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Five Buddhist Books to Start With |

Five Buddhist Books to Start With |

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Published by: lamacaroline on Jan 11, 2013
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5 Buddhist Books to Start With
This is a short list of books that I have found extremely helpful in studyingemptiness. The books by the Dalai Lama and Guy Newland begin at thebeginning and show you the road map through the direct realization ofemptiness. The book by Jeffrey Hopkins is a very practical and astute guideto doing the emptiness meditations. The book by Jay Garfield is currentlythe most authoritative translation of Nagarjuna's great treatise on theMiddle Way. And C.W. Huntington's book is an inspiring guide to some of themost profound and subtle work that the emptiness teachings can do.This list could have been ten or twenty in number. There are more books bythese writers (including Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and Tsong-kha-pa), as wellas books and articles by Karl Brunnholzl, Daniel Cozort, Mario D'Amato,Georges Dreyfus, Anne C. Klein, Elizabeth Napper, Pabongka Rinpoche, MarkSiderits, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, Jan Westerhoff, Dogen Zenji, and manyothers.So here is the list. Each book's bibliographical information is followed by alink to its entry in our large CiteULike bibliography. From CiteULike, you willfind links to Amazon and more information about the book, such as itsabstract or publisher's introduction where present.This list is given in order from 1 to 5. You can depart from this exact order,but I would recommend going through either (1) or (2) before tackling (3).Books (1) and (3) are experiential. I would recommend working your wayclosely through either one of them before reading either (4) or (5), as theselatter two books require more familiarity with the emptiness teachings. Butall of these books are extremely rewarding, and potentially life-changing.
1. How to See Yourself As You Really Are
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HomeAboutBrought to you byPhoto CreditsResourcesIntro to EmptinessComing from theAdvaitic/AwarenessTeachings? Special Pointers5 Buddhist Books to StartWithWestern Books to Start WithWritingsLinksTraditionsThe Kagyu TraditionClasses2/25 Emptiness class in NYCBlogCommentingContact
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5 Buddhist Books to Start With | http://emptiness.cohttp://www.emptiness.co/5buddhistbooks1 of 61/10/13 11:20 PM
HHooww ttoo SSeeee YYoouurrsseellff AAss YYoouu RReeaallllyy AArree. By H.H. the Dalai Lama.Translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins. New York. Atria Books (A Divisionof Simon & Schuster), 2006.http://www.citeulike.org/user/emptiness-co/article/9991027AAccccoorrddiinngg ttoo BBuuddddhhiisstt ppssyycchhoollooggyy,, mmoosstt ooff oouurr ttrroouubblleesssstteemm ffrroomm aattttaacchhmmeenntt ttoo tthhiinnggss tthhaatt wwee mmiissttaakkeennllyy sseeee aassppeerrmmaanneenntt..TThhee DDaallaaii LLaammaaThis book is written from the broad perspective of one of theworld's religious leaders, a leader whose goal is to promoteworld peace. But it is also remarkably accessible andpragmatic. It contains guidelines on how to get startedmeditating on emptiness, even including how to sit and how toavoid being too lax or too agitated during meditation. Thebook also discusses how to understand the relationship between emptinessand interdependence, how to understand the way things are set up byconceptualization, and what realizing emptiness tastes and feels like.One note: if you do use this book, be aware that the “Oneness” discussedand deconstructed in Chapter 13 is referring to the logical category of“sameness” or “identity,” in other words the opposite of “difference.” Thischapter isn't trying to refute the “togetherness” sense of “oneness,” thesense that people talk about when they wish that all people could get alongtogether. This sense of the word is being left in place. This kind of onenessis an important goal of the emptiness teachings!Overall, this is maybe the best single book to start with if you are new to apath of self-inquiry and wish to proceed with emptiness meditation. If youcannot find a teacher for this emptiness approach, then this book is evenbetter because it takes you every step of the way.
