP, a militant lady artist who meditates, reads too much and does Reiki. What a long strange trip it's been.
__________________
"I need compassion, understanding and chocolate." - NJB

Last edited by hunnychile; 07-23-2005 at 11:34 AM..
hunnychile is offline  
Old 07-25-2005, 11:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
Twitterpated
 
Suave's Avatar
 
Location: My own little world (also Canada)
A great book to read is "A Simple Path" by the Dalai Lama. Gives a very broad and concise overview of the generalities of Buddhism, and it has lots of pretty pictures too.

The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying is a good one too (quite a bit longer and heftier read, but highly enjoyable).

sashime: Easier said than done. In a city of nearly one million people, I have found exactly one (1) Buddhist temple. There are meditation groups and so forth, but temples can be scarce to non-existent.
__________________
"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions." - Albert Einstein

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." - Plato

Last edited by Suave; 07-25-2005 at 11:35 AM..
Suave is offline  
Old 05-08-2006, 11:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
abaya's Avatar
 
Location: Iceland
Alright, I'm also looking for a book on Buddhism... I grew up in a sort-of Theravada context (my mother and her family are Thai), but theirs was more of a folk practice than one that held to the actual beliefs/doctrines.

So I recently found The Heart of the Buddha, by the Vietnamese monk Thich Nacht Hanh, but I think it's a bit too butterflies-and-flowers for my devouring mind. (I am used to reading pretty intense theology/spiritual books from my time as an evangelical Christian; Thomas Merton was my favorite.)

Reviews on Amazon led me to What the Buddha Taught, by Ralpola Wahula, a Sri Lankan (Theravada) monk... and this one does look pretty good, but it also seems cluttered by anti-Mahayana bias, and I'm more interested in a book on Buddhism that doesn't take these divisions so seriously (I believe Buddha would have dismissed them as well, but that is my opinion).

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good ol' introductory text? I would even stoop to "Buddhism for Dummies" if someone said it was good... I'll take anything here.
__________________
And think not you can direct the course of Love;
for Love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

--Khalil Gibran
abaya is offline  
Old 05-08-2006, 12:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Leto's Avatar
 
Location: The Danforth
I was lucky enough to spend some time working in Sri Lanka as a youth, and therefore soaked up some indiginous culture, that being the co-exhistence of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

I found the differences to be quite striking. Hindu festivals which were lively and carnival like, similar to Christian mas festivals, whith food offerings to deities; Muslim devotion, which was dignified and devoted; and the introspective observances of Buddhism

Apparently the the country observes an orthodox version of Buddhism called Hinayana, which differs from the sects that have developed over time in other coutnries like Tibet & Japan. It has a long history/connection with the sources of Buddhism. I 've been to visit the Bo tree in the ancient city of Anuradapura which is supposed to be grown from a cutting of the tree that Gautama achieved enlightenment under.

This tree is so big, and spread out that there are iron crutches supporting the weight of it's limbs. It's supposed to be over 2,000 years old. Interestingly, its leaf (the Bo Leaf) is a symbol which is utilized as a decoration on the national flag, and is sold as a charm to wear on a chain around your neck, much like a Christian wears a crucifix.

Interesting reading is found at: http://www.country-studies.com/sri-lanka/buddhism.html from which I grabbed this quote:

In Sri Lanka, people do not officially worship the Buddha, but show reverence to his memory.

I found that the meditative reflection on Buddha, especially during the full moon evenings (Poya days) at the local temples, to be quite serene and attractive.

Check out these items too if you want to read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinayana
http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/vehicles.html
__________________
You said you didn't give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr


http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Leto_Atreides_I

Last edited by Leto; 05-08-2006 at 12:46 PM..
Leto is offline  
Old 05-08-2006, 10:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
Human
 
SecretMethod70's Avatar
 
Administrator
Location: Chicago
I know Abaya didn't think it was intense enough, but The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh is easily one of the best books to be introduced to Buddhism through, IMO. One of Thich Nhat Hanh's great strengths is writing about Buddhism in a very accessible manner. Furthermore, even if you're already familiar with Buddhism, I still think it's quite an excellent book because of the very fact it is such relatively light reading. It lends a fresh voice to the subject.
__________________
Le temps détruit tout

"Musicians are the carriers and communicators of spirit in the most immediate sense." - Kurt Elling

Last edited by SecretMethod70; 05-09-2006 at 01:37 AM..
SecretMethod70 is offline  
Old 05-09-2006, 04:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
abaya's Avatar
 
