Buddhism

2009 04 12
Recently read: Zen Meditation in Plain English


Posted by in: Books, Buddhism

John Daishin Buksbazen. Zen Meditation in Plain English

A beginner’s book about zazen in Zen Buddhism, the practice of “just sitting.” The book focuses on breathing meditation, and gives practical tips (with sketches to help) about posture, breathing, and dealing with various obstacles encountered in meditation. I found it among the most helpful books I’ve read on this subject. The book has very little to say about Buddhism as a philosophy, emphasizing that the practices of meditation described in the book are compatible with a number of different religious traditions, as well as with atheism.


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2009 04 10
Recently read: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction


Posted by in: Books, Buddhism

Damien Keown. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

Keown manages to pack quite a lot into this very short introduction. It’s been popular in the West to see in Buddhism a rational religious alternative that is compatible with a modern secular outlook. While acknowledging that there’s a lot in Buddhism and the Buddhist tradition that lends itself to this treatment, Keown emphasizes just how much of Buddhism this approach manages to sweep under the rug: reincarnation, a belief in spirits, miracles, charms, and so on. Buddhism has a number of schools, and a rich, complicated set of traditions associated with it. This book gives a nice sense of some of that variety.


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