No nonsense Buddhism for Beginners – Book

Buddhism was in the list to learn. After reading the book, i understand, Buddhism is not to learn but to live. This book is a simple read and an introductory text for beginners. It is written as Questions & Answers for the readers.

Buddhism is a religion, philosophy and a way of life. It does not worry about the creator, what happens post death or the infinite universe. It talks about ‘Now’. How to be ourselves in that ‘Now’. There are multiple streams of Buddhism and it majorly falls under Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana Buddhism. These streams have base philosophy of enlightenment as core. Discipline, meditation, base script varies with in these Buddhist forms. Book is categorized in to history, core concepts, teachings and practices.

After going through this simple book, i can understand why Buddhism continue to spread. Focusing on the self, being responsible for our own actions, looking inside for solutions, taking reality as it is are true to day. Impermanence, Suffering, and non-self are key characteristics of human life. Impermanence is everywhere, but we deny to accept that reality. And think everything around us, including us permanent. Accepting the reality that everything is impermanent make us see things as they are and live the moment. Suffering is split in to three – suffering of suffering, suffering of loss and suffering of all-pervasive suffering. While first two are natural, be it with the pain we incur or with the loss of our loved ones. While these cannot be avoided, third type is the one that our mind perceives based on the external things. These are suffering we put on ourselves based on the society expectations (social status, religious beliefs), consumerist views (being beautiful, materialistic pursuits) and start developing hatred, greed or ignorance.

Non-self is something i have as well realised. Where is the fixed self, when it is changing moment to moment. It was not today’s self that existed yesterday. Everything around us change something inside us every moment. It says, there is only complex web of inseparable, impermanent causes and effects.

Suffering and cessation of suffering are core of Buddha’s teachings. After his enlightenment, Buddha gave four noble truths. It is dukka, samudaya, nirodha and magga. The truth of suffering, the truth of cause of the suffering, the truth of end of suffering and the truth of the path that leads to end of suffering.

Everything makes sense at higher level. One has to internalise and live to see what it means. Good book to start with inner journey !

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