Originally posted by underfelt Can anyone recommend websites or books that would serve as good introduction to buddhism and meditation?
Check out D.T. Suzuki. He has a wonderful book of essays on Zen Buddhism as well as a couple introductory texts. You can find them all on Amazon. If you find his style of writing inaccessible, check out Alan Watts' "The Way of Zen" (or any of Watts' books, really, as he is often redundant between books).
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki (this is not D.T.); Zen Beyond All Words by Wolfgang Kopp; The Zen Experience by Thomas Hoover (a history of Zen Buddhism in China and it’s beginnings in Japan, traced through the masters and told in a wonderful biographical style). The first two are both teaching books based on transcripts of Zen-talks by the authors (Suzuki taking a "softer" Soto Zen approach, Kopp a more direct "Rinzai-style" approach).
For less "Zen," Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor, and It's Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein (this is really a very good intro).
If your interest is mostly academic/philosophic/intellectual, then as bbarr mentioned D.T. Suzuki or Alan Watts are probably the best. They both wrote their works several decades ago but have never really been surpassed as expositors of Buddhism for the Western mind.
Steven Batchelor's works are good but technical and scholarly.
In terms of exploring the "spirit" of Zen Buddhism from an experiential perspective, as Vistesd mentioned Shunryu Suzuki's "Zen Mind, Beginniner's Mind" is excellent. ("Beginner's" in this case is not a reference to a "Zen nubie", but rather to the idea that the true "Zen mind" is always a "beginner mind" in the sense remaining unentangled by time and the dead weight of memory).
My personal all-time favourite Buddhist book is Roshi Kapleau's "The Three Pillars of Zen". This book is simply superb and deeply inspiring for anyone who is at all serious about the whole idea of enlightenment and liberation from suffering. Kapleau was an America who shortly after WWII heard a lecture by D.T. Suzuki which inspired him to travel to Japan. Once there, he spent about 12 years or so in Zen monasteries. After years of what felt like hopeless struggle to crack the mystery of the Zen "koan" (the key to enlightenment), he eventually had his breakthrough and became a Zen master himself. He returned to America and founded a number of Zen centers; he recently died near 100 years of age.
For Tibetan Buddhism, the classic work is "The Tibetan Book of the Dead"; there are several translations. Anything by Chogyam Trungpa is good, or Pema Chodron (who I personally once studied under in the 80s). Also good is Sogyal Rinpoche.
For Theravadin Buddhism, I recommend anything by Joseph Goldstein or Jack Kornfield.
Also good are writings by the old Japanese and Chinese masters, from Hakuin to Huang Po to Bodhidharma, etc.
Originally posted by redlentils www.wildmind.org is a good resource for basic buddhist meditation (mindfulness of breathing)
I like David Brazier's "the feeling buddha" - i think it makes a good, if controversial, intro to buddhism.
i would advise you to get along to a local buddhist centre and may be join an introductory meditation group. What type of buddhism are you interested in?
Hi Ray! Glad to "see" you. I was hoping maybe you'd bring some pureland perspective here. Hope all is well.
Originally posted by Metamorphosis Anything by Chogyam Trungpa is good, or Pema Chodron (who I personally once studied under in the 80s).
Pema is a wonderful person who is who she is as a dharma teacher precisely because of Trungpa Rinpoche's considerable influence. I would recommend any of her books highly. When I read Trungpa's The Heart of The Buddha (before I knew how direct and cutting Rinpoche was in his teaching), I was turned off by some of the things I read in it, specifically, his take on the requirements of taking the bodhisattva vow. After years of cultivating my own very flawed practice, I now understand more clearly the parts that I once found offensive. He does not mince words. Pema is more gentle and yet still very direct.
Originally posted by eagles54 Pema is a wonderful person who is who she is as a dharma teacher precisely because of Trungpa Rinpoche's considerable influence. I would recommend any of her books highly. When I read Trungpa's The Heart of The Buddha (before I knew how direct and cutting Rinpoche was in his teaching), I was turned off by some of the things I read in it, specifically, his ...[text shortened]... I once found offensive. He does not mince words. Pema is more gentle and yet still very direct.
Agreed about Pema. Trungpa himself was a complex personality, and he took some big risks. His official cause of death (at age 47, I think) was cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholism. Yet he was a brilliant teacher and regarded as enlightened by many. A man of strong contradictions, somewhat like Gurdjieff, Rajneesh, or Crowley.