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Teachings of the Buddha by Jack Kornfield

Teachings of the Buddha

by Jack Kornfield

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Teachings of the Buddha, edited by Jack Kornfield, presents selections of Buddhist writings from Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan bodhisattvas (awakened beings who have followed and taught the wisdom of the Buddha). Kornfield, who trained as a Buddhist monk in Southeast Asia, cofounded Insight Meditation Center in Barre, Massachusetts and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California and has shared his knowledge of Buddhism though numerous excellent books. For this collection, Kornfield selected partial translations of 199 Buddhist teachings and meditations. The entries range from a few sentences to several pages in length. I bought this 1999 revised and expanded edition several years ago. I browsed it, reading selected teachings in the book, over a few years. Then I decided to read the entire book, i.e., from the beginning to the end. Reading it over the course many months was beneficial to me because I was able to contemplate the content and digest the meaning of each instruction before moving on to the next one. Although I have read many books on Buddhism, I certainly do not consider myself to be a scholar of this 2,500-year-old way of life. While some knowledge of Buddhism would be helpful to readers of this book, extensive knowledge is certainly not necessary for any reader to benefit from it. For those who may want to read more, Kornfield includes a six-page listing of the publications he used to assemble the translations included in this book. I recommend Teachings of the Buddha to anyone interested in Buddhism. The following few excerpts from this book may provide a taste for the potential reader:

Dhammapada (from the Dhammapada, translated by Thomas Byrom)
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
… reviewer deleted some lines …
Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help you as much,
Not even your father or your mother.

Fleeting World (from the Diamond Sutra, translated by A.F. Price)
Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

Mind Is Buddha (from Mumonkan, translated by Sumiko Kudo)
The Koan:
Taibai once asked Baso. “What is Buddha?”
Baso answered, “Mind is Buddha.”
Mumon’s Poem:
A fine day under the blue sky!
Don’t foolishly look here and there.
If you still ask, “What is Buddha?”
It is like pleading your innocence while clutching stolen goods. ( )
  clark.hallman | Oct 22, 2012 |
Easy to read translations from texts that span the different Buddhist traditions. I dip into this little book everyday.
3 vote flexnib | Oct 17, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0877738602, Paperback)

This treasury of essential Buddhist writings draws from the most popular Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese sources. Among the selections are some of the earliest recorded sayings of the Buddha on the practice of freedom, passages from later Indian scriptures on the perfection of wisdom, verses from Tibetan masters on the enlightened mind, and songs in praise of meditation by Zen teachers. The book also includes traditional instruction on how to practice sitting meditation, cultivate calm awareness, and live with compassion. Jack Kornfield, one of the most respected American Buddhist teachers, has compiled these teachings to impart the essence and inspiration of Buddhism to readers of all spiritual traditions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:03 -0400)

Offers a selection of materials on the teachings of the Buddha, chosen from Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese writings, and includes some of his earliest recorded sayings.

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