Location: Iceland
Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretMethod70
I know Abaya didn't think it was intense enough, but The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh is easily one of the best books to be introduced to Buddhism through, IMO. One of Thich Nhat Hanh's great strengths is writing about Buddhism in a very accessible manner. Furthermore, even if you're already familiar with Buddhism, I still think it's quite an excellent book because of the very fact it is such relatively light reading. It lends a fresh voice to the subject.
Thanks for your tip, SM (and also Leto). I'd be willing to give Nhat Hanh's book another try, but it was just my first impression that it was written in a "too-accessible" manner, I guess... a bit entry-level (which is good that he's writing that way, since many people do want that), but again that was my first impression. Maybe I will go with both the Nhat Hanh and the Wahula book, just to have perspectives from two branches of Buddhism.
__________________
And think not you can direct the course of Love;
for Love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

--Khalil Gibran
abaya is offline  
Old 05-12-2006, 03:02 AM   #17 (permalink)
Upright
 
Location: Germany
The german philosopher Schopenhauer was also influenced by buddhism.

http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/peter2.htm
Humanitarismus is offline  
Old 05-13-2006, 09:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
Addict
 
guyy's Avatar
 
Location: Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
There are a number of sutras that have been translated. Why not read them? Shambala Press has a bunch of them. Also, Penguin had a collection of Buddhist scripture which was pretty good. "Buddhist Scripture" might have been the title. I particularly liked the dialogue between Buddhists and the Bactrian greeks. (There was some overlap between Buddhist and Greek territory around the time of Alexander the Great).

Keep in mind that there's a huge gap between ancient theory and modern practice. Buddhism as actual social practice is just as corrupt as Christianity and has been satrised as such for centuries.

Of course "Buddhism" in the West means something else, and if that's what you're interested in the founding texts are probably those of D.T. Suzuki and Alan Watts. Watts is kind of interesting if you read it in the context of Beat culture.
guyy is offline  
Old 05-19-2006, 03:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Okay, I just skimmed this thread looking to see if anybody else mentioned this, and I didn't see it. If I am, however, re-recommending a book already mentioned, it's honestly that great and deserves a double-mention. This is the ultimate intro to Zen philosophy, and I have had philosophy professors on both sides of the Atlantic recommend it to classes.

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (Paperback)
by Shunryu Suzuki
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0834800799
__________________
I'm swimming in the digital residue of a media-drenched world. It's too cold.
robbdn is offline  
Old 05-19-2006, 08:23 AM   #20 (permalink)
Heliotrope
 
cellophanedeity's Avatar
 
Location: A warm room
Thoughts Without a Thinker by Mark Epstein was my first introduction to Buddhism. I don't know if it's the best book ever, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot at the same time.
cellophanedeity is offline  
Old 05-20-2006, 07:19 PM   #21 (permalink)
Addict
 
guyy's Avatar
 
Location: Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbdn
This is the ultimate intro to Zen philosophy, and I have had philosophy professors on both sides of the Atlantic recommend it to classes.

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (Paperback)
by Shunryu Suzuki
Indeed, you could do worse than that one.

Both sides of the Atlantic? Not the Pacific?
guyy is offline  
Old 05-21-2006, 12:59 AM   #22 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyy
Both sides of the Atlantic? Not the Pacific?
Yes, that is correct. Although one of the people who recommended it to me did actually spend some time studying the ways of Zen in an actual Zen monastery in Japan. So, I suppose it could be said by way of association that I have obtained recommendations for this book from around the globe.
__________________
I'm swimming in the digital residue of a media-drenched world. It's too cold.
robbdn is offline  
Old 06-17-2006, 09:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
Psycho
 
CoachAlan's Avatar
 
Location: Las Vegas
Quote:
Originally Posted by abaya
Thanks for your tip, SM (and also Leto). I'd be willing to give Nhat Hanh's book another try, but it was just my first impression that it was written in a "too-accessible" manner, I guess... a bit entry-level (which is good that he's writing that way, since many people do want that), but again that was my first impression. Maybe I will go with both the Nhat Hanh and the Wahula book, just to have perspectives from two branches of Buddhism.
I know I'm a bit late to the party here, but as a Buddhist I feel compelled to add my 2 cents. I add them in favor of The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings. I have read about six books by Thich Nhat Hahn, and I definitely agree that they are highly accessible. But I think that actually speaks to a strength of Buddhism itself.

