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Buddhism Plain and Simple Paperback – December 29, 1998
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Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Of all that I've read [and I've read them all] "Buddhism: Plain and Simple" stands out from the rest. Steve Hagen succeeds in one of the hardest tasks in writing: being straightforward without being dull; being concise without seeming frugal. No essential point of Buddhism is left uncovered, yet the author never pontificates or short-changes the reader.
The book is a gem of both inspiration and practicality. It takes a subject that often seems far too idealistic and places it at a level that resonates with the daily Western experience of life. It is a "quick read" without ever coming off as "Buddhism For Dummies." All this and at a price that will make it a convenient and affordable present for all those friends that have so often asked us, "what the heck is Buddhism?"
Find it, read it and buy another copy for someone you love. Better yet, give it to someone you don't love. It might just change their life.
the wrong reasons -- to control my emotions, to sort out moral dilemmas, and to find peace of mind. Through Buddhism, I've made great progress in all those areas by simply eliminating them as goals and just experiencing life moment by moment. This may sound odd if you haven't practiced Buddhism, but you will quickly appreciate this lesson after reading Hagen's book. You will discover that the practice of Buddhism does not involve traveling to the Himalayas or meditating in the forest. You will learn that you don't have to abandon your religion or your friends or your job. The word Buddhism stems from the Sanskrit word for Buddha, the awakened one. Buddhism is simply the path of awakening. This book is a wonderful guide on that path. You will not be the same after reading it.
Steve Hagen prefers to call Buddhism "the buddha-dharma." He states that "It's a process, an awareness, an openness, a spirit of inquiry -- not a belief system, or even (as we normally understand it) a religion. It is more accurate to call it 'the teaching of the awakened,' or the buddha-dharma."
We start by learning the four truths: (1) life involves suffering; (2) this suffering arises within us; (3) we can end the most profound and existential forms of suffering; and (4) the way we end this suffering is by following the eightfold path. The existential angst we experience from the unanswered question of what life is about is at the heart of our suffering. The buddha-dharma is like a journey. By following the middle way we can reach enlightenment and nirvana.
There are three kinds of suffering, or duhkha: (1) pain, both physical and mental; (2) change; and (3) being. Our goal is to just see. We must awaken from our confusion. We need to see reality for what it is.
The eightfold path is a concrete way for us to practice bringing about the cessation of duhkha. The eight aspects of this path are right view, right intention, right speech, right action , right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.
Nothing in this book is offered as something you are to believe. Somehow through his life of contemplation the Buddha was able to formulate these notions. They are simply a guide. The Buddha can only point the way. It is left for each one of us to find the way for ourselves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read. Lots of insight into the Buddhist perspective. Author does a good job conveying his message.Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
There's one point in the book where he has you look at a cryptic image. I understand what he was going for, but the image looks like crap to begin with. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Skyler T. Madison
Very good introduction to Buddhism (not a religion by the way, its a way of living!) and highly recommended for anyone looking to put suffering in its place.Published 21 days ago by Jeffrey D. Keiffer
I got to page 27 and I'm done. If this has anything to do with Buddhism I would be shocked and severely disappointed. Complete waste of time. Read morePublished 27 days ago by G. Cantor
Very concise and direct ... As stated in book title ... A reading to start the journey to Buddhism !Published 1 month ago by Sandro Furuie
Such a simple book. I read and re-read this book whenever I "forget".Published 1 month ago by Sean P. Moran