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One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  362 Ratings  ·  29 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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Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Ryall
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Ron Krumpos
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
"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
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book. A clear and accessible guidebook comparing and incorporating the many schools of Buddhism. I've read many Buddhist texts. Goldstein's writing is straightforward without losing depth, subtlety or complexity. The simplicity and clarity of his writing reveals true depth and wisdom.
Steve Woods
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, but not as a first read in Buddhism.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jon Kabat-Zinn added so much about meditation.
Joseph Goldstein added so much to my learning about Dharma - Buddhist teachings.
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! A unified view of Buddhism.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Informative and well articulated view of Western Buddhism.
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
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!
Stacey Vargas
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book changed my affirmed for me that the path I was heading towards was positive &constructive .
Claudia f. Savage
Nov 15, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Just reread this one. Goldstein is a good dharma guide, but this little book is a bit dry and repetitive. Looking forward to his massive tome on Mindfulness.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"My true religion is kindness" (pp79)
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A lucid and insightful introduction to Buddhism's evolution in the West.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
still reading wonderful book worth rereading...
Terry Sedgwick
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it
great read
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great overview of Buddhism and introduction to meditation. Goldstein's way of discussing dharma really reasonated with me.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
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
rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2015
Harrison Blum
rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2017
Mary Pinkney
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Aug 11, 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.

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