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Buddhism for Dummies
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Buddhism for Dummies

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  566 ratings  ·  62 reviews
From the outside, Buddhism seems like a bundle of contradictions wrapped inside a paradox. It is a religion without a god, a belief system without rules, and a faith that encourages its adherents to question everything, including its own teachings. You could spend a lifetime studying Buddhist texts and following its observances and still feel like you've only just barely s ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by For Dummies
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(showing 1-30 of 1,219)
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Donal Phipps
A good introduction, but I was surprised about the lack of practical advice on getting started.
suzi
i've read quite a few books on buddhism, and this is the best guide i've found. it is written in language that is easy to understand, contains a great glossary of buddhist terms, explains traditions and beliefs very clearly, and is a wonderful resource to grab when the practice gets confusing. this is the first "dummies" book i've read, and i'm really impressed!
Sophie
For a while, I was hesitant to pick this up because I didn't know how serious (or not-serious) this would be. I remember reading Shakespeare for Dummies over ten years ago, and the way I remember it I wasn't too fond of the overall tone. But since the reviews on this one were rather positive, and made it sound like a good, general introduction to the topic, I decided to give it a try. And I'm glad I did!

Here, the tone was nowhere as ridiculous-sounding as I remember the other ...for Dummies boo
...more
David Schwinghammer
I'm one of the "dummies" referred to in the title. What I knew about Buddhism I'd learned while studying the transcendental writers, Emerson, Thoreau etc. while in college.
This book is written by Stephan Bodian, an American Buddhist monk, and Jonathan Landaw, who has led meditation courses at Buddhist centers for over twenty-five years.
Despite its cheesy title, this book answered most of the questions I had about Buddhism:
Why the heck does the Buddha have so many names? He was born Prince Siddha
...more
Amanda
I wasn't sure about buying this one because, well, the title. It was my first 'for dummies' book so I wasn't sure what to expect.

After many weeks of research on the internet I had a foundation of understanding when it comes to Buddhism. I think this book is excellent. It definitely tied everything together for me.

It's clear, wonderfully set out so you can find everything you need, and I came away with a better understanding of Buddhism (and a desire to start my own Buddhist practice). I took a
...more
Lise Baltzer
Lise Baltzer om: Buddism for Dummies

Bogen gennemgår buddhismen på en måde, der er letforståelig - og uden al for megen indforstået jargon. Når buddhismen fremstilles i populære medier får man let indtryk af, at systemet er enkelt, lidt naivt og lige ud af landevejen. Sådan er det ikke. Buddhismen vrimler - som et trosystem - med indvikledes begreber, rangordninger og så videre og så videre. Derfor tager jeg hatten af for, at Buddhism for dummies trods alt formår at lave en overskuelig gennemgang
...more
Bob
This is the first book I've read from the "For Dummies" series. I thought this one was a terrific introduction to Buddhism. Very informative on all levels and really quite insightful. The tone was just right: friendly, down-to-earth, supportive, and humorous. The amount of information conveyed was, looking back on it, pretty staggering, yet I found it read like a novel. My overall impression: Well, I checked out a public library copy, and then purchased my own before I'd finished reading the one ...more
Graham
Jul 15, 2008 Graham added it
Four and a half stars, really: All the title really means is that this book is written for people who know very little -- or nothing at all -- of the subject matter. When it comes to Buddhism, that's the majority of North Americans. I perhaps knew a little bit more than most as I live in San Francisco where Buddhists may be found readily, but I appreciated this book for filling me in on the ins and outs. (I knew enough to know I didn't know enough.)

This is a practical book designed to educate th

...more
Cihan İnsanoğlu
Good book for a start, but as a person who doesn't live in North America I don't think it's meant for everyone because it uses a large space to list the history and locations of Buddhist monasteries and practices in North America. Also it tries to present Buddhism from a very Western and politically correct point of view not giving people a real taste of Asian Buddhism.
Miruna
Great book to make you understand what Buddhism is all about. by the end of the book I know what questions to ask and what I want to read next. The reason why I have it only four stars is because it kept referencing previous chapters in the book. I assume it is because some people don't read this kind of book in a linear fashion.

Despite that one flaw I would recommend it to someone like me that doesn't know much about Buddhism.
Melissa
This offers a lot of good info on the history of Buddhism and the basics of how it's practiced in the modern world... but I don't believe it gives a good explanation of the differences between each type of practice. For example, they make Zen sound amazing and care-free, while making Theravada sound like the crazy bow-20x-a-day snob-kind of Buddhism, which is not the picture I got at all from other books and podcasts I've read. It would have been much better if they had given a broader explanati ...more
Michael Heggemann
A very complete overview of Buddhism, its history, teachings, different schools, and ways to practice Buddhism in everyday life. This book imparts a lot of knowledge in its 364 pages, and offers a number of suggestions for future reading and study.

