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One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  25 reviews
One of America's most respected Buddhist teachers distills a lifetime of practice and teaching in this groundbreaking exploration of the new Buddhist tradition taking root on American soil.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 8th 2003 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2002)
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A decent book that needed to be written.... my only complaint is that, among the list of *truly* essential core elements of buddhism, there's an almost bizarrely dogmatic chapter insisting that some sort of literal, concrete, transmigration of souls style reincarnation is a central tenant. This is not so, if only in that both the historical Buddha and subsequent teachers reframed and reinterpreted this term away from its Hindu origin. What is "reincarnation" when there is no self? Who is going w ...more
Joseph Goldstein is one of the Americans who first brought Buddhism to the States in the 1970's. In this book, he shares a brief history of the philsophy of Eastern Buddhism, which like many American religions, has many different branches. And he writes about the truth they all share--one dharma. Recently I attended a retreat where Goldstein was primary teacher and enjoyed hearing his voice again in the book. (You can also hear Goldstein's talks at Both in person and in the book, ...more
Phillip Moffitt
This book describes the commonalities between the three main traditions of Buddhism and points to the emergence of a Western school of Buddhism that incorporates qualities and teachings from all three traditions. In Goldstein’s view, mindfulness is the common means of practice, compassion is the result of practice, and wisdom is the essence that is being cultivated.
This is a good introduction to the various schools of Buddhism and how they differ, but more importantly how they are similar.

Joseph Goldstein has a smooth writing style and good knowledge of the schools and their practices. One thing I found weak was the connection between his sources and his bibliography. It took a bit of slow looking to figure out which quotation went with which source and a few times I was unable to figure it out at all. My theory is he wanted the book to be reader friendly
Ron Krumpos
"One Dharma" is one of the books in the primary bibliography of my free ebook on comparative mysticism. "The greatest achievement in life" at has been reviewed on Goodreads.

While the majority of Goldstein's publications introduce Westerners to primarily Theravada concepts, practices and values, his 2002 work, "One Dharma", explored the creation of an integrated framework for the Theravada, Tibetan and Zen traditions. It was endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai
This is an excellent synthesis of the various streams of Buddhism: Zen, Theravadan, Tibetan Dzogchen, etc. He writes very clearly and simply, explaining the differences and the convergences among the practices in a way that sheds light on each of them. Not a dry academic exercise, but a useful manual that will assist the reader in whatever their chosen practice happens to be.
Michael Ryall
Aug 30, 2007 Michael Ryall rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Buddhism
A good introduction to the basic tenets of Buddhism. It begins with a short summary of Buddha's life and explains how several dozen sects sprang into existence immediately after his death. When Buddhism began to make its way to the West in the 1960s and 70s, there was an emphasis on the commonalities between all the various sects, hence the title, "One Dharma." The book does a very good job of explaining the most fundamental concepts that all the schools of Buddhism have in common. This is a goo ...more
loved it! Saw it on a list for top books about Buddhism, and I know why now. It was a combination of Buddhist history, theory, and instruction.
This is a book I keep on my nightstand and read occasionally when the mood hits. I've read it straight through a couple of times and I'm sure there are chapters I've read more than a dozen times. This book is just what I was looking for in my exploration of Buddhism. It separates Buddhist essentials from cultural add-ons showing that the core philosophy of Buddhism fits easily into western culture. This is a must-read for anyone trying to figure out if they can work Buddhist principles into thei ...more
Rob the Obscure
Other than the sutras, and possibly "What the Buddha Taught" (Rapola), this is probably the best book I've read on Buddhism. It makes an important point, one that dearly needs to be made and made strongly.

The misguided sectarianism in Buddhism detracts from its value as life method. Highly recommended.
Steve Woods
Goldstein is a very clear writer and his deep understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist practice makes his work accessible to anyone. In this small volume he isolates the basic tenets common to all schools of Buddhism and deals with them from the perspective of a western student. A very valuable little book
an excellent summary of the history of the different buddhist streams and how they are converging in america. Goldstein writes in a clear voice, informed by many years of meditation practice and teaching
Aug 28, 2007 Panda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: you know who you are...
it's a little difficult to get through some parts (doesn't always hold my attention) and kinda annoying in others, but overall it's helped me a lot with being more positive and dealing with b.s. GUT!
Claudia f. Savage
I enjoyed this book. I've only read 6 or so books on Buddhism, so I don't really know that much, but Mr. Goldstein definitely lead through difficult ideas with a gentle hand. Fun.
Goldstein is becoming one of my favorite authors on Buddhism. While in the beginning I thought the book might be too theoretical, I found it very helpful in my own practice
Jon Kabat-Zinn added so much about meditation.
Joseph Goldstein added so much to my learning about Dharma - Buddhist teachings.
Stacey Vargas
This book changed my affirmed for me that the path I was heading towards was positive &constructive .
A lucid and insightful introduction to Buddhism's evolution in the West.
Fantastic overview of dharma principles from different Buddhist traditions.
Chip Linehan
Informative and well articulated view of Western Buddhism.
What a wonderful book! A unified view of Buddhism.
still reading wonderful book worth rereading...
Excellent, but not as a first read in Buddhism.
"My true religion is kindness" (pp79)
Frank marked it as to-read
Dec 17, 2014
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Joseph Goldstein (born 1944) is one of the first American vipassana teachers (Fronsdal, 1998), co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism (see publications below), resident guiding teacher at IMS, and leader of retreats worldwide on insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation.

More about Joseph Goldstein...
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation Insight Meditation: A Psychology of Freedom The Experience of Insight: A Simple & Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation (Shambhala Dragon Editions) Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening A Heart Full of Peace

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