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Basic Buddhist Concepts Paperback – December 15, 1989
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From Library Journal
This overview of Buddhism is similar to the Walpola Rahula title (below), but Misuno, a Buddhist scholar, gets a little more in-depth. For larger public and academic libraries.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Text: English, Japanese (translation)
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It is not a page-turner, however, and I found it very heavy going. After a lengthy chapter on the historical context of early Buddhism, Mizuno simply runs through the foundational tenets of Buddhism one after another, ending with a section on Buddhist ideals and the distinction between Theravadan ideals (expressed in the steps of the Eightfold Path, which are mainly personal) and Mahayana ideals (expressed in the Six Perfections, which are more socially oriented).
One of the aspects of the book that I found particularly difficult were the discussions of how X-concept was really an adaptation of Y-concept. The Eightfold Path and Six Perfections are a fairly simple example of this. Without going into detail, each of the Six Perfections can be mapped onto corresponding elements of the Eightfold Path. Mizuno's discussion of these correspondences is clear enough, but since it seems to happen with so many different concepts, the mind sometimes reels with the profusion of correspondences.
At any rate, a good book. I enjoyed the description of the Eightfold Path and its positive applications. The explanation of early Buddhism and the transition to sectarian Buddhism was also very useful.
While it is true that Mizuno focuses on the basics, I would not recommend this book to a beginner who wanted to get a basic understanding of the root concepts shared by all Buddhist sects. It is simply too complicated.
1)religion-myself, raised Catholic, altar boy, lector the whole shebang I understand "doctrine" and "practice" in a community, and it helped to compare the same in the Buddhist community based on the pith concepts presented in the book
2)philosophy-just general philosophy 101 helps quite a bit.
3)Logic, Ethics and Reason-This book is an excerpt from a serial in a newspaper to present Buddhist concepts through applying reason to the modern ethics and morality of the Japanese readers first addressed by the author.
Best thing is you will know what sects you might be most interested in researching. I eventually stumbled on beautiful works by Nagarjuna (77 Stanzas of...) and Bodhidharma (translated by Red Pine) that have been quite pleasing to me because of the parlance I became accustomed to because of this book. I highly recommend this book to begin one's research, learning and edification (hopefully). One in the practice should look into the above mentioned ,if anything, that I can recommend that might suit your path.
What I mean by that is that the book was a bit slow for me, as it would be for any beginner taking it up for the first time. Nevertheless, as my own practice gained experience, I can refer back to this book and quickly find the definitions and explanations for those occasionally puzzling aspects.
History, framework and application, all in one. Very well done, indeed.