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Buddhism for Beginners Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion; English Language edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559391537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559391535
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Chodron's plain English makes his beginner's guide nearly perfect for those new to Buddhism and those who simply want to learn more about one of the world's oldest, most misunderstood religions. In question-and-answer format, Chodron defines Buddhism's essence, which, in a nutshell, is to avoid harming others and help them as much as possible. He describes the goal of the Buddhist path and discusses the historical Buddha and his various manifestations. He answers some most-asked outsiders' questions concerning such matters as the best methods of meditation and how to define karma, and he clarifies Buddhist perspectives on modern issues, from euthanasia and abortion to the environment and animal rights. Clearly, succinctly, and without talking down to readers, Chodron strives throughout to bring people together and help them understand the tradition. To outsiders, Buddhism can seem cold and mysterious, but Chodron unravels some of its mysteries and helps dispel that perceived coldness. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“This book is written for people wanting to understand basic Buddhist principles and how to integrate them into their lives. . . . It will be of much benefit to its readers.”—H.H. the Dalai Lama

“Thubten Chodron has presented the Buddhist view on essential issues of spiritual development. . . . A tremendous resource for those interested in Buddhist practice.”—Karma Lekshe Tsomo, president of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women

“Chodron’s plain English makes her beginner’s guide nearly perfect for those new to Buddhism and those who simply want to learn more.”—Booklist


“A very compassionate book. Her approach is nonsectarian and emphasizes the basic unity found within Buddhism.”—Ryo Imamura, Jodo Shin priest and professor of psychology at Evergreen State College

“Her lucid, correct, clear, and convincing manner is highly commendable.”—Ven. Dr. Havanpola Ratanasara, College of Buddhist Studies, Los Angeles

“Ven. Thubten Chodron is especially skilled in presenting Buddhist philosophy and practices in ways that are easily accessible and practical for Buddhists who live in the Western world.”—Ven. Hung I Shih, abbot of Jade Buddha Temple in Houston

“This is the perfect gift for family and friends who wish to understand one’s engagement with Buddhism. Thubten Chodron combines several decades of traditional training in Tibetan Buddhism with western psychotherapeutic relevance. . . . That quality of integration is where the Venerable Thubten Chodron is such a powerful writer and teacher.”—Branches of Light


“Here is an excellent introduction to Buddhism. Most importantly, it offers good advice for anyone who wants to lead a more sane balanced and compassionate life.”—Bodhi Tree Book Review

More About the Author

Venerable Thubten Chodron has been a Buddhist nun since 1977 and has studied and practiced Buddhism under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and other Tibetan masters. She is the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey (www.sravasti.org), a Buddhist monastic community in Washington State, USA.

Ven. Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha's teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them to contemporary readers. She is well-known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. Active in interfaith dialogue, she also does Dharma outreach in prisons and teaches worldwide. Visit www.thubtenchodron.org to access archives of her extensive teachings, and www.youtube.com/user/sravastiabbey for daily Dharma talks.

"Venerable Thubten Chodron is someone whose life embodies the virtues of kindness, simplicity and clarity of vision, which lie at the heart of the Buddha's teaching. It is these perennial qualities that shine through her writings and touch the hearts of many readers all over the world." - Thupten Jinpa, author and translator for the Dalai Lama

