Resources for Beginners

A number of people who have joined Words of the Buddha are just beginning their exploration of Dharma. In Words of the Buddha we undertake this exploration slowly, layer by layer, topic by topic. After about a year one should have a broad, deep and integrated understanding of the Dhamma. However most people would like at least a broad, superficial and sketchy understanding before that. I would recommend one of the following books, which in your initial flash of enthusiasm you should be able to knock off in about a week.

Ven. Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught. Written in the 50’s by a Sinhalese monk, this is a remarkably popular book to this day. You can probably even find it at Half-Price Books.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness. Also by a Sinhalese monk, but turned American, this focuses on the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of practice.

Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism. By a British scholar of early Buddhism, this provides a well-rounded survey.

We meditate for 15 minutes at the beginning of each class. For those who would like some instruction I suggest coming to the Saturday morning beginners instruction at the Austin Zen Center or visiting me at the Sitagu monastery. The book on meditation is:

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English.

Bhante G., as he is called, is perhaps the most influential monk in America alongside Bhikkhu Bodhi.

 

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