Buddhism Plain and Simple

Buddhism Plain and SimpleI implore everyone to read this book Especially those who are struggling mentally or going through a rough patch Regardless of your religion, give this book a go Buddhism has no doctrine, it s simply a way of life, a means to mindfulness And in this day and age, I think that mindfulness is something we can all do with It s plain and simple indeed. I return to this book every once in awhile because I will forget what I ahve learned the first time I do not want my star review to indicate that it isn t a good book It is written with enough anecdotes and simply enough to acheive what I think the purpose is to explain the basic tennants of Buddhism My problem is with Buddhism as he explains it All life is pain and we just have to learn to deal with it so we don t experience so much dissatisfaction in our life In this reading of the book I have come to the conclusion that Buddhism is not a religion, it is a philosophy It has very usefull componants but regardless of how much duhkha I feel in my life my experience that is that there is a lot out there I think that this book is a good, and quick, read but that it did not feel satidfying to me or convincing as a belief system. This Book Offers A Clear, Straightforward Approach To Buddhism In General And Awareness In Particular It Is About Being Awake And In Touch With What Is Going On Here And Now When The Buddha Was Asked To Sum Up His Teaching In A Single Word, He Said, Awareness The Buddha Taught How To See Directly Into The Nature Of Experience His Observations And Insights Are Plain, Practical, And Down To Earth, And They Deal Exclusively With The Present In Buddhism Plain And Simple, Steve Hagen Presents These Uncluttered, Original Teachings In Everyday, Accessible Language Unencumbered By Religious Ritual, Tradition, Or Belief I highly recommend Buddhism Plain and Simple to those who want a short brief explanation of the basic precepts mind fully you all, these are guiding precepts only, not Commands or Rules Commands and Rules would not be very Buddhist at all of a very old philosophical religion 2,500 years or so The author of this 160 page book, Steve Hagen, has stripped out all of the history, beliefs added by different cultures, ceremonies, and rituals with which the various flavors of Buddhism has accrued in its journey through Time and communities He only discusses the basic tenets and ideas of Buddhism.For the record, I believe I have infrequently experienced a sense of my self being gone, my perceptions only being activated, and I was seeing and being awake , which the author says is the point of Buddhism It happens during the first minutes of waking up from being unconscious for me I have epilepsy Having an epileptic fit isn t hardly ever an event which happens to me any, especially since I figured out how to avoid epileptic fits stay hydrated, eat regularly, exercise moderately, avoid drugs and, especially, never mix alcohol and drugs I have a single erratic brainwave apparently, or so the results of an Electroencephalograph I was forced to have after an incident in a restaurant, the fifth incident.I will describe a particular epileptic incident which represents how all such incidents felt to me, although exterior circumstances varied.Once, at a party, when I was 19 years old, I was sitting on a couch Two of my friends at the time came up and offered me a joint I had not much experience drinking alcohol at this point, but I had had a drink or two, here and there I had tried pot here and there as well, but it made me feel weak, dizzy I told my friends I thought I should not smoke a joint AND drink because I wasn t sure I could handle it The man friend was disgruntled Everybody else was drinking alcohol and smoking joints There was a lot of hilarity and joking I already had had a small drink But there were twenty or so people there, everyone was high, having fun, so I took the joint I remember taking three tokes.This is where I suddenly was no longer a self I was seeing I was a streaming moment I did not know where I was, who I was, what I was and I did not care I did not know I did not care, or have any worries or concerns I remembered nothing about anything past, present, my life I felt marvelous, without weight I slowly became aware I was floating in a dark blue place with a light above me, as if I was swimming underwater looking up at the sun Then I opened my eyes, and feeling slowly came to me awareness of my body bits, piece by piece, awareness without a single thought in my head To this day I can vividly recall every second of that being awake I looked around, slowly recognized the living room, the fact I was on a couch but I was blissfully at peace, weightless For many minutes I think Time did not exist Then I became aware my two friends were panicked, and while they had been talking to me, I had been not tracking what they were saying I was still feeling weightless, which lasted a long time, actually However my friends believed I was dead and everyone had run The room had emptied of all the people who had been there