"How can the Buddha's teachings help me? Here? Now? In MY life?
A practical, feet-on-the-ground book answering all the questions and misconceptions that arise for people curious about the Buddha's teachings and what they offer in this modern life of ours.
For those with little or no knowledge this is a secular introduction. For those already practicing it's a secular reference book for key concepts and several of the Buddha's important lists.
Clear explanations of often-confusing concepts are brought alive with personal examples of the powerful impact of practicing the Buddha's wisdom — the dropping away of stress, angst and upset and the arrival of calm, clarity, energy, joy and open-heartedness.
The Buddha’s core teachings are made clear using Western cultural terms to understand and apply them, including characters from Sesame Street, the Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek demonstrating ideas.
Cutting through the array of orthodox Buddhisms that often confuse beginners, this book strips away the trappings of the cultures through which they came to us, helping us know the Buddha, his core teachings, how meditation and mindfulness fit in, what happened to the teachings after his death, and how to practice them now. It also answers many of the questions that often arise for newcomers like: Who was the Buddha? What is the dharma about? Is Buddhism a religion? What are the different ‘schools’ of Buddhism? Do I have to believe in rebirth? Is the dharma anti-pleasure? Is the dharma just meditation or mindfulness? Does the dharma teach passivity? Is the dharma anti-passion? Do I need to find a teacher or go to an Asian country to learn the dharma? Is the Dalai Lama a Buddha? Why are some Buddha statues fat? How do I start my own practice?….and more.
It integrates several concepts from modern psychology — the author’s background — and shares many stories from her home life, work life, and her experience as a World Champion Masters hurdler to demonstrate how the impacts show up.
As the Buddha did, this book puts aside unknowable issues like rebirth which are unnecessary for fully practicing the teachings. Worse, they're a distraction from the very real and practical project at the heart of his wisdom — flourishing in this life. Here. Now."