4 Answers

  1. It depends on why you need it. If you are interested in Buddhism, then Buddhists usually recommend relying on your own experience, and taking information for acquiring it from primary sources – sacred texts. That is, the texts seem to be sacred, but there are words attributed to the Buddha (and having, so to speak, the power of direct instructions to action) that his words should be checked by the disciple on his own experience.
    For example, the texts attributed to Gautama Buddha and constituting the so-called “Teaching of the Four Noble Truths”are considered sacred. This is the teaching with which Buddhism is primarily associated and which is described in popular films on this topic (such as” Little Buddha “or”Seven Years in Tibet”).

    Strictly speaking, initially these texts were not texts, it is believed that these are the words of the Buddha and stories memorized by Anada, a disciple of the Buddha who had the abilities of phenomenal memory that accompanied him always and everywhere, for a long time these texts existed in the oral tradition, that is, they were memorized and passed down from teacher to student. From the words contained in some texts, it follows that over time people lost the ability to remember well and for this reason they began to write down texts. Texts attributed to the Buddha are called sutras. There are also “tantras” – it is said that these teachings are passed on to practitioners who have reached a high level and as a result have unusual abilities from enlightened beings. Further, these teachings are passed from teacher to student, who can become a teacher if he puts the teaching into practice. This is called the line of succession. The sutras can be divided into two parts – some belong to the traditions of the so-called Hinayana, or Theravada, a tradition that teaches personal salvation from suffering. Others refer to Mahayana, or the so-called Bodhisattva Chariot-a tradition that teaches about compassion or Bodhichitta – a state of enlightened mind, this teaching speaks about the need to work for the benefit of all living beings in understanding this tradition. Tantras refer to Vajrayana, (“Vajrayana “can be translated as “diamond chariot”, in fact, the meaning has additional meanings, each of which is considered correct for a certain level of understanding). Tantras existed before Gautama Buddha, and some of them refer to the” previous ” Buddha Tonpa Shenraba, the Buddha of the Bon tradition, which was spread in Tibet before Buddhism. Basically, tantra deals with working with energy channels and managing its energy, ethical issues in this teaching are more subordinate to the functioning of energy, and consciousness is interpreted as a consequence of the manifestation of this functioning, which, despite its rather specific and imaginative style, is more consistent with the modern scientific approach. But unfortunately (or fortunately, on the contrary), it so happens that many abstract principles that are difficult to understand are designated as a deity or other character endowed with personal perception, for this reason these texts are often not taken seriously by scientists (and not only them). It is believed that there are 84 thousand tantras written (this is a symbolic number often mentioned in texts), but the sutras are much smaller, the complete collection of sutras is called Tripitaka, which means “three baskets”. Not all of them were translated.

    Due to the fact that all these various directions, which in turn are also divided into sub-sections, may seem somewhat … erm.. if you are an untrained person, then it is quite difficult to give an unambiguous answer to the voiced question. 🙂

    You need to understand what you personally mean by Buddhism and what your expectations are. Again, if you ask a Buddhist, he may have to answer depending on the situation, for example, some texts say that people with high abilities (who practiced a lot and successfully in past lives, but forgot about it during the transition period from one life to another) should not recommend texts designed for people with low abilities (who practiced little or unsuccessfully). Some of these instructions (and not only that) lead to a stupor and they prefer to say that they do not understand anything and you should ask a Buddhist teacher.
    There are other ambiguous points ). In general, in Buddhism, a lot of things can lead to a stupor, this is normal and in some way, is part of the program for exploring your own mind, the stupor of which is one of the most important modes of operation from a research point of view. :-).

    Some teachings (such as Tantric ones) place a great deal of emphasis on the personality of the teacher, while others allow the Buddha to be considered the only teacher, and your teacher should be called a ” virtuous friend.” This is usually the case in the Sutra teachings. In Chan and Zen Buddhism, texts have more authority, this is due to the specifics of the distribution of teachings. This branch of Buddhism is quite different from the Tibetan one. Where the Buddha gave his teaching, it was not widely spread, and was even persecuted. It is true that there were some kings in history who gave protection to Buddhists, but the motives of those that I know about were, as I understand it, somewhat removed from the motivation of bringing good to all living beings and were more related to issues of state ideology.

    Here is such a short answer turned out.: -)

  2. It is better to start with something simple, popular, because the Dharma of the Buddha is oh so difficult. This is not just deep-minded tsytatki, slabon and pofigizm, as people usually think about Buddhism in the people.

    Read something from the Dalai Lama, Mingyur Rinpoche, Lama Oleg. Or better yet, watch it all on YouTube, because books will not replace the perception of live speech.

    And Yahweh forbid you to read a pseudo-Buddhist New Age hodgepodge of Hinduism, veganism, positive thinking and a Zen-style vegetable garden. Read / listen to traditional stuff, not shiny nonsense like Osho.

  3. To begin with, just read a course on the History of world religions, but something more decent, and preferably a couple of courses. I won't give you specifics, otherwise you will recommend Matsikh, and the Orthodox will come running, they say they are offended, and you will tell Eliade that they will accuse him of being a fascist. So decide for yourself. Without understanding what religion is, how religions have developed in the world, it is not worth studying Buddhism, because it is not quite a trivial thing, and it is not very homogeneous, Buddhism in China and Buddhism in Japan is not even Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but a much more complex relationship.

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