I’m interested in reading up on Buddhism, as I know extremely little (read: nothing) about it, and would prefer the good old-fashioned dead-tree method. Is there a fundamental book, similar to the bible? Also, can you please recommend some good books on its history and/or interpereting the teachings of buddhism? Thanks!
Some info. I’d also recommend a trip to the book store to pick up a book or two. The ones I have are koans and basic tenents.
They have a lot of basic info on various religions, and will have suggestions for further reading.
I’m quite attracted to Tibetan Buddhism. Any of the Dalai Lama books are pretty good. There are plenty of others as well. Most of the Tibetan buddhist books are also concerned with Tibetan culture, which is actually very intertwined with Tibetan buddhism.
Not a primary text, but a good one for after you have some basic stuff under your belt is “Buddhism Without Belief” by Stephen Batchelor. His thesis is that the tenets of Buddhism make for a very rewarding and worthwhile pattern for living, even if you choose not to believe many of the other parts. This appeals to me because although I am very interested in many of the ideas of Buddhism and the way of life it suggests, I can’t bring myself to even pretend to believe in reincarnation or things like that.
I would, however, recommend reading some books with those beliefs attached to them first, so you at least know what he’s diverging from.
While taking a class on Buddhism in college, we read Fundamentals of Mainstream Buddhism. It is a great reference book and I liked it so much that I kept it. I also have the text Legomancer speaks of and would recommend that one as well.
I recommend tape series by Jack Kornfield (After the Ecstasy the Laundry, Your Buddha Nature) as they approach this wonderful philosophy from a western perspective ( he was monk and a psychologist as well)
Here’s a cool site for Zen stories. The readers’ comments are often hilarious, as well.