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Thread: Noble Eightfold Path

  1. #1

    Noble Eightfold Path

    What's a good book that explains (for lack of a better word) the Noble Eightfold Path? :?:

  2. #2

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    What's a good book that explains (for lack of a better word) the Noble Eightfold Path? :?:
    Hi Erik,

    Almost any and every book on basic Buddhism will cover the Noble Eightfold Path because it is ... well, the foundation of Buddhism. The question then becomes more which interpretation of the Noble Eightfold Path you wish to examine. Are you thinking of looking from a particularly "Zen Buddhist" perspective, or a more "Theravadan" perspective, or historical perspective, etc. All the same, but each with its own flavor. Let me know, and I might recommend something.

    Even I covered the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path recently ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/09 ... -four.html

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/09 ... xxiii.html

    Gassho, The Librarian

  3. #3

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    I'd suggest Steve Hagen's Buddhism Plain and Simple for a general view (and Jundo's talks too).

  4. #4

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    I'd suggest Steve Hagen's Buddhism Plain and Simple for a general view (and Jundo's talks too).

    I got that book! Great book.

  5. #5

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Almost any and every book on basic Buddhism will cover the Noble Eightfold Path because it is ... well, the foundation of Buddhism. The question then becomes more which interpretation of the Noble Eightfold Path you wish to examine. Are you thinking of looking from a particularly "Zen Buddhist" perspective, or a more "Theravadan" perspective, or historical perspective, etc.

    Gassho, The Librarian
    Hmmmm...good question. I'll say from a Zen and Theravada perspective along with a historical study.

  6. #6

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista

    Hmmmm...good question. I'll say from a Zen and Theravada perspective along with a historical study.
    Well, some of the best material I know is available on the internet ...

    The western born scholar and translator Bhikkhu Bodhi has his book published online, a dandy discussion from the point of view of a Sri Lankan Theravadan tradition ...

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

    Of course, you may want to read Guatama Buddha's own words, and I recommend this book ... also assembled by Bhikkhu Bodhi ...

    In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha) (Paperback)
    http://www.amazon.com/Buddhas-Words-Ant ... 268&sr=8-3

    A priest from Romania in the Hsu Yun Lineage has a very nice essay online ...
    http://www.hsuyun.org/Dharma/zbohy/Lite ... path2.html

    From a Zen Buddhist perspective, this essay has been around for awhile and is often mentioned (I will try to reread it, which I have not in awhile, but I recall it as good) ...

    http://www.skepticfiles.org/mys1/8fold.htm

    Apart from that, you probably want to make a historical study of the development of all Buddhist Philosophy, because the 'Four Noble Truths' and 'Eightfold Path' cannot be separated from the entire body of Buddhist history and evolution.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    The western born scholar and translator Bhikkhu Bodhi has his book published online, a dandy discussion from the point of view of a Sri Lankan Theravadan tradition ...
    Ah. Yes. We are using that essay in our sangha for dharma study.

    Flor de Nopal Sangha

    Of course, you may want to read Guatama Buddha's own words, and I recommend this book ... also assembled by Bhikkhu Bodhi ..
    Cool. I'll check at B&N.

    Thanks for the other links.

    Apart from that, you probably want to make a historical study of the development of all Buddhist Philosophy, because the 'Four Noble Truths' and 'Eightfold Path' cannot be separated from the entire body of Buddhist history and evolution.
    For a historical perspective, I am reading these two books:




  8. #8

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Those are wonderful, informative books. Gassho, J

  9. #9

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Hello!

    Du Moulin's book is very comprehensive and a great reference, just keep in mind that most of the stuff he writes is more likely to reflect how the zen schools liked to view their own stories and less likely to give you the current status quo of the academic debate which has moved on quite a bit since then and debunked quite a lot of assumptions that were still taken as fact back when Du Moulin wrote the major bulk of his first edition.


    Gassho,

    Hans

  10. #10

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    Hello!

    Du Moulin's book is very comprehensive and a great reference, just keep in mind that most of the stuff he writes is more likely to reflect how the zen schools liked to view their own stories and less likely to give you the current status quo of the academic debate which has moved on quite a bit since then and debunked quite a lot of assumptions that were still taken as fact back when Du Moulin wrote the major bulk of his first edition.
    What's a new book that might reflect newer historical understanding?

  11. #11

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    You are the new book reflecting up to the moment by moment latest breaking understanding!

  12. #12

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    You are the new book reflecting up to the moment by moment latest breaking understanding!
    Nine Bows, Keishin.