In my view, the teachings of the Buddha (the Dharma) are intuitive. When reading I often find myself saying, "Of course that is the case." But with a little mindfulness, I find that I'm not living as if it's of course the case. Understanding the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path is not difficult, it's natural, it's obvious. What's hard is living it. What's hard is looking inside at the deepest darkest recesses of ourselves and accepting, embracing, and transforming them.

With that said, everyone's path is different. Each person can approach the Dharma in his or her way. The books that speak to me are not neccessarily going to be the books that speak to you. Explore around a bit. Look to a multitude of authors until you find one that makes the Dharma blossum like that infamous lotus flower before you. Then branch out from there.

Remember, "There are many paths to the top of Mt. Fuji."
__________________
"If I cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go!"
- Mark Twain
CoachAlan is offline  
Old 06-23-2006, 10:07 AM   #24 (permalink)
Tilted
 
Location: Rhode Island
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobophil
the basic idea of Buddhism is really cool. I like it. If i wasn't Roman Catholic, i would totally be Buddhist. Dharma and Karma, and the big belly rubbing. *idiotic giggling*
Actually the big belly rubbing has nothing to do with Buddhism and you can be Roman Catholic and Buddhist. You can be Muslim and Buddhist. Or agnostic and Buddhist. Or Satanist and Buddhist. The point is, Buddhism is a godless religion, a philosphy if you will. You can practice Buddhism.

Anyway...

If you are looking for light reading and a good overview there is the ever popular Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism. It was one of the first books on the subject I read, and it helped a lot.
water_bug is offline  
Old 06-27-2006, 04:41 AM   #25 (permalink)
A Storm Is Coming
 
thingstodo's Avatar
 
Location: The Great White North
Here's a great site. They also have a magazine by the same name...and it's very good.

http://www.tricycle.com/
__________________
If you're wringing your hands you can't roll up your shirt sleeves.

Stangers have the best candy.
thingstodo is offline  
Old 07-01-2006, 03:45 PM   #26 (permalink)
change is hard.
 
thespian86's Avatar
 
Location: the green room.
Began reading some information on the teachings and I am extremely interested. Perhaps not to become a full time practitioner but atleast to keep going. but my question is, I'm unaware of any temple in my city. What then?
__________________
EX: Whats new?
ME: I officially love coffee more then you now.
EX: uh...
ME: So, not much.
thespian86 is offline  
Old 07-01-2006, 06:59 PM   #27 (permalink)
has all her shots.
 
mixedmedia's Avatar
 
Location: Florida
My favorite Buddhist authors.....these are all good primers.

Robert Thurman....

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006...lance&n=283155


Alan Watts.....

(this book literally changed my life)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/039...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/037...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157...lance&n=283155


Other good books.....

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/086...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/046...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076...lance&n=283155

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157...lance&n=283155


Other good Buddhist teachers to read up on....

http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/vctr/index.html


http://www.plumvillage.org/


http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/


Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Thomas Cleary

D.T. Suzuki


The best way to find Buddhist books that suit you is to just go to the bookstore and sit and read them. There are many, many authors, traditions, styles, and levels of understanding to choose from. The publisher Shambala publishes many titles for the beginner.
mixedmedia is offline  
Old 07-02-2006, 11:16 AM   #28 (permalink)
Nothing
 
tisonlyi's Avatar
 
What is this 'Bhuddism' of which you speak?



...and I can't BELIEVE *cough* that D.T. Suzuki is last on that list. Even an unordered list.

*breathes hard*

EDIT:

For those of you who love the work of Alan Watts - without developing an attachment of course - then you could do worse than follow this link.

Alan Watts Audio Book Bittorents on Mininova
__________________
"I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." - Winston Churchill, 1937 --{ORLY?}--

Last edited by tisonlyi; 07-02-2006 at 11:23 AM.. Reason: Addition of link
tisonlyi is offline  
Old 07-02-2006, 12:07 PM   #29 (permalink)
has all her shots.
 
mixedmedia's Avatar
 
Location: Florida
, heh heh ......just not so well read on Zen Buddhism....no slight to Suzuki
mixedmedia is offline  
Old 07-02-2006, 02:32 PM   #30 (permalink)
Psycho
 
CoachAlan's Avatar
 
Location: Las Vegas
Quote:
Originally Posted by punkmusicfan21
Began reading some information on the teachings and I am extremely interested. Perhaps not to become a full time practitioner but atleast to keep going. but my question is, I'm unaware of any temple in my city. What then?
It's possible to "keep going" quite far in Buddhism without the formal training provided by a teacher. Understand that there are many paths in Buddhism, and that even if there were a sangha in your area, their path may not be the one that is suited to you.

