11 Answers

  1. It is better to start studying Buddhism by asking yourself: “Why do I need this?” Buddhism can be studied as a philosophy, as part of the history of a civilization, different traditions, or as a religion. You can accept Buddhist teachings as a way of life, a path from bad to good, a way to become happier. Accordingly, different sources are suitable for different purposes.�

    If you are interested in the history of the emergence of Buddhist traditions, their differences, and stages of formation, then the network has a course of lectures in audio format of 18 files: Ore Valery Isaevich “Buddhism”. You can listen to them first.

    If you are interested in a deep dive into Buddhist philosophy, then there is a book: AlexanderPyatigorsk “Introduction to the study of Buddhist Philosophy” (nineteen seminars).�

    If you are interested in Buddhology, you can search for books by such authors as: Fyodor Ippolitovich Shcherbatskoy, Evgeny AlekseevichTorchinov, Victoria GeorgievnaLysenko.

    If you are interested in a general superficial acquaintance with the basics of different traditions, the basics of Buddhist ethics and practice, there are books —�

    in the Theravada tradition (Pali, older):

    “Basic principles of Buddhism” Bhikkhu Bodhi.

    “Eight mindful steps to happiness. Following in the footsteps of the Buddha ” GunaratanBhante Henepola.

    “Quiet forest backwater. Insight Meditation” –Ajahn Chah.

    in the Mahayana tradition (Sanskrit, later):

    “Why you are not a Buddhist” Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.

    “Buddha, the brain and the neurophysiology of happiness. How to change your life for the better” Yonge Rinpoche.

    “The art of being happy” The Dalai Lama XIV, Howard Cutler.

    in the Zen tradition (refers to Mahayana):

    “Fundamentals of Zen Buddhism” Daisetsu Suzuki.

    “Zen Consciousness, Beginner's Consciousness” Shunryu Suzuki.

    You can listen to some of these books in audio format on YouTube.

    If you need a short description, here are the general guidelines.

    The basis of Buddhist teaching is the sutras-texts that contain explanations of the Buddha. These texts are collected in the Pali canon. The main texts can be divided into three parts. Vinaya-pitaka, Sutra-pitaka, Abhidharma-pitaka. Vinaya-a collection of rules of life, vows for monks and a description of the life of Shakyamuni Buddha. Sutra-a collection of wise explanations of the Buddha, made by him during his lifetime to various people. Abhidharma is a systematization of the world order, a collection of explanations about the elements of the world, compiled by monks based on the words of the Buddha at different times. It is better to read the Sutra-pitaka first. It basically consists of collectionsAnguttara Nikaya, Мад Madjhima Nikaya, Sunyutta Nikaya, Khuddaka Nikaya, Digha Nikaya. There are other texts and commentaries of monks on the sutras.First you can read the Majjhima Nikaya.

    The main ideas of Buddhism are as follows. The most important goal of Buddhists is to completely calm the irritated, dissatisfied mind. The human mind is a stream of elements that exists as a result of the formation of the five skandhas, aggregates of elements. 1. Form design elements. Material moving elements (atoms, molecules, field quanta, energy, strings, and so on). 2. Elements for recognizing pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral things (I feel something). 3. Elements of perception, reactions to pleasant, unpleasant and neutral (I like it or not, or don't care). 4. Elements of will formation (I want it, or I don't want it, or I don't care). 5. Elements of experience, memory (last time it was pleasant, unpleasant or neutral). As a result of combining these aggregates, the idea of one's own Self arises, the illusion of a permanent personality, a single consciousness separated from the external world.

    There are two opposite states of mind — samsara and nirvana. Samsara is when the mind exists in motion. Existence is samsara. The three signs of existence are impermanence or movement (anitya), impersonality or impermanence of personality states (anatman), unsatisfactoriness or impermanence of the pleasant (dukkha). Any phenomenon in samsara has these three characteristics. Nirvana is different from ordinary samsaric existence. In nirvana, there is a sign of impersonality, but there are no signs of impermanence and unsatisfactoriness. That is, we can no longer say that in nirvana the mind exists or does not exist. This is a unique ontological status. If in samsara the mind is made up of different connected elements, then in nirvana there is only one fixed element of nirvana. This is compared to how different rivers flow into the same ocean, where they no longer differ. (In different Buddhist schools, the interpretation of this idea can be very different.) Existing consciousness in samsara passes perceived phenomena through the filter of the five organs of perception (sight, taste, hearing, smells, touch) and the mind, as the sixth organ of perception (thoughts). There are no such filters in nirvana. So samsara is the realm of illusions. Nirvana is the realm of reality as it is. Nirvana cannot be adequately described in words or concepts, as these are products of consciousness, that is, distorting filters. Nirvana can be revealed only in the process of direct perception of reality.