except my two friends Later I realized how brave this was, and why everybody else, who also were my supposed friends, had split I was underage, I apparently had died, there were illegal drugs everywhere, the cops would arrest everyone jail, lawyers, losing job, angry parents, etc So they all had left me there, maybe dying, without calling for help or trying to help me Except for these two people.Please gentle reader, take a moment to reflect on this, and on any situations similar to this which you may unthinkingly have been taking part in your own past Ahem I had a couple learning experiences about my epilepsy So, by the time I was 22 years old, I no longer did ANY drugs, and I drank alcohol in small sips And yes, it meant I was accused of being a narc at parties in the 1970 s, and a party pooper by many many many many many many many many people Btw, for those of you who, for whatever reason, feel disgruntled when people refuse to drink or do drugs BACK OFF Ahem Anyway, this state I enter whenever I inadvertently trigger an epileptic attack is evidently what the endgame of Buddhism is about, except with a lot of philosophy And note Buddhism doesn t recognize the existance of the concept of endgame P.S I do not recommend inducing epilepsy as a shortcut to a Buddhist peace of mind For one thing, bruises For another concussions from hitting sharp and hard objects when you lose consciousness And lastly, people are terrified, not blissed out over your achievement It turns out the Body is painfully streaming in realtime, HD and ephemeral as life may be. I received this book from a longtime family friend as a Christmas present last year, and really enjoyed it Hagen makes mention of two other great books, Zen Mind, Beginner s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh I read both of these in 2008 and agree with Hagen that they are must reads for those interested in Buddhism or meditation.This book also falls into the must read category, in my opinion I have read quite a few books on the subject, but this one is unique Hagen effectively describes Buddhist concepts, focusing on real world application than definitions This makes the book easy to understand and relatable.Buddhism Plain and Simple is broken up into three sections I The Perennial Problem, II The Way to Wake Up and III Free Mind Each section flows into the next, the way good writing should, while also standing on it s own I would easily suggest this as essential Buddhist literature, or even as a meditation practice manual to my closest friends Hagen s humility can be found on each page, and as a reader I got the sense that he wrote the book in an effort to really reach people and help improve our current situation After all, we re all stuck together for the time being, so why not make the best possible world that we can 5 5 Stars 159 pages Published in 1997. The only reason I rated this a 4 rather than a 5 is because this is such a deep thought provoking book that I don t think I could truly grasp everything that this book has to offer That said, I will definitely be rereading it again in the future to do so There are so many deep philosophical concepts in this one I understood a lot in the beginning but towards the end, it got a bit too deep to the point where I was a bit confused Something at the end that gave me a sense of understanding and pulled lots of the ideas around for me was, Things only exist in relation to other things, thoughts, and feelings , which honestly, you d have to read the book to fully understand I feel like so many ideas where planted in my mind with this book but thats all it was Now it s up to me to keep growing that seed and fully grasp the understanding of what it truly means Here are a few other quotes that spoke to me on a deep level If only you would stop telling yourself what it is, or asking yourself what it might be, or speculating on what it might look like, it would become readily apparent You are not lacking a thing You only need to stop blocking or interpreting your vision We thirst for nonexistence when we want to be released from this world of pain and vexation. This book is a good overview of the core of Buddhist thinking It can be difficult for many Westerners to explore Buddhism because many sects are built around particular Asian cultures and philosophies Steve Hagen distills Buddhism down to its core philosophy, making it practical and accessible for all I still struggled with some concepts, however For example, the concepts of constant change and elimination of the self While I understand that nothing is static in the universe, I still find the concept of the self has a very real meaning I don t deny that my body and mind are changing from moment to moment, but there is also significant continuity I have trouble understanding how acknowledgment of such changes can be applied to my daily living I do, however, understand the broader points about non attachment, so I may be taking his words too literally I may have to re read some chapters.Overall I think this book is a very good primer for those interested in learning about Buddhism. If