I'd recommend you keep reading and learning. If you have questions, you can certainly bring them here. There are apparently a few of us Buddhists on the TFP. Eventually, as I discussed in an earlier post, the things you're learning will force you to start looking in, and that's when the real progress begins. No temple is needed for that.

---------------
A Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and asks the vendor, "Can you make me one with everything?"
__________________
"If I cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go!"
- Mark Twain
CoachAlan is offline  
Old 07-05-2006, 10:13 AM   #31 (permalink)
Upright
 
Location: Tampa, FL/ In the axis
Also steppenwolf by herman hesse. Many of his works are enlighening; not necessarily about Buddhism, but about finding one's self.
__________________
"If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."
-Crosby Stills Nash and Young
PetroSketro is offline  
Old 07-06-2006, 10:20 AM   #32 (permalink)
Addict
 
ktspktsp's Avatar
 
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
EDIT: Sorry all, this is ABAYA posting. I haven't made this mistake in a while, mostly because ktspktsp and I had different forum skins and we knew who was who. But since the new version we haven't switched back. Sorry again; feel free to move/delete/rename.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachAlan
Eventually, as I discussed in an earlier post, the things you're learning will force you to start looking in, and that's when the real progress begins. No temple is needed for that.
Very refreshing to hear this... and that's what I love about Buddhism. Thanks for the reminder.

Of course, my mother is Thai and I spent a lot of time in Theravada temples around our area when I was a kid, so I do feel at home in them... perhaps even moreso than in a Christian church (where I spent my teen years). I think that one thing the temple is good for is community... having a body of people who share similar beliefs. I've seen the ways in which my mother and her family have benefited from the structure and community in the local temple, and I respect that.

Then again, my kind of community is a diverse one, with people from all different backgrounds/religions/philosophies, so TFP is more of a "temple" for me than any building could be.

Last edited by ktspktsp; 07-06-2006 at 10:29 AM..
ktspktsp is offline  
Old 07-06-2006, 04:57 PM   #33 (permalink)
Psycho
 
CoachAlan's Avatar
 
Location: Las Vegas
And on that note, I've got to log off the TFP to head to a Buddhism meetup right here in Vegas. Maybe there is one in your area, and you just don't know about it. I was surprised to learn that Vegas has quite a few sanghas and temples. Try Meetup.com or a similar site and you may be pleasantly surprised. I agree with you, by the way. While a sangha may not be required, it certainly does help.
__________________
"If I cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go!"
- Mark Twain
CoachAlan is offline  
Old 08-23-2006, 11:06 PM   #34 (permalink)
Artist of Life
 
Ch'i's Avatar
 
I don't remember where I got this from, but it's a really great summary of buddhism and its different sects. I found it helpful, hope you do too.


Quote:
Philosophy of Shaolin

The Shaolin/Sil Lum sect is a branch of the Buddhist school known as Ch'an (the equivalent in Japan is Zen; the Shaolin-descended school of martial arts and philosophy in Japan is "Shorinji Zen"). Unlike most monotheistic Occidental religions that supplanted each other as Europe became "civilized," many Asian religions and philosophies resulted in amalgamations. Hence, over time, the Ch'an sect became a complex mixture of Buddhist and Taoist concepts. This first section reviews the Ch'an philosophy-base as it existed from about 1860 until recently. Below are additional sections about slightly "purer" forms of root Taoism and Buddhism.

One further note of importance: most Asian belief systems are represented by both a religious and a non-religious form. Religious aspects are those that adhere to belief in deities, supernatural occurrences, and some distinct model for an after-life. In contrast, the non-religious (we term these "philosophical" for simplicity) aspects do not concern themselves with deities, magic, or "unknowable" knowledge. It is the latter aspect of both Buddhism and Taoism that sets Ch'an apart as a distinct entity.

Taoism

There are primarily 2 sects of Taoism: the philosophical and religious sects, similar to the broad divisions seen in Buddhism. They both studied nature, but for different reasons. The philosophical Taoists, who saw the teachings of Tao as a guide for life that is essentially deity-independent, studied nature to look for harmony. The religious Taoists, who believed strongly in a pantheon of greater and lesser gods, studied it to look for ways to change the course of nature (alchemy), including to prolong life. This latter seems particularly difficult to understand because altering nature is moving against the flow.

