Have a look at “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism,” by Chogyam Trungpa. The real deal.
And one other thing: it is *meditation* that will grow your awareness and prepare you for enlightenment. What makes a particular strain of Buddhism powerful is its emphasis on meditation.
Don’t get caught up in reading. Go to a few meditations, with various groups. Pick one that feels right, and jump in. The water is fine…
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of Teachers, elders or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it.”
I don’t know if it is the best way, but I do like Zen Buddhism (and since Zen Buddhism was influenced by Taoism, I read some from that too….
Both seem to have less emphasis on learning chants in a language I don’t speak and getting beyond words and rituals. And this Path offers a perspective that allows me to see ppl for what they are and less on how I would like them to be. (That is when I am diligent on following it.)
I’m reading a fascinating book about the subject of Buddhism now….
“Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs” by Steve Hagen
There are always going to be some good resources on any subject and not some good. I’ve read some good and some not some good.
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I have read, many books, on Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Tao, are all very good ideas to live well, but so does the bible. Unfortunately not everyone follows them all the time.
I broke them down into simple ideas that most people can understand. First all 3 of these are not religions, but philosophy’s. You can follow any religion and still use the teachings of them to help you in life.
Buddhism, teaches you to look at yourself in what you did, or did not do in a situation that you are in. Meaning if you got in an argument that made very hurt feelings, what could you have done different to not get into it again, or did you cause it to be worse. Could you have been more sensitive, or did you cross the line, and said something too harsh?
Hinduism, celebrates what you have, and teaches to share what you have. Be thankful, and give back. We are all connected, and always taking is not good. So when good comes your way, you must give back. And I do believe when ever you give, you grow, and get something back. So when someone helps you, you must now pass that on and help someone else.
The Tao, is one of the oldest Philosophy’s over 5,000yrs. And the Tao teaches to make amends when you have made mistakes. The easiest one to look at is if you are in a rush, and not paying attention cut someone off in traffic, you must now forgive soemone who cuts you off.
Each one has something good. Which is best is up to each of us.
Finding the best method for you is a lot like finding the right girl: There is no right answer that works for everyone, no end of reading will really help you because that’s just theory, and you just have to try many things on your own, and eventually you’ll find one that you like. In many cases, you’ll even find one that suits you for a long time, and then suddenly you’ll realize that it’s time to move on to another one.
The important thing is to try it out for yourself, and keep searching until you find what you’re looking for.
Vipassana, which is basically Buddhist meditation, is the most effective way I’ve found. But even then, there are different kinds: Theravada, Zen, Tibetan… and each one of these splits into different kinds. I find that vipassana in the Burmese (Myanmar) tradition, as taught by Ledi Sayadaw, is very good to start off with – look up dhamma.org. They have centers all over the world (run and taught by a man named S.N. Goenka) that teach a course that is very “user-friendly” for westerners. Mahasi-style vipassana (also originally Burmese) is also excellent, and may ultimately take you deeper (though it might be harder to find, and to connect to at first). Look up some of these names, and see what comes up.
Buddhist teachings say that one is very fortunate to have come across the Dharma after countless eons of struggle in life without actually finding a way through suffering. The Buddha himself taught in various ways in order to recognize the different ways people are able to learn and to awaken. These teachings have transplanted themselves into many cultures and many manifestations of personalities successfully over a period of 2500 years. This is impressive. At the root of it, Buddhism apprehends the very essence of mind while being able to transmit this understanding to any others in any circumstances at all. All other traditions are equally deep, but for me, Buddhism is the most accessible and rings true to my own experience. I happen follow the Ch’an teachings – the original teachings of “Zen” but a bit more in it’s broader home context in China. I also am deeply grateful to several ancient Tibetan masters from the Dzogchen lineage and to Namkhai Norbu.
Try these books: 1. The Method of No Method – Sheng Yen 2. Self Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness – trans. Reynolds 3. Cutting Through Spiritual materialism – Trungpa 4. The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma – by Red Pine (actually most anything by Red Pine) 5. The Zen Teaching of Huang Po – trans Blofeld 6. The Zen Teachings of Jesus (if you are a Westerner perhaps) by Leong 7. Buddhism, Core Ideas – Master Hsing Yun. Not necessarily beginner’s books, but something to live into and then last a lifetime.
Best of luck to you.
Good afternoon, Chris.
There is no “best” or “only” path to enlightenment. It is, in my opinion, what is best for the individual is based upon his/her experiences and the school of Buddhism one is practicing.
Since I am Buddhist, I can only answer from that perspective; for what is right for me but not necessarily for you. H.H. the Dalai Lama has cautioned those who wish to leave their birth faith with the following advice. “People from different traditions should keep their own, rather than change. However, some Tibetan may prefer Islam, so he can follow it. Some Spanish prefer Buddhism; so follow it. But think about it carefully. Don’t do it for fashion. Some people start Christian, follow Islam, then Buddhism, then nothing.” from the website http://www.tibetoffice.org/en/index.php?url_channel_id=8&url_publish_channel_id=469&url_subchannel_id=12&well_id=2 His advice is also that “Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are.”
But, if a person spends time seriously investigating Buddhism and decides that is the path for him or her, then I’d advise the following. One can never go wrong with studying the actual words of the Buddha. This is by reading the suttas and sutras. Another is by attending various temples and meditation groups in your area. You may find that one tradition seems to be more “in touch” with you than another. Ask questions and listen carefully to the responses.
There are many texts that are available in bookstores and, possibly, in your local library. Take one down and spend some time reading passages. Try to concentrate of masters within the tradition of your interest. It’s best not to jump from tradition to another — that can cause some confusion even though all of the teachings of legitimate lineages and traditions are valid. So, I’m reluctant to advise you on texts that I have found to be beneficial to me since I don’t know if the tradition that I practice would be the same for you. A little confusing, huh?
I hope this is of some help.
May all be at peace.
I recommend the book is called
” The Buddha In Your Mirror ”
It really make sense to me and it teaches
about improving as human being and
apply it to day to day reality .
It explains what exactly “Enlightenment” means too.
So, check it out!!