you re a western Buddhist, there s a little high moment happening right here and right now Starting about 15 years ago, his holiness the Dali Lama or HH as hipster in the know Buddhist s are apt to refer to him began his now legendary Mind and Life meetings with western psychologists and neuroscientists including Richie Davidson, Paul Ekman, Daniel Goleman, Daniel Siegel and the likes This, in addition to the foundational and incredibly boring work of Jon Kanan Zinn, and the spectacularly lovable but vanilla as all get out baby boomer era Buddhist icons, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharen Salzburg and that wild thing Pema Chodren basically launched the N B 2 New Wave Of Buddhism 2.0 renaissance were currently experiencing Yeah Anyway, the Mind and Life crowd have issued tons and tons of sciencey books that frame Buddhist philosophy, practices and phenomena in terms of their snap crackle pop psychological constructs and neurological concomitants This book is not yet another one of those At this point we probably have enough of those So good NOTE if I sound snarky about all of this, it s just an 80 s era, insecure adolescent to cool for everything and everyone defense mechanism that I haven t entirely outgrown Mea culpa I m actually a BIG BIG fan of the Neuroscience meets Meditation trend Not only is it fascinating AF to hear about how meditation changes your brain, affect, cognition and behavior.It s also super assistive in traversing the enormous dung heap of irrelevant religious nonsense that the Buddhist, and other eastern contemplative wisdom traditions are mired in Go ahead and hate me for saying that But please bare in mind, that I m a long time practitioner, and I have extensive training and experience in Hindu and Buddhist traditions Additionally, I have extensive training in the social sciences and I m a working licensed therapist If I bag on the eastern traditions, and popular psychology, it s pretty much from an insiders perspective I m at least a prosumer i.e professional consumer of these books and ideas So rest assured, I m not that run of the mill, board IT guy in a gamer chat room, sub readdit dwelling, myopic, blowhard, tiki torch, golf shirt and khakis sporting hater type In other words, I m not your average shitty atheist skeptic I am a shitty atheist, but I d like to assure y all that I m not one of those guys I hope.Anyway This is all a round about way of saying a there are tons of good this is your brain on Buddhism books available, and b this is not one of those books.This book is good, and useful for a whole different and equally important reason But it s not one of those This book is useful because it translates some of the frequently overwrought and subsequently confusing as hell Buddhist ideas into fairly down to earth, smart enough, plain ol English Not as easy as it sounds, and this book does a respectable job of it.Buddhism has changed every culture it has encountered, and conversely, every culture Buddhism has encountered has changed it Buddhism is hitting our western, materialistic, dualistic culture, and we re hitting back, to everyone s benefit, with some systematic, hard nosed methodological clarity In addition to grounding Buddhist practices in a systematic, materialist, monistic framework, the west is also in the process of squaring the Buddhist world view with western philosophical traditions For instance Heraclitus s doctrine of eternal change is oft summarized with the phrase no man can step into the same stream twice, for it is not the same river and it is not the same man.This notion is frequently cited as a western philosophical analog to the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence Anitya which asserts that everything in existence, without exception, is transient, evanescent, inconstant and thereby fundamentally unsatisfying In other words The world is falling apart and it makes us all feel crappy Cool right Anitya impermanence is intimately associated with another Buddhist doctrine of Anatta no self which declares that things including you and I have no essence, or soul or no permanent self.In other words, there is no such ting as a soul, and that self ego thing you re identifying with is simply psychological smoke and mirrors Don t make me quote Niche Cuz I will Dukha human suffering stems from obsessively and compulsively an necessarily unsuccessfully trying to find lasting satisfaction in this churning, changing impermanent and illusory world self stuff Sartre and Camu anyone Buddha, Dharma and Songha roughly translated as self knowledge and mastery, effective training, and community of likeminded individuals is our only reliable refuge in this shit storm of suffering also known as the human condition Now we re talkin Bill W and friends if you catch me But please, please don t get me started Anyway I don t know about y all, but so far, none of this is counter to my experience And if I was religious, this would definitely be the one This book does a nice job of expanding upon these concepts and bringing them to life in a way that won t insult the