The philosophical school of Taoism has its roots in the fifth century B.C.E. writings ascribed to Lao Tzu, a buraucrat who spurned the world to find bliss. According to legend, he was recognized as he left the kingdom, where the border guard requested Lao Tzu write down the essence of his wisdom.  The resulting book is known as the Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way -  (that of course is legend, and Lau Tsu maynever in fact have existed as such). In essence, the knowable universe is composed of opposite components, whether physical (hard/soft; dark/light), moral (good/bad), or biological (male/female), which may be classed as either YANG (pronounced "yong") or YIN. When combined, existence is produced, and is manifest as TAO. Neither yin nor yang can exist independently (ergo the fallacy of "yin" or "yang" styles). The symbol of Tao is the "fish symbol" within which are two small dots (yin in the yang section, yang in the yin section), and around which are a pair of arrows, symbolizing dynamic interaction. The arrows have often been removed in contemporary motifs, but were popularized again when used by Bruce Lee in his Jeet Kune Do emblem.

The philosophical Taoists are largely atheistic, looking to nature for the secrets to harmony and bliss. As a result, Taoist martial artists mimicked animals in their quest for martial arts techniques, and many styles, including mantis, snake, and some tiger kung fu, show distinct patterns of nature mimicry. However, the theistic sects of Taoists believed that by understanding the harmony of nature, you could alter nature. In addition to alchemy, theistic Taoists developed complicated schools of ceremonial magic, and developed the martial arts style of Pakua.

The Taoists had their own temples and had their own system of martial arts (Hsing-I, Pakua). Emphasis was on internal styles. T'ai Chi Ch'uan (="supreme, ultimate fist;" a rather interesting, if redundant, use of superlatives), often attributed to Taoism, had a slightly different origin. It was designed to be a martial art for soldiers. It is believed to be around 1200 years old.

While both Taoists and Buddhists understood and studied the concepts of duality in nature, the Taoist was more focused on the differences of Yin and Yang, while the Buddhist was more interested in the state of dynamic harmony of the two (ironically, Buddhists focused on Tao rather than its parts). Taoist philosophy is concerned with the intrinsic nature of Yin-ness and Yang-ness, readily seen when studying Taoist medicine or magic, for example. It is a Taoist stance to look at "Yin" versus "Yang" techniques, "Hard" versus "Soft" styles. (See also Buddhism.)

Buddhism

Conventional

There are essentially 3 schools of Buddhism:
• Low Path
• Middle Path
• High Path

The low path was the path of the common man, the life of one unaware or unprepared to develop his spiritual self. The worker who struggles merely to survive is not seen as low or lowly, but as one not yet awake enough to see beyond the immediate needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

The high path is the religious sect which combined the Indian pantheon of gods and goddesses with any existing local pantheon (e.g. the Bon in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism). This path tries to incorporate the living body with a sense of its god-self, to awaken the spiritual or divine from within.

The middle path is also called Mahayana. It is a belief that we live in the here and now and should act and think accordingly. Mahayana is centered on the basic understandings of life as revealed by Gautama, the first Buddha. These teachings include the Four Noble Truths about life. The first truth is that there is pain, suffering, old age, and death in life. These transient factors affect us all, and are part of the reality that defines life. The second truth states that desire for wealth, health, love, money, and life all cause suffering. This is because we cannot have everything we want, and denial is a source of pain. The third truth simply states that extinction of desire ceases pain and suffering; killing the ego releases one from wants. The fourth truth says that adherence to the Eight-Fold Path is the route to the extinction of desire.

The Eight-Fold Path is given here:

1. Right Views: ask yourself "why do I do what I do?" Examine your motives, your goals. No action should be mindless; a spiritual person knows why he acts.

2. Right Resolve: are you prepared for the task at hand? What are your preparations of thought, speech, motivation? Is the task at hand worthy of your time and effort?

3. Right Speech: words are powerful; do you use them wisely? Careless words may hurt others, open yourself to attack. The U.S. Navy was not joking when, in World War II, it placed posters on ships and in bases proclaiming "loose lips sink ships." Buddhists are aware of the power of words and the thought-entities they can invoke (more on this in a later addition).