Customer Reviews

This is an easy and enjoyable book to read.
Buster Paris
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Buddhism.
EmmiR5
This book is well written and very informative!
Roz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 132 people found the following review helpful By J. Wong on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was looking for a good beginner's book on Buddhism, and found it with this one. Thubten Chodron did an excellent job in teaching the basics of Buddhism, it's history, and the difference in interpretations by various nations. She breaks down the chapters into various topics, from "Meditation" to "Social Activism & Ethical Issues." Each chapter is composed of Q&A's, like "What is karma? How does it work?" After reading this book, I got a great idea of how Buddhists view their world. This book is rather brief (150 pages) but it accomplishes it's intended purpose well.
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75 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Venerable Thubten Chodron is a wonderful writer - she explains things simply and sometimes humorously, and always holds the reader's interest. If you are beginning to practice Buddhism or are contemplating doing so, this book is a great place to start. It is the perfect book to give to friends or family members who are not familiar with Buddhism but want to understand your newfound spirituality.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book after I finished a more scholarly book on Buddhism. It was quite refreshing to read "Buddhism For Beginners", as it is an easy read. The book is full of questions and answers from cover to cover. You can pick up the book, read it for an hour or so, or just read it for 5 minutes with ease. You can thumb through it looking for subjects that interest you, or you can go from cover to cover. Either way, it is a nicely written book, with clear and simple text. For one who actually wants to begin studying and practicing Buddhism I also suggest they read "Buddhism Plain and Simple" by Steven Hagen. These are both very good books!
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81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By SG101 on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for beginners with a little bit of knowledge about Buddhism already. If I knew nothing at all I think it would be very overwhelming because of the amount of information presented so quickly. It answers some great questions about the practice of Buddhism and I would certainly recommend it. My only advice is that if you do get overwhelmed and you really are just beginning, don't give up learning about Buddhism- it is a wonderful practice!
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Buster Paris on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Great Introduction to Buddhism
This book was written in response to many - "can I ask you a question about Buddhism?"
I really enjoyed the question and answer style that this is written in - for example in chapter one the question is asked - "What is the essence of Buddha's teachings?" and an excellent and easy to understand answer given. "What is the goal of the Buddhist path?" and again another easy to understand and terrific answer given etc -
These and other great questions throughout the book are questions that someone looking into Buddhism would be asking.
Some of the questions I hadn't really considered before, but was really glad they were asked and fully interested in the answers and learned new things.
This is an easy and enjoyable book to read. Great for the beginner or someone just curious about Buddhism. Great for someone further along the path to sit, smile and enjoy.
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72 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on March 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book grew out of a smaller work entitled "I Wonder Why;" it "is not designed to be a comprehensive introduction to Buddhism, but to clarify points, provide Buddhist perspectives on modern issues, and stimulate the curiosity and questioning minds of the readers" (p. 10). The author makes some profound statements about questions: p. 7: "In the beginning one should remain skeptical and rely on questioning and checking the teachings based on one's understanding" and p. 9: "I believe that spiritual practice is more about holding questions than finding answers. Seeking one correct answer often comes from a wish to make life-which is basically fluid-into something certain and fixed." The latter applies directly to Buddhism itself: p. 77-8: "As the Buddha's teachings spread from one country to another, they adapted to the culture and mentality of the people in each place without changing the essential meaning...The external forms and ways of doing things are not the Dharma." Thus, she differentiates between true practitioners and p. 118: "joss stick Buddhists." Needless to say, this book is for people truly interested in or at least honestly curious about Buddhism. The author corrects many incorrect views: p. 42: "There is nothing inherently wrong with the world; the real problem lies in our disturbing attitudes" and p. 63: to set reachable short-term goals as well as long-term resolve when purifying negative traits and actions. In addition to considerable information on helping the dying, a mantra to say when about to eat meat (p. 109: "Om Ahbirakay tsara hung" said 7 times & pray for animal to have fortunate rebirth), types of Buddhist nuns and robes, and especially children (p. 132: "When children see an adult sitting peacefully, they get the idea that they can as well" and p.Read more ›
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66 of 78 people found the following review helpful By klempk on June 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a really bad place to start for those new to Buddhism. The title should have been "Tibetan Buddhism for Beginners." There is so much emphasis on the very mystical, literal interpretation of reincarnation that is specific to the Tibetan tradition, and this is not a good way to start. Details such as "it takes 4 minutes for the transmigration of the soul... I don't know why, but it just does" (not a literal quote, but she basically says this), is really ridiculous.

A better place to start would be "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula or "What Makes you Not a Buddhist" by Jamyang Khyentse.
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