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Buddhism for Dummies (For Dummies)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  820 Ratings  ·  72 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.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by Wiley Publishing
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Adri Guadron
Dec 01, 2015 Adri Guadron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me quite a long time to finish this book. I have been interested in Buddhism since I was a kid but then after some time I decided to be an atheist. Being an atheist does not mean that I don't respect or take interest in religion I honestly like it and I like seeing different points of views and learn about them.

I have to admit that Buddhism was very foreign to me I never read about it and did have no idea what was the religion about. The only thing I knew about it was to rub a Buddha's
Dec 16, 2015 Hanna marked it as to-read
I'll read this once I deeply understand Islam. Then I'll start reading more about other religions
Donal Phipps
Mar 27, 2013 Donal Phipps rated it liked it
A good introduction, but I was surprised about the lack of practical advice on getting started.
Apr 12, 2011 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, buddhism
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
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
Apr 14, 2008 Suzi rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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!
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

Lise Baltzer
Apr 10, 2014 Lise Baltzer rated it liked it
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
Doc Kinne
Jul 25, 2013 Doc Kinne rated it really liked it
As with all the Dummies books, this was a good, comprehensive introduction, and I would recommend it as such.
Dec 17, 2014 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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
Nov 30, 2014 Maher rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 24, 2014 Miruna rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 04, 2016 Seb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, not-owned
A great overall introduction and overview to Buddhism; full of useful things to consider. A great launchpad if you want to find out more about the religion before 'jumping in'.

It's slightly light on some of the deeper philosophical concepts, but that is out of its remit and there are plenty of other books for that I'd be happy to recommend.
Sian Powell
Jun 28, 2015 Sian Powell rated it really liked it
A good introduction to Buddhism. I have read a few books about this recently and there are some unusual words and concepts in Buddhism that are hard to get your head round. This book explained things well. It also gave a good history of Buddhism and how it evolved and travelled round the East initially and eventually to the West. I found some of the information about the different schools of Buddhism a bit overwhelming hence the four stars. I think I could have skipped some of that. A good refer ...more
Mick Kelly
Apr 23, 2015 Mick Kelly rated it liked it
Not bad - I wanted an introduction to Buddhism that covered the basics and it does that ok. I think it's a little too long and a little too repetitive, but I think that's the dummies format rather than the author's fault.
Raul Duarte
Oct 05, 2015 Raul Duarte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es un libro para las personas que empiezan desde cero en el tema del budismo, está explicado de una maneara tan sencilla que cualquiera puede entenderle con facilidad.

Recomiendo leerlo si:

+Quieres saber más acerca del budismo en general y no sabes por donde comenzar.
Jan 13, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
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
Dec 01, 2014 Michael Heggemann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Laflamme
Mar 24, 2014 Michael Laflamme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
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.
Sep 10, 2014 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, with an all-around good overview of many different schools of Buddhism.
Jul 14, 2015 wly rated it it was amazing
Nice guide to Buddhism. Love how it's so simple to read and understand.
Dec 10, 2008 Charlotte rated it liked it
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
Jan 10, 2016 Sem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overzichtelijk, wel veel, maar kerst lekker
Oct 31, 2015 Adam rated it liked it
Comprehensive and illuminating.
Michelle Miller
Dec 08, 2009 Michelle Miller rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2011 Danielle Cohn rated it really liked it
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
Jul 08, 2013 Stacy Harper rated it liked it
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.
Dec 26, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
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.
May 20, 2007 jim rated it really liked it
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.
May 16, 2013 Pierre rated it it was amazing
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.
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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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