Buddhism questions... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 01-02-2002, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Buddhism questions...

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Member posted 05-15-2001 12:00 AM
I was raised Christian (Mormon) and am still pretty cool with that. But I am very interested in other religions. I'm especially interested in Buddhism.
My Dh was raised Buddhist for the first 9 years in Korea but became Lutheran when he was adopted in the U.S. and he's not at all interested in Buddhism anymore.

Anyway I want to read more about it. Especially anything relating to parenting or diet or relationships. Any favorite books or websites? Especially websites.

Thanks in advance.


Member posted 05-15-2001 05:30 AM
Hi Katie,
The books that I absolutely love are by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk called Thich Nhat Hanh. The focus seems to be more on the practice of mindfulness in everydayday life, rather than an exploration of traditional Buddhism, at least in "Peace Is Every Step" which is my favorite book of all time, and which may not even mention the Buddha! Mostly he talks about not rushing and hurrying through life but paying attention to the little things and living mindfully. He talks about love, peace, compassion, joy and non-judgement -- all Buddhist (and universal) ideals and values, but in a contemporary Western context. Very, very accessible.

If I could afford it I would give everyone I know a copy of "Peace Is Every Step". Just yesterday my stepson who I had given this book to as a teenager (and who tends not to be "New Agey" at all) was saying what an impression that book had made on him and wondering if his girlfriend would read it.

Another author I have heard of but not read yet is Pema Chodron. She is an American Budhhist nun, and many people have loved her writing too.

You might also like Jon Kabat Zinn's "Wherever You Go, There You Are". And the book he wrote with his wife, Myla Kabat Zinn, "Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting". (See reviews on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...=2-3/107-27144 88-5479741 )

None of these are traditional Buddhist texts nor are they a history of Buddhism, but they are books that help incorporate the principles of Buddhism into our everyday life, and I think that's the best starting point because some of the other stuff can be pretty dry and seemingly irrelevant to life in the 21st century.

If you do get a hold of these books, I'd love to know what you think.

[This message has been edited by summermom (edited 05-15-2001).]

Member posted 05-15-2001 05:50 AM
There is a book called The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood which is quite good and easy to read. (ISBN:0-86171-129-7)
I'd also highly recommend The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. It's also available on audiocassette.

Member posted 05-15-2001 10:36 AM
I'm really just starting out in studying Buddhism. I started reading whatever I could find while browsing the internet, then found the most awesome bookstore with neat booksellers who can recommend good books. I started out with a book on the Four Noble Truths and went from there. I find Thich Nhat Hanh's books very readable. He knows both Western minds and Eastern, and writes so both will understand.
I've also heard that Pema Chodron is a good author though I haven't read any of her books.

I also just read a book titled "The Journey to Fierce Compassion" about the women and the female Buddha Tara/Kwan Yin (sp?), Hindu Goddesses, and Mary mother of Jesus. Very interesting book. I'm still not sure what her *point* was, but it was neat reading about how other women in the world find feminine aspects of god/goddess/diety to worship and communicate with. It was a kind of a look at how they compare and what their similarities are. I'm currently researching this further, and will probobly have to live at the library again this weekend.

Moderator posted 05-15-2001 12:43 PM
Pema Chodron is awesome
I have Start Where You Are
around here somewhere.

She is amazing and I really dig her. That is an awesome book for beginners.

She is a FOF and his brother did some rehab time in the monastery in Nova Scotia. Seems to really be a place of healing. He was doing carpentry there for his room and board. He would always write that the fox would steal his tools while he was working and he would have to take trips across the field looking for everything they had stolen.

anyway, I digress. I highly reccomend Pema Chodron.

Member posted 05-16-2001 11:57 PM
Thanks for the Reccomendations. I have read Everyday Blessings and I absolutly LOVED it!!! In fact that's probably what first fueled this interest. I aspire to read it every year! Well after I read it I was really centered as a parent for a while. OK maybe every MONTH would would be necessary.

I have read some of Thich Nhat Hanh on the internet. And I really liked his writing. i did seem very practical and logical and made a lot of sense. I will have to look for the book you mentioned. It sounds perfect.

I guess what attracts me to buddhism as opposed to what I'm used to is the non-judgmentalnes (is that a word?) of it. Accepting things and people while just trying to make yourself the best you can be. it sounds so good.

I asked my husband what he remembered about Buddhism from when he was 9. He said it was all about simplicity. And I guess that's a big part of what attracts me to it too. We'll see.

Do Buddhists go to church? I know that might be a silly question but I don't know of any Buddhist organizations around here and really want to learn more. It just seems so different from what I'm used to and I have no idea about how it all works.

Ok I'm babbling. I'll stop now.


Member posted 05-17-2001 08:44 AM
Hi there,
I've just started a 'mindfulness' course and Thich Nhat Hanh is mentioned at each session. I've also seen a video of one of his work shops and he is such a lovely person, he positively radiates peace and tranquillity. I didn't know he had a website though - does anyone have a link to it?

Mindfulness is so perfect for raising children who are natural experts at living in the moment. I feel very privileged to be given the chance to learn how to share this with them.

Best wishes,


Moderator posted 05-17-2001 08:56 AM
I adore "Peace Is Every Step." The concept of "smile yoga" is a very practical and simple way of alleviating (or maybe just postponing) stress. I've also read Naht Hahns's "Zen Keys" but it is obtuse.
I am not a Buddhist myself, though raised in the Nichiren branch of the faith, and very familiar with its Canadian leaders.

fernwood mama
Member posted 05-17-2001 08:03 PM
I don't know how it compares to other Buddhism books but I read Herman Hesse's Siddhartha when I was about 18, and while it didn't convert me, it really changed the way in which I look at life. Amazing book!

Member posted 05-18-2001 10:30 AM
There's a magazine called Tricycle (www.tricycle.com) that you might find interesting. There are sometimes stories about and letters by asian-american practicing buddhism in this country. I find it just facinating. For example a recent issue had a great debate about whether or not a good Buddhist votes.
I also want to say how much I loved Mindful Parenting. I've never read a book that meshed so perfectly with my thoughts and beliefs.

I also liked Siddhartha, but it's been so long I don't remember much about it. But I do remember it's a novel, like the Red Tent, based on mythical figures, but not meant to be factual.

Buddhist do have temples. There are MANY sects in this country. I have been to a Tibetan temple (in this country, oh, the tragedy of Chinese occupied Tibet, don't get me started) and a Zen monestary. Both hold regular services. The Tibetans chant mostly. The Zen people meditate and have dharma talks, which can be likened to sermons, I guess.

In college I studied eastern religions, mostly Japan's. From what I could tell, there is often a big gap between monks and lay practitioners in Asia, not like my experience growing up with Catholocism. In some sects, the monks really stay to themselves, because they are doing important work just trying to get enlightened. They don't mingle. The community pays for their food and monestary and temple, and reaps some sort of spiritual benefit just from having monks around, and knowing they are supporing them. When the need arises, they might visit the temple and meditate for answers or make a special donation. In Japan, many people visit both Shinto and Buddhist temples regularly, so you get confusing answers if you ask them what religion they are. To them, only the monks are Buddhists, and Shinto is just reality.

I think in America many non-traditional Buddhist organizations make an effort to offer things more like what Americans have come to expect; that sort of go to church on Sunday get some community and call youself whatever feeling. So it's not so all or nothing. Tricycle's web site has a directory under "dharma centers."

I've babbled a bit too here, but this is one of my favorite subjects. Happy seeking!

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