4. Right Action: once you decide on a task, is your procedure well-thought out, or is it hap-hazard? If you wish to become an M.D., you must gain admittance to a medical school. Each step leading to that must be precise. One does not enter medical school directly from a manager's position at True-Value Hardware (but a hardware worker MAY become an M.D. if he makes the appropriate actions).

5. Right Livelihood: Buddhists believe that work is a manifestation of spiritual development. Enlightenment is difficult to achieve if you are in the wrong occupation for you, i.e., a vegetarian may find extreme moral difficulty working as a butcher. The choice of career is important, and Buddhists believe that the choice must come from within, not from "following in the family footsteps"--that is, unless you truly find fulfillment in that business. To a Buddhist, a large part of your physical self IS what you do.

6. Right Effort: having embarked on a path, are you giving the journey the logistical and emotional support it needs to be accomplished. Buddhism frowns on half-hearted efforts.

7. Right Attention: are you giving enough attention to yourself, to gauge your moods and relationships to be sure you are still on the right path for you? If you cannot hear yourself, how well can you hear others?

8. Right Meditation: have you the discipline to fully focus on the task at hand? (We enjoyed Yoda's comment in "The Empire Strikes Back" about Luke: "Never his mind on where he is!) You need not be single-minded; life is, after all, made of many experiences and relationships. But the task at hand deserves your full mindfulness, or it is unimportant. Can you tell which?

Above all, the Buddha left his disciples (n.b., many were women) with a last lesson that underscores all his teachings. When asked by one what was the TRUE way to enlightenment, the Buddha replied, "Be your own light, your own refuge. Believe only that which you test for yourself. Do not accept authority merely because it comes from a great man, or is written in a sacred book, for truth is different for each man and woman." In short, Buddhism rejects the blind obedience of the "faithful," and prefers its practitioners to know life from experiencing it in all its glory and despair.

Chan

Perhaps most glaringly absent in the study of Shaolin has been the philosophy of this unique sect of non-secular Buddhism. Though Shaolin has become famous for the kung fu styles and abilities of its monks, the foundation and spirit of the Order are actually much more centered in the Buddhist teachings of an Indian teacher named Bodhidharma, or, to the Chinese, Tamo (440?-528 AD). Like most spiritual masters, Tamo left few direct writings of his interpretation of the Dharma (or principles) of Buddhism, but through written and oral history, Shaolin have maintained his legacy. This is the first lesson in the Shaolin interpretation of its spiritual roots and principles that we shall present.

A translation of his major teachings has been published (The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma) in which the author wonders at why these basic teachings have not been more widely circulated. We concur with this question, and suggest the following possible reasons:

First, Tamo's message is simple: The mind is the Buddha. Tamo rephrases the four noble truths and eightfold path as the core reality to seekers of enlightenment--simple enough concepts--but places the entirety of becoming (or rather recognizing the state of being) enlightened on the individual. In a sweeping gesture he urges self-motivation, self-awareness, and self-recognition at the expense of hierarchical "orders" of monks and token ceremonies. Cut the extraneous, he goads, ignore illusions, and go for the core which is already there. Certainly such a philosophy is anathema to practices that perpetuate the illusion that someone else can enlighten you.Second, Tamo left the disciple considerable latitude in how to live, as did Shakyamuni himself. He did not require monks to be celibate, to fast, or perform rites of asceticism, nor was the "priesthood" limited to males. Quite the contrary, he embraced the human condition as the starting point from which all "higher" revelations would spring. Shaolin remains unique in allowing its members this degree of freedom (and thus being more like Methodist ministers than Catholic priests). In Tamo's message of simplicity (but not specifically denial), he limits the more embellished aspects of sectarian religious practice and organization.

Finally, it could be suggested that Tamo's influence has been largely circumvented by the plethora of Buddhist scriptures, scholars, and sects. As with most original thinkers, there is more commentary written about him than by him, and the same can be said of interpretations and critiques of his teachings.

That said, we now offer an annotated review of Tamo's teachings as embraced by the Shaolin Order for during its 1500-year history. Tamo's words are in italics and the editorial notes are in standard text. Enjoy and be free!

The Outline of Practice

There are many roads that lead to the Way, but these contain but two common features: recognition and practice. By recognition is meant that meditation reveals the truth that all living things share a common nature, a nature concealed by the veils of illusion.

