An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
I am pleased to announce the release of the Everything Essential Buddhism Book. This book is an abridgment of the popular Everything Guide to Buddhism, 2nd Edition.
As the name implies, this book is a leaner, more essential, treatment of the topic and it can serve as an accessible introduction to the teachings, principles, and practices associated with Buddhism.
Here is an excerpt from the introduction:
Buddhism traces its roots back to the historical Buddha, a yogi who lived more than 2,500 years ago in northern India. The Buddha discovered a way to live that radically transformed people’s lives, starting with his own. His revolutionary insights have withstood the test of time, and his methods can still transform lives as they did in ancient India. The Buddha taught mindfulness, kindness, and compassion. Buddhism, the family of religions that evolved from the Buddha’s teachings, is one of the great ethical systems that benefit humanity.
While Buddhism may be considered a nontheistic religion, it transcends religious belief into practical experience. You don’t believe in Buddhism; you practice Buddhism. In fact, you don’t even need to be a “Buddhist” to practice “Buddhism.” In one sense, all you have to do is sit down and meditate with openness, curiosity, and dedication.
I am most drawn now to a secular interpretation of the Buddha’s teachings. He was not out to found a religion. His goal was to ameliorate the woes of himself and the rest of the world. Because his insights and methods worked, he attracted a large following and the establishment of religions, doctrines, and hagiography were inevitable.
Nevertheless, today looking back we can go to the essential teachings that precede the proliferation of the Buddhist religions. We can find value in the psychology that he taught. All we really need to know about the Buddha’s wisdom are contained in the Four Noble Truths. These are enumerated in the book and are really the essence of this teachings. The irony of this essence is that there is no essence. We are all process, as I recently reminded.
I hope you’ll enjoy this read. It’s a good introduction to the variations of Buddha and Buddhism for beginners and a reminder of the teachings for those of you with experience, with my sometimes irreverent and always practical take on the subject. Order your copy through your independent bookseller below or get your copy from Amazon here.