    In samsara, the elements of the mind are interdependent, connected. Because of the constant movement of the mind, there is attachment to past pleasant states and loss of the pleasant state, loss. The result is mental tension, restlessness (dukkha). This is the first basic truth of Buddhism. There are four of them in total (the four noble truths or truths for the noble ones-aryas). The second truth is that there is always a reason to worry. This reason is thirst, desires that lead to addictions, that is, addictions, attachment to the illusory permanent Self (both your own and someone else's). The third truth is that worry doesn't last forever. That it can be eradicated, neutralized, if its causes are removed. This means that every being can, with a certain readiness of mind, achieve a state of freedom in which there is no worry. Buddha is the name of such a being. This does not mean a deity, but an awakened being. Passed from samsara to nirvana. Absolutely all living beings have the Buddha nature-the potential to reveal reality, nirvana. Some schools believe that all beings will pass into nirvana sooner or later, and samsara will cease to exist.

    The fourth truth is about the way, the method of eliminating anxiety. This path was discovered by Shakyamuni Buddha during his practice. He then explained this method to the monks who had reached the same state of liberation. And then this teaching was first transmitted orally, and then recorded. First in Pali, and later translated into Sanskrit. The Buddha's path is called the eightfold path, because the Buddha divided its description into eight conditionally separate practices.

    1. Understand everything correctly. Do not distort the teaching.
    2. The right motivation. Strive from samsara to nirvana. From hatred to benevolence. From passion to impartiality. From illusions to reality.
    3. Talk properly. Don't tell nasty things and lies. Do not harm with words.
    4. Behave properly. Do not intentionally harm living things. Do not commit violence. Do not fall into addictions, do not debauch. Do not steal, do not seek to take someone else's.
    5. Lead the right lifestyle. Abandon practices, professions, cases related to causing harm, violence, distribution and use of intoxicating substances. Give up excesses, attachments to unnecessary things.
    6. Distribute forces correctly. Do not overexert yourself and do not be lazy.
    7. Remember correctly.
    8. Focus properly.

    The three main obstacles on the path are hatred-anger, greed-passion, illusions-selfishness.

    The main practice of Buddhists is meditation. It can be divided into two types. Shamatha and vipashyana. Shamatha is one-pointed concentration. A person chooses the object of observation and tries to keep his attention on it longer. For example, monitor your breathing. How air gets in and out. This practice helps to prepare the mind for the practice of discovering reality — vipashyana. This is an analytical meditation. After a person has focused and adjusted his mind during shamatha, he observes what concerns arise in his mind and neutralizes them by analyzing and eliminating the causes. Sometimes it is also beautifully said that a person lets go of disturbing thoughts. During this practice, one observes how the interdependent elements in samsara are connected. How all phenomena move, including the mind. The result of this practice is to calm the mind. Renunciation of attachments, leading to an unbiased and absolutely calm perception of the external world. In the course of this practice, there are several consecutive stages, which are called janas. Going through these stages as if in stages, as a result, a person reaches a state of non-return to worries. This state is called nirvana in life. Such a person lives the rest of his life in accordance with monastic vows, which become a natural way of life for him. It helps others free themselves from their worries. When such a person dies, it is called ultimate nirvana or parinirvana. In the Buddhist view, such a person did not live in vain and achieved everything that could and should have been achieved.