By "many roads," Tamo points out that enlightenment is reached by different souls in different ways; these may include the various seated and moving meditations. Such practices are termed yogas, kung fu, and sudden self-realization. However, all of the possible routes share the common themes of recognition of self-awareness, and practice of the Dharma--the Eightfold Path-- that allows enlightenment (covered later in this document). Recognition of the fact that all of life is connected spiritually is essential to reaching self-awareness.

Those who shun illusion for reality, who meditate on walls and the loss of self and other, on the unity of mortal and sage, and are undeterred by written holy words are in accord with the faculty of reason. Lacking motion and effort, they embrace reason.

Reality and what appears as reality are difficult to separate, especially if one looks to outside sources (which may themselves be illusions). Wall meditation is the inward focus of the mind on itself, done in peaceful surroundings. Such a mind must cut through illusion and realize that duality is also an illusion. We are mortal and sage; we are self and all else. Once this reality is seen, we become reason itself.

By practice it is meant the participation and acceptance of the Four Noble Truths: suffering, adapting, non-attachment, and practicing the Dharma. First comes suffering. When followers of the Way suffer, they should recall that in the countless previous incarnations they have been deterred from the path, sometimes becoming trivial and angry even without cause. The suffering in this life is a punishment, but also an opportunity to exercise what I have learned from past lives. Men and gods are equally unable to see where a seed may bear fruit. I accept this suffering as a challenge and with an open heart. In recognizing suffering, you enter onto the path to the Way.

This is a lesson in karma1, that we are ultimately responsible for our actions (also called the Law of Cause and Effect). If we can learn from a punishment and attain true rehabilitation, we rejoin the path and move ahead. Because the First Noble Truth declares "there is suffering in life," an adept is expected to know suffering as both a condition of being alive and as a disease that can be treated.

Second, adapt to your conditions. Mortals are ruled by their surroundings, not by themselves. All we experience depends upon surroundings. If we reap a reward or great boon, it is the fruit of a seed we planted long ago. Eventually, it will end. Do not delight in these boons, for what is the point? In a mind unmoved by reward and setback, the journey on the path continues.

In essence, Tamo says that we shall all have good days and bad days, the "goodness" and "badness" depending on circumstances or viewpoint. Accept what comes, knowing that both good and bad will pass, and stay focused on the important points of the Dharma.

Third, seek no attachments. Mortals delude themselves. They seek to possess things, always searching for something. But enlightened ones wake up and choose reason over habit. They focus on the Way and their bodies follow them through each season. The world offers only emptiness, with nothing worth desiring. Disaster and Prosperity constantly trade places. To live in the three realms is to stay in a house on fire. To have a body is to experience suffering. Does any body have peace? Those who see past illusion are detached, and neither imagine nor seek. The sutras2 teach that to seek is to suffer, to seek not is to have bliss. In not seeking, you follow the path.

Buddhism is notorious for its non-attachment3. Suffering is the disease that binds us to rebirth, and attachment--especially for life--is the tether that keeps us suffering. We all experience ups and down, and these are transitory. To attach to any feeling is to anchor in the fleeting moment that quickly becomes the past. Accept what comes, even enjoy (or loathe) it, then let it go. This is how to non-seek.

Fourth, practice the Dharma, the reality teaching all spirits are pure. All illusion is dropped. Duality does not exist. Subject and object do not exist. The sacred texts say the Dharma has no being because it is free from the attachment to being; the Dharma has no self because it is free from the attachment to self. Those who understand this truth wisely practice the path. They know that the things that are real do not include greed and envy, and give themselves with their bodies, minds, and spirits. They share material things in charity, with gladness, with no vanity or thought of giver or taker of the gift. In this way they teach others without becoming attached. This allows them to help others see and enjoy the path to enlightenment.

This passage contains several important concepts, and it would have been nice of Tamo to elaborate more fully. The practice of Dharma refers to following Buddhism's Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. The Path is central to all sects of Buddhism, though there are varying interpretations of its meanings. The central elements are: right views, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right devotion, right mindfulness, and right meditation. Volumes have been written about these concepts, and so we shall not pursue them further here at this time.

Buddhism appears in conflict with many other philosophically based religions in denying the duality of the universe. For example, many schools teach the dual nature of reality as positive/negative, hot/cold, male/female, and so on. Buddhism teaches that duality is an illusion. Reality may manifest positive/negative/neutral, hot/warm/cool/cold, or male/female/sexless (as in many microorganisms). Consider the cliché "fight or flight." The implication is duality, either run or attack. A third possibility is also readily apparent: freeze and do nothing. Not all possibilities are dual or triple in nature, so Buddhism seeks to free us from seeing the world through the blinders of a philosophical model.