2. Introduction to Emptiness
IInnttrroodduuccttiioonn ttoo EEmmppttiinneessss:: AAss TTaauugghhtt iinn TTssoonngg--kkhhaa--ppaa''ss GGrreeaattTTrreeaattiissee oonn tthhee SSttaaggeess ooff tthhee PPaatthh. By Guy Newland. Ithaca, New York.Snow Lion Publications, 2008; Revised edition 2009.http://www.citeulike.org/user/emptiness-co/article/10007216OOuurr uutttteerr llaacckk ooff aa sseellff--eexxiisstteenntt sseellff,, aann iinnddeeppeennddeennttllyyeexxiissttiinngg sseellff,, aann uullttiimmaatteellyy rreeaall sseellff,, ddooeess
mmeeaann tthhaattwwee ddoo nnoott eexxiisstt aatt aallll.. PPeerrssoonnss aanndd ootthheerr pphheennoommeennaa ddooeexxiisstt iinntteerrddeeppeennddeennttllyy..GGuuyy NNeewwllaannddThis clear, concise (126-page) book is a very good one tostart with. It is an introduction to Nagarjuna's emptinessteachings as interpreted by Tsong-kha-pa (1357–1419), thefounder of the Gelug-ba tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. TheGelug-ba tradition (which is also the current Dalai Lama'stradition) puts great emphasis on the emptiness teachings.There are many helpful, well-written books in print from thistradition.This book is such a good first book on the emptiness teachings because it iswritten in everyday language, and it covers all the important points that one
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would need to get started, while not diminishing the transformational powerof the emptiness teachings. The book does a particularly good job ofshowing how emptiness is not the same as utter nothingness, and howemptiness is not at all antithetical to conventional existence. In addition, thisbook discusses:why we would study emptiness teachingswhat the emptiness teachings eliminate and what they keepconventional vs. ultimate existencehow to know if you are eliminating too much, or not enoughwhy quieting the mind is important, but is not enoughthe importance of analysis for insighthow to meditate on the emptiness of your selfThe book's list of further readings includes many of the same works we referto on this site.
3. Emptiness Yoga
EEmmppttiinneessss YYooggaa:: TThhee TTiibbeettaann MMiiddddllee WWaayy. By Jeffrey Hopkins. Ithaca,New York. Snow Lion Publications, 1995.http://www.citeulike.org/user/emptiness-co/article/9985923......tthhee iimmaaggiissttiicc,, ccoonncceeppttuuaall ppaarrtt ooff tthhee ccooggnniittiioonn ggrraadduuaallllyyddiissaappppeeaarrss,, rreessuullttiinngg iinn nnoonn--ccoonncceeppttuuaall ddiirreecctt ccooggnniittiioonn ooffeemmppttiinneessss..JJeeffffrreeyy HHooppkkiinnssThis is another very accessible introduction to theNagarjunian-style emptiness meditation, and follows Tsong-kha-pa's Tibetan presentation. It presumes the reader toposses a little more background information about spiritualitythan the Dalai Lama's HHooww ttoo SSeeee YYoouurrsseellff aass YYoouu RReeaallllyyAArree does. I (Greg) have read this book over and over for manyyears until the pages wrinkled, crinkled and began to fall apart.I have also used this book as the principal text forintroductory classes on the emptiness teachings.The first chapters are about Tibetan Buddhist history and doctrine, whichwill not interest every student. The more practical material begins on page55. This book is particularly strong on why the realization of emptinessrequires more than just quieting the mind. It explains why inference, analysisand insight are needed, but makes them easy. It also discusses a little aboutother paths, including Vedanta.Maybe the best thing about this book is Hopkins's practical knowledge ofhow it all works. He talks about the pivotal importance of identifying the“target of refutation,” which is the thing that the emptiness meditations aredesigned to deconstruct. This is related to the “razor's edge” Middle Waypoint of not refuting too much and not refuting too little. Hopkins provideslots of guidance about clarifying the target.Overall, Hopkins is a friendly guide, showing you the thoroughly modern
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