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One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism Paperback – July 8, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Insight Meditation cofounder Joseph Goldstein ponders the possibility that all Buddhist teachings could be distilled into One Dharma. As Buddhism continues to grow in the West, Goldstein shows us the value of uniting this movement rather than allowing it to become fractured by its subtle differences. He does not advocate a watering down or mixing up of the various traditions. Rather, "We can practice each of them in its own integrity and come to a genuine depth of understanding." Readers who are wary of a scholarly analysis of Buddhist nuances need not worry. Goldstein (The Experience of Insight) relies on personal anecdotes and accessible language to explore the common themes in all Buddhist teachings. Though purists will no doubt quibble, Goldstein believes that following one Dharma is the way the West will be won, weaving together the methods of mindfulness, the motivation of compassion, and the liberating wisdom of nonclinging. "These three pillars--mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom--are not Indian or Burmese, Japanese or Tibetan; they are qualities in our own minds." --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Separated by time and space, the several traditions of Buddhism and their many internal variations grew from the Buddha's original teachings into disparate systems of practice on the path to liberation. Having himself confronted these discrepancies, Goldstein, a highly respected teacher of meditation, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, and widely read coauthor (with Jack Kornfield) of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and The Path of Insight Meditation, seeks here to define the One Dharma "the essential point common to all the teachings." To this end, he reviews the development of Buddhist traditions and explores various meanings of nirvana, liberation, lovingkindness, and other concepts as viewed primarily from Theravada, Tibetan, and Zen perspectives. Novices to Buddhist literature will find these teachings made accessible by a clear, simple eloquence and enlivened by anecdotes from Goldstein's personal spiritual journey. More experienced seekers will discover an excellent overview and a useful lead-in to David Brazier's The New Buddhism. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Asheville
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062517015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062517012
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Joseph Goldstein has written an ambitious, short book which attempts to synthesize the wisdom and teachings of various Buddhist traditions and which offers thoughts on the possible future couse of Buddhism in the West. The book is also a practitioner's guide and a manual for those setting out on a Buddhist practice.
Each of the components of this book is difficult and important. Joseph Goldstein has valuable things to teach and suggest to the reader about the many questions raised in the book. But I found that the book had a certain lack of focus from trying to do too many things in too brief a compass.
Specifically, Mr. Goldstein's discussion of meditation practice and of Buddhist moraliity was very well put. It cannot be heard often enough, particularly for those readers new to Buddhism. But the discussion of meditation practice, for me, was not well integrated with the other themes of the book -- an attempt to show what various Buddhist teachings prevalent in the United States have in common and to show how Buddhism may develop in the United States.
The book opens with an eloquent discussion of the growing interest by many people of Buddhism in the United States. It discusses as well the three traditions which probably have received most attention in the West: Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhism, although Mr. Goldstein is fully aware that there are other traditions as well. With the transmission of the Dharma to the United States, Mr. Goldstein asks what these traditions have in common and how the Westerner is to learn to practice. He offers many stories from his own experience, beginning with his practice in Theravada Buddhism which gradually expanded to an interest in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jim Willems on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
To respect and understand this book, one needs to understand something of the author. Since the 1960's Joseph Goldstein has been practicing Buddhist meditation. His goal with the Dharma is alleviate suffering in himself and in others. He does not believe he will write the seminal book on Buddhist theory or the perfect koan or answer everyone's questions about the Dharma. However, if you are a serious seeker and are attempting to understand something about this wonderful phenomenon Buddhism, which is growing so rapidly in the United States, this book will help you a lot. It is a beginner book. Yet, it is also a book which will give long time practioners a chance to reflect about the meaning of their practice and the nature of the Dharma.
Over ten years ago, I, suffering from a deeply painful and debilitating bone disease, came to Joseph to find a way to live with severe physical pain. Joseph helped me with compassion, with joy, and with humility. He will always remain my core teacher.
Reading the other reviews, I can say, you will get what you look for. If you are look for scintillating Zen wit, try Genpo Merzel Roshi (a living zen master), for philosophical wisdom, try Trungpa Rinpoche. If you are looking for a teacher who will give you a framework from which to work while you sit on the pillow, you can not do better than Joseph Goldstein.
Good luck, and, please, persevere. The world needs the merit of your meditation practice.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was knocked out by One Dharma. Mostly, as a relatively fledgling Buddhist, I was thankful to have a book that explained, in The-Precisely-Right Language, what the Dharma was and why it might be so important to me - so that this could be explained to my loved ones, and also, reiterated for myself! This quality of the book made the it immensely useful for going deeper into certain concepts with my Buddhist-curious (and very supportive) wife, and it was also a joy to read - beautifully rendered, and often very funny. The book helped my wife to understand key Buddhist concepts, and it helped me too, by putting elements of my practice into terms that made me engage them with a new clarity and focus. It's been my experience that it's rare for a book to speak so clearly to a self-identified Buddhist and also to someone who is not. 'One Dharma' does just that. Also: I have mentioned the book's clarity and humor - I want to mention, too, the writing, which is flows with incredible ease. This is a VERY enjoyable read!
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56 of 70 people found the following review helpful By "nyonpa" on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Joseph Goldstein's latest book is basically a very good synopsis of his personal journey in the Buddha-Dharma and in his own practice. It reiterates many of the themes and principles that he has discussed in previous books and introduces some relatively new ones (e.g., relating to Tibetan Dzogchen, for example). For someone new to Buddhism, this might be a helpful or even an inspiring book. More seasoned students might detect, as I did, a subtle uncurrent of ideological assumptions.
The idea of "One Dharma", as Goldstein presents it, is not entirely coherent.
For one, the suggestion that there is "One Dharma" emerging in the West is at odds with Goldstein's stated assumption that the different traditions of Dharma will continue to exist distinctly, even in the West. If that is so, then there are Many Dharmas. Historically there have been many cultures and many different kinds of people, and for that reason, the historical existence of Many Dharmas has been a good thing. The West is multicultural so one would expect and hope to see Many Dharmas flourishing here.
Nobody can argue convincingly that Buddhism will not evolve and adapt in the West. Likewise, it seems obvious that cross-fertilization of traditions is, to some extent, a sign of Buddhism's adaptability and relevance. However the idea that "One Dharma" is emerging and that "One Dharma" is a leitmotiv of "Western Buddhism" seems naively idealistic.
The idea of "One Vehicle" as taught in the Lotus Sutra is the most obvious doctrinal precedent for Mr. Goldstein's basic idea. In spite of the Lotus Sutra's apocalyptic message, many Dharmas continue to flourish down to the present era.
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