The teachings also include room for sharing, mainly in efforts to help other souls see the possibility of enlightenment. Actions taken to help such souls are seen as highly important to followers of the path. Indeed, those who become enlightened and later choose to undergo another rebirth into this world are seen as "saints," forgoing Nirvana to help others escape rebirth. Such noble souls are called Bodhisattvas.

1 Karma is a very specific term in Asian thought, and is a measure of debt or accumulation that impedes the advancement of the spirit to a higher level. There is no such thing as "good" karma in Asia; one either acquires karma (not good) or eliminates it (the goal of meditation).

2 Sutra is an Indian word for sacred texts. From the word meaning a string, it became the string of words of holy lessons.

3 There is a logical discordance in Buddhist practice: the seeking to not-seek. More will be said about this in later annotations, but for now consider Tamo's core point as follows: seeking and non-seeking are both desires (and hence causes of suffering). By neither seeking nor not-seeking, one reaches a state of "mindless bliss, or the "one-point."
Ch'i is offline  
Old 09-08-2006, 07:12 PM   #35 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
Baraka_Guru's Avatar
 
Super Moderator
Location: East-central Canada
A good introduction to Buddhist ethics and beliefs can be found in the Dhammapada ("path of the Dharma"). Look for a translation with good explanatory notes as the translations aren't always clear due to idioms and other cultural linguistics. Thomas Cleary's is good.

This book provided me with a useful foundation.
__________________
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
Baraka_Guru is offline  
Old 09-16-2006, 06:01 PM   #36 (permalink)
Crazy
 
mixedsubstance's Avatar
 
Location: Where the wild things are.
This is my ex's uncle- he wrote a book called Being Buddha on Broadway....

Subtle Mind
__________________
Well, isn't that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?!?

*Without energy, there would be nothing.*
mixedsubstance is offline  
Old 10-05-2006, 03:44 PM   #37 (permalink)
Loser
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobophil
the basic idea of Buddhism is really cool. I like it. If i wasn't Roman Catholic, i would totally be Buddhist. Dharma and Karma, and the big belly rubbing. *idiotic giggling*
Actually the truth is, thought many follow buddhism like a religion, it is really more of a philosophy then a religion. Tibetan buddhism is a good bit different actually then the three main schools of buddhism, and is not considered to be as valid a path of buddhism. Many consider it a bastardized form of buddhism really, and in many ways I'd have to agree. Anyhow, follow a philosophy, not a religion, you'll be much better off. Oh, and you can be a christian and an adherant of buddhism as well, just stop being so narrow minded and needing to label yourself as this or that, it's a philosophy, that just ain't arrogant enough in it's original form to call itself universal truth
Kensei is offline  
Old 10-12-2006, 09:31 AM   #38 (permalink)
Psycho
 
MuadDib's Avatar
 
I didn't read all the previous posts, but I've found 'The Three Pillars of Zen' to be the best general primer. I think its regarded as *the* introduction book.
__________________
"The courts that first rode the warhorse of virtual representation into battle on the res judicata front invested their steed with near-magical properties." ~27 F.3d 751
MuadDib is offline  
Old 10-13-2006, 05:21 PM   #39 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
Baraka_Guru's Avatar
 
Super Moderator
Location: East-central Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuadDib
I didn't read all the previous posts, but I've found 'The Three Pillars of Zen' to be the best general primer. I think its regarded as *the* introduction book.
I'm not familiar with this book, but it should be noted that Zen is a particular school of buddhism and differs slightly from other schools in its approach.

This may be a fine book, but you ultimately want to find materials that teach the fundamental elements of Buddhist philosophy, including the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, pratitya samutpada, the five precepts, the five skandhas, and the three dharma seals: non-self, impermanence, and dukkha.

I would say that the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, in addition to the three dharma seals, are especially crucial to even a completely secular approach to buddhism. I've recommended the Dhammapada because these are all covered in the very teachings of Gautama Buddha himself. It cuts to the source.

It will, however, be entirely beneficial to also get a book that discusses these concepts in detail, which is where a book such as The Three Pillars of Zen likely comes in.
__________________
Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
Baraka_Guru is offline  
 

Tags
buddhism

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:57 AM.

Tilted Forum Project

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
© 2002-2012 Tilted Forum Project

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360