  2. I'll tell you where I started, and then choose your own path. I was interested in Buddhism as a child, when I was practicing martial arts. Then I read individual articles to understand what kind of religion it is in general. Then, at the age of 30, the topic came up again and I was really drawn to find a kind of spiritual refuge that would answer my questions. I watched a bunch of videos on Buddhism, and then I started watching them again. But it wasn't like that. I started reading the books of Thit Nat Hanh (in Russia they write as Tit Nat Hanh), because I was strongly repelled by more religious texts, and he has them spiritual or something, for any circle of readers. They left me with a very good aftertaste. Then I realized that Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy and a way of life. I was living in Vietnam at the time, and one day I went to a Zen monastery, where I found my teacher, who began to “guide”me. There were also Theravada monasteries. I went there too. I compared it. I realized that it was closer, and made my choice. So my practice began. Accepted” officially ” Buddhism (took refuge), received a Buddhist name. The teacher has already directed you to the right books, suggested which sutras to start reading and why. Many pitfalls that were previously invisible, but which could lead far away, have surfaced. Now I continue to work with him as well. Already remotely. I also study other schools, because even the Buddha himself said that we should be open to new things, we should not blindly follow everything. Everyone has their own path. Therefore, decide what you want to study for, you can read something simple, general, without significant delving into the teaching, and look for your teacher. It seems to be all the same, but the sea of techniques. To each his own. Even the Buddha said that there is one goal, but there are many doors – everyone chooses the one that suits him.

  3. Understanding Buddhism is about as easy as learning a foreign language perfectly. I will not be too clever, for a beginner I recommend exactly 2 books: 1) Torchinov “The Student's Path” – here you will be introduced to Buddhology and introduced to the main schools of Buddhism and explain the basics of philosophy. 2) only if you are interested in the Mahayana schools, I recommend ” Three Main Aspects of the Path “(Geshe Jampa Tinley) – at the beginning of the book, the root text of Je Tsongkhapa is presented, which, of course, will be completely incomprehensible to a beginner, but the rest of the content of the book is designed to explain each word from the root text in the simplest possible language and will lay a good theoretical foundation.
    And then-everything is in your hands. Here they recommend Shcherbatsky, well, it's definitely contraindicated for a beginner. This is a very powerful researcher who burrows into the wilds of Sanskrit, Buddhist dialectics and logic, I have immense respect for his work, but take it only if you are really ready for heavy academic work, a beginner, I believe, will abandon Buddhism from the second page of any of his books. However, if you are not quite an ordinary person who wants to walk on the top, but a person who wants to jump into the pool with his head and bury himself in philosophy and Buddhology-then few people can compare with Shcherbatsky, after Torchinov-feel free to try.

  4. Hello there!
    I suggest you start with “Phagawat Gitta” and learn the basics of Hatha Yoga. The time required for the concept and transition is from 3 years to infinity… It is good to find a competent mentor, someone who will not use you, using the unknown 😁

  5. Radhakrishnan's two-volume book “Ancient Indian Philosophy” – volume 1.

    Radhakrishnan's two-volume book “Ancient Indian Philosophy” – volume 2.

    And then we'll see. Please contact us, there will be no refusal.

  6. Spiritual practice of the East Mahasi Sayadaw and Nyanaponika Burma describe the method of meditation and creating conditions for them Yura Buddhist successful meditation!

  7. Buddhism is very diverse. You need to look at what can inspire you. What examples of practitioners do you find interesting?

    Buddhism can be fun, it can be serious, it can be boring, it can be mysterious, it can be very useful, and so on.

    But Buddhism cannot be intrusive. No one will run after you or call you to tell you something about Buddhism before you ask for it.

    It can't be criminal. The crippling treatment of living beings, including humans, animals, and others, is never justified.

  8. P. D. Uspensky “In search of the miraculous” or “Cosmology of possible human evolution” the second book is more concise, but the more difficult to understand,and the first is presented for a wide range of readers

  9. Start by talking to a monk. In Buddhism, the direct transmission of the teaching is extremely important. If you can't or don't want to find a monk, then try downloading and reading the sutras. By the way, very good translations of Torchinov and Ignatovich ” Sutra on the Lotus Flower…”, again “Sigalavada Sutra”. If everything is not clear and does not “fit” just forget it.

  10. “I want to learn and understand Buddhism. Where should I start?” You put the question correctly. What books do I need to read? To do this, you need to start your own research, from the world that is inside you, and then go to the world that is nearby. With people who profess this teaching. And you can only finish your studies by reading books.�

    P.S. You want to know this world, and for this you read books – isn't it stupid?

  11. From the biographies and extant utterances of Gautama, at least. Then, having somehow found your way around on your own, you can read Buddhist and near-Buddhist communities on the Web.� And there already choose literature.

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