intelligence and intellectual training of an educated contemporary western reader However Some of the poopy Buddhist bath water is still on this baby Unfortunately, some of the cherished Buddhist ideals depend on magical thinking These are hard to discuss in this limited format, but in a nutshell, Buddhist s frequently conflate phenomenologically derived epiphany i.e cathartic meditation experiences, with scientific methodology and fact In other words, they often confuse experience with experiment, and make baseless truth claims about the fundamental nature of things derived from meditation experiences that were emergent from indoctrination in the Buddhist world view to begin with Thought Experiment if I tell you that the universe is one big conscious entity, and that we can merge with that big universal consciousness by mediating, and you believe me, and then you sit down and experience something like a non personal awareness, does this constitute proof of the initial hypothesis Answer no But a lot of Buddhists would claim yes, and even go so far as to claim this as a scientifically valid experiment It s not It s actually like, um, how do you say, ummmmm the opposite It s a valid first person observation, but it s not a reliable third person experimentally valid, double blind, randomly assigned, placebo controlled, replicated, peer reviewed finding No it is not So stop Please It s embarrassing In a time when it is increasingly evident, the it s bad news to become siloed in divisive red verses blue world views, due to clever and well intended algorithmically derived personalized news and information feeds that ALWAYS obey your preferences, and ONLY confirm your biases.The problematic nature of an uncritical approach, to taking as fact, a quasi religious, magical truth claim, based on first person experiential observation, of an intrinsically ambiguous phenomena, conditioned i.e psychologically primed by a compelling however nonsensical notion, floated on top of other comparatively reasonable philosophical presuppositions, should be self evident Just think of every religious cult, or cockeyed, half baked, well meaning but actually disastrous political or cultural anything for examples Any way, some of this type of nonsense is alive and kicking in this text So buyer beware If I were to take the middle path, I d say I like this book But that would be an unsatisfying synthesis of my actual moment to moment experience of this text 70% of the this book rocks 25% is squishy but useful.5% is poopy effluvium great word, look it up RN if you don t already know it.That being said, the author seems like a mensch, and I really did enjoy this book and benefit from it immensely, and I d say the world is a better place because of this nifty lil text.So bring your inner shitty, skeptical, curious, open, accepting and loving self or no self if you want to go there to your one, wild, first person experience of this largely awesome and at times sort of squishy, and at other times even a little intellectually bio hazardous real good read. This is a favorite Buddhist book of mine Steve Hagen keeps the subject matter extremely simple and focused on mindfulness and our misperceptions of reality I wouldn t say this would be a very good first book to read but it should definitely be the second or third book you read as you are beginning to explore zen buddhist thought.I especially love his take on exploring the afterlife He essentially says it doesn t matter, that it s an ancillary concern I couldn t agree and it was nice reading a book that doesn t feel the need to explore the unknowable in order to justify Buddhism as a complete religion. Reading I quickly began comparing this to Buddhism without beliefs from the reviews of those books on this site the impression is that that book is controversial and this one conventional however they struck me as strikingly similar in tone and approach If Buddhism without beliefs threw out the Buddha with the bathwater then Hagen goes further and throws out the bath too indeed he eventually describes existence as a stream in which we may be present and so distinctions between bath, Buddha and bathwater are not merely unhelpful, but the cause of the pain of conscious awareness If you meet the Buddha upon the road kill him As the saying goes view spoiler In practise, if you meet people along the road, please don t kill them, unless it is strictly necessary hide spoiler

Stephen Tokan Steve Hagen, R shi, born 1945 is the founder and head teacher of the Dharma Field Zen Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Dharma heir of Dainin Katagiri roshi.He is a published author of several books on Buddhism Among them, Buddhism Plain Simple is one of the top five bestselling Buddhism books in the United States.He has been a student of Buddhist thought and pract

➹ [Read] ➵ Buddhism Plain and Simple By Steve Hagen ➼ – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 159 pages
  • Buddhism Plain and Simple
  • Steve Hagen
  • English
  • 02 February 2017
  • 9780140195965

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