Overall, I was very happy with this book, although I would have liked to have seen more detailed information and comparisons of the various schools of Buddhism that were covered.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Buddhism, wheth
...more
Michael Laflamme
A well written guide to the history and basics of Buddhism. Great for anyone researching the belief, looking to start down that path or just someone who wants to read up on it.
Jeff
Great book, with an all-around good overview of many different schools of Buddhism.
Charlotte
This was a really easy-to-read history of buddhism...i was interested in it because really its so vague what buddhism really stands for and where it came from. this has a great history of where it started, how the religion migrated across asia with the political climates over the centuries. It also states very clearly the different forms of buddhism, how they are different, and what each sect believes. It got kind of dry, but I recommend this book to anyone interested in world religions and who ...more
Andi
This book offers great information for those uneducated in Buddhism, and goes into quite a bit of detail on some aspects. The chapters can be read in order, or you can pick and choose what to read. "Take what is useful and leave the rest."
Michelle Miller
If there was ever a book to in which to get a crash-course in Buddhism, this would be it. I admit that I found the in-depth historical aspects a little boring, but that's probably just me. History can be important in subjects like this. Some points in the book are still a little fuzzy, but I am sure they will become clearer with practice and experience. Overall, this book was SUPER-informative and has given me a huge amount of information on Buddhism. I love it.
Danielle Cohn
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was extremely easy to follow and gave me a deeper understanding of Buddhism. It was broken up into several different sections, which allowed me to set it down and come back to it later without getting confused. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Buddhist philosophy.
Stacy Harper
I was able to gleen some information from this book and it is a good way to get some basic information. Some chapters go in depth into history and specific practitioners and I got bogged down there but definitely think it would be a good reference book to come back to as I learn (or want to learn) more.
Leah Cass
This was a really good basic overview of Buddhism for someone like me with very little frame of reference. A quick and easy read that gives you basic terms and history before moving on to more advanced topics in the philosophy.
jim
May 20, 2007 jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beginners!
Bookshelf Buddhists unite! I like this book because (despite the cheesy premise) it really has a great overview of different Buddhist traditions without the esoteric language that plagues so many Buddhist texts. Whenever I consider getting into Buddhism again, this is where I turn.
Pierre
Well strucutred and no jargon. Written in a "western" way easy to understand.
The best book in my opinion to start understanding what buddhism is about.
I bought and read it almost entirely before a trip to Nepal. It helped a lot to understand the monks in the monastery we stayed at.
April
Ok, I didn't technically read the entire book, but there are some really good take home messages and it made me want to visit Tibet one day and hang with the monks. It is certainly something people should read to put their lives, and organized religion, into perspective.
Kurt
The authors do a masterful job of presenting information while weaving in just the right personal anecdotes. They present various beliefs and practices, making sure to point out where certain Buddhists have disagreements, all with a peaceful and conversational tone.
jennifer garcia
Nov 15, 2010 jennifer garcia is currently reading it
Haha, yes. The For Dummies Series! after Herman Hesse's Siddhartha sparked my curiosity, i just really wanted to start from the very basics. so far, this is a very comprehensive and maybe not so basic outline of what this practice is all about. but, so far so good!
Victoria
Read because I was traveling in Tibet and needed a crash course on the basics to understand what I was seeing in the monasteries. The overall content was fine for what I needed, the Kindle edition is horribly formatted and confusing to follow.
Royale
Some good information, but way too much history and so much impertinent info that really doesn't apply to those of us in the west. Really lacking enough practical wisdom and left out some really basic tenets of Buddhism.
Amal
Ce livre explique d'une manière simple et claire l'histoire du bouddhisme, son évolution à travers le temps, Ses différentes écoles et orientations.
PS : Je mets quatre étoiles pour le livre pas le bouddhisme..
Ray Charbonneau
Good overview of Buddhism, with a clear understanding that there is a practical use for Buddhist ideas even if you don't swallow the mystical BS whole. It is simple, but after all, it is for Dummies.
Christine CC
Wow, am I really admitting to reading a Dummies Book? Yep, it's a good grounding in the very complex world of Buddhism... the many 'arms' or 'legs'... various philosophies that emerged regionally...
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“Jealousy, hatred, greed, and the like lead to suffering and dissatisfaction because they’re out of step with reality. They paint a misleading picture of the world.” 0 likes
“The basic Buddhist teaching of impermanence (Pali: anicca) suggests that even the most powerful spiritual experiences come and go like clouds in the sky. The point of practice is to realize a truth so deep and fundamental that it doesn’t change, because it’s not an experience at all; it’s the nature of reality itself. This undeniable, unalterable realization is known as enlightenment.” 0 likes
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