From Publishers Weekly
It's hard to imagine that Buddha envisioned different schools to disseminate his teachings, but two great traditions have emerged: Mahayana (encompassing Tibetan and Zen Buddhism), growing north out of India, and Theravada or Vipassana, known in the West as Insight Meditation, which developed south and east of India. This good-hearted primer is a true beginner's guide to what it claims is "the fastest growing school of Buddhism in this country." The authors are well-qualified: Weisman taught at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. (the first and largest U.S. Vipassana retreat center), and Smith authored The Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism. The tone of the book matches the spirit of Insight Meditation in that it is less formal than Zen or Tibetan Buddhism and also more autocratic ("individual practice is founded on each person's self-inquiry into what works for them"). The first-person stories nicely support the more instructional, but not doctrinaire, how-to bulk of the text. Complete with a biography of the Buddha, a list of U.S. Insight Meditation centers, some core sacred texts and a glossary, this volume is the perfect starter kit for people curious about Buddhism, who may or may not adhere to another faith. For those who may not even know how to put their hands together in a pose of dedication to take the Three Refuges vows, this gentle manual provides loose soil where tender roots might take hold.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Weisman, founder of the Dhamma Dena Meditation Center, and Smith, the author on Buddhist subjects, offer a skillfully written book as a companion to Smith's Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism (LJ 3/1/00). This book addresses the practices of the Vipassana (Insight Meditation) tradition of Buddhism, and it not only treats sitting and walking meditation within that tradition rather fully but also reviews the basic tenets of Buddhism and provides guidance about selecting teachers and retreat centers. Highly recommended where interest in Eastern religion is strong.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.