The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

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The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby DGA » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:45 pm

Many of us got to know Buddhism through books first. This is common for people who were not born into Buddhist families. I'd like to know which book may have been the one that inspired you to practice Buddhism, to get out there and find others to practice with.

For myself, I had been aware of Buddhism from my family (my late uncle was the first Buddhist in my family, and my mom had lived in Okinawa...), and I had read some Buddhist materials in classes and at the library, but I didn't really get a fire in me for practice until I'd read Lama Surya Das' book on the eightfold path, Awakening the Buddha Within, in maybe 1997 or so. Reading that book made me want to go out and learn some more, and to practice. I'll always be thankful for it.

(parenthetically I think it's strange that Surya Das comes up so infrequently in discussion here at DW, given how popular his books have been over the years.)

How about you?
DGA's dissertation, a cultural history of mindfulness, here: ... _OF_STRESS

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Matt J
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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Matt J » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:17 pm

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. Specifically, the free version online. In addition, "In Search of the Miraculous" by PD Ouspensky.

Through a series of synchronous events, I later took refuge and the lay precepts from Bhante G.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby justsit » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:24 pm

Oh, easy one. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. My husband of 17 years had walked out, as a result I'd lost my home and moved where I knew no one, my dog died. I was depressed and desperate. That book saved my life.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Motova » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:58 pm

Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism by Lama Anagarika Govinda

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby padma norbu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:59 pm

I remember Buddhism Plain & Simple by Steve Hagen presented it in such a sensible way that I became more seriously interested and thus bought more books, so maybe that one.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:27 pm

Byron's Dhammapada
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:30 pm

The book that first got me interested in Buddhism and then Theravada was What the Buddha Taught by Dr. Walpola Rahula (1959): ... taught.pdf

And the book that got me interested in Zen and Mahayana was The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Kapleau (1965)

I became a Buddhist in 1984. :)

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby emaho » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:39 pm

For me the first book about Buddhism was Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen.

My first book about Vajrayana was Lama Govindas Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism.
Loud farts during meditation are allowed. Very loud farts during meditation are allowed. - Kodo Sawaki Roshi, Zen ist die größte Lüge aller Zeiten

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:19 pm

Turning The Wheel of Dharma ..whatever translation is in Goddard's A Buddhist Bible, that and Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism pretty much signed me up. Read them many years apart, I picked up A Buddhist Bible at 17 or something, and spent years just reading and rereading that Sutta over and over, it was the one that really spoke to me in the beginning, simple as it is. Years later I read Cutting Through as an adult, and it kind of put two and two together for me in some way.
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showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:39 pm

The Life of Milarepa.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby WuMing » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:15 pm

The books by Lama Anagarika Govinda.
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
- Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
Śrī Singha said to Padmasambhava:
Since buddhas and sentient beings are inseparable and the same, it is necessary to respect all sentient beings as being on the same level with the buddhas. Can you?
- translated by Malcolm N. Smith

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby seeker242 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:00 am

First buddhist book was Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Three Pillars of Zen "sealed the deal" so to speak. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Lindama » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:02 am

Introduction to Tantra, Lama Yeshe was the first buddhist book that I ever read. I had it on my nightstand for quite a while before I read it... when I did, he had already spoken to me in dreams tho I didn't know it til I read the book. I have no idea how I came by it, but I never do.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Sherab » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:12 am

"The Wisdom of Buddhism" edited by Christmas Humphries.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:14 am

Be Here Now by Ram Dass.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:00 am

The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation through Knowing the One Mind ed. W Y Evanz-Wentz, followed soon after by Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and Way of Zen.
Last edited by Wayfarer on Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:01 am

Be Here Now. Later it was Dowman's Sky Dancer and Crystal and the Way of Light by ChNNR.
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that"
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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:55 am

I got hooked by an article about anatta. In response I went online to buy a book about Buddhism. As I had no idea where to start, I bought a book that appeared at the pot of a search. It was Mumonkan - The Gateless Gate. :tongue:
When I received it, I thought: "so thin..., I will finish it today..."
Say what you think about me here.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby Simon E. » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:00 am

I am slightly embarrassed to admit it now :emb: ...and in mitigation it swiftly led to other books and to flesh and blood contacts..but what started me off was Kerouac's 'The Dharma Bums'.
" My heart's in the Highlands
my heart is not here.
My heart's in the Highlands
chasing the deer."

Robert V.C. Burns.

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Re: The Book that Got You Hooked on Dharma

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:24 pm

mine was Karma Chagme's mountain dharma vol 1 or Lama Zopa Rinpoche's how to practice Dharma - teaching on the eight worldly dharmas.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….



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