Michael's Reviews > Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism

Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism by Gary Gach
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's review
Oct 21, 08

bookshelves: philosophy

A great primer for those of you wondering about Buddhism.

Especially recommended if you come from a Western Christian background. If you have some familiarity with Eastern thought already, this may be too much of a layman's book for you.

While it seems to play down the way that many sects (such as Tibetan and Pure Land) have turned Buddhism into a religion rather than a way of life, this book is useful for its accessible explanations and its practical applications.

It is divided into sections, first dealing with the history of Buddhism, its expansion, then a perhaps oversimplified explanation of its relationship to religions of the world. It then explains universal beliefs among the schools and has a primer on meditation before delving into the different sects. The last third of the book is dedicated to practical applications of the teachings.

This book set me on my path to Zen.

Finally, don't be discouraged. The vocabulary of Buddhism can sometimes be confusing, but that's why there is a glossary.
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