  13. #13

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    You are the new book reflecting up to the moment by moment latest breaking understanding!
    Can I find it in Amazon.com? :twisted:

  14. #14

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    But......seriously....what's a good new book on history of Buddhism?

  15. #15

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    But......seriously....what's a good new book on history of Buddhism?
    Several on our Treeleaf "Suggested Book List" I can recommend ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=889

    On the development of Mahayana Buddhism in general ...

    Mahayana Buddhism, The Doctrinal Foundations, by Paul Williams

    (There is also a book in that same series on Theravadan doctrine:

    Theravadan Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Columbo by Richard Gombrich)

    On Master Dogen ...

    Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist, Revised, Third Edition (Paperback) by Hee-Jin Kim

    On Zen Doctrine and development ... a couple of more specialized books by my friend, Steve Heine ...

    - Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theories in Practice, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2007)
    - Zen Classics: Formative Texts in the History of Zen Buddhism, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2005)
    - The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2004)
    - The Koan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2000)
    - Buddhism in the Modern World: Adaptations of an Ancient Tradition, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2003)

    And a good book I am re-reading now on Buddhism in the West (really, in North America and Britain) ...

    - The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition (Paperback) by James William Coleman

    That should keep you busy for awhile!

    If you are looking for a single volume history, nothing really comes to mind. The subject is too big.

    Gassho, Jundo

  16. #16

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    That should keep you busy for awhile!
    It will! :mrgreen:

    Thanks!

  17. #17

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    I've always found What the Buddha Taught to be a good book that covers the "basics" so to speak:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Buddha-Taugh ... 0802130313

  18. #18

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by replicant
    I've always found What the Buddha Taught to be a good book that covers the "basics" so to speak:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Buddha-Taugh ... 0802130313
    That is a favorite of mine too. I also recommend some very good books on the life of the historical Buddha: In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology from the Pali Cannon by Ven. Bhikku Bodhi, and The Life of the Buddha by Ven. Bhikku Nanamoli

    But one thing for folks to remember is that Buddhism did change and evolve over many centuries, as it passed from culture to culture in Asia. The Buddha lived 2500 years ago in ancient India, whereupon the philosophy passed to China 1000 years later, and then to someone like Master Dogen who lived about 1000 years after that in medieval Japan. You and I live in the strange world known as the 21st century. Certainly, some changes arose along the way in some important interpretations and outer forms. For example, the Chinese made Zen Practice very Chinese, the Japanese very medieval Japanese, and now we are making it very Western.

    However, the Heart of the Buddha's teachings ... the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Non-Self, Non-Attachment, the Middle Way, etc. etc., ... All are here now as much as there then!!

    How?

    On the one hand some outer stuff is, well, changed. For example, when Buddhism came to China it was heavily influenced by, and pretty much merged with, Taoism (not to mention that it was already "Mahayana Buddhism" by that time, a very different flavor from the original). The result was this little thing we now call "Zen Buddhism". So, congratulations, we are already "Taoists" and "Mahayana Buddhists" ... not just "Buddhists". When it got to Japan, the Japanese added Japanese culture to it. In the West, we are now making some very good changes (although we have to, of course, try to avoid bad changes). These good changes include equality of the sexes and a greater emphasis on lay practice.

    But it is still Buddhism. What Dogen taught was Buddhism. What we do around Treeleaf (I do believe) is as Buddhism as Buddhism can be.

    I will even go so far as to say (and this is the kind of statement that has gotten me into all kinds of trouble on with some folks in Buddhism's own fundamentalist quarters) that maybe, just maybe, later Buddhism actually made some big and important "improvements" to the Buddha's original formulation with all those additions, and a couple of thousand years of working out the kinks and bugs. It is much like saying that Buddha was Henry Ford, who first thought up the brilliant idea of sticking 4 wheels on an internal combustion engine, but now we can drive a Prius! I even say that maybe, just maybe, the Buddha was not infallible on every darn thing and, while he was 90% right in his proposals, he also had some klunkers and narrow ideas here and there (as fits a man who lived in a traditional, myth based society some 2500 years ago in ancient India) ... like the whole thing about an overly mechanical view of rebirth, the place of women, the need to abandon the world and family in order to Practice and to repress or extinquish (as opposed to moderate & balance & pierce) the desires and emotions. ...

    Also, do not forget that what the Buddha taught was an oral tradition for hundreds of years, passed down orally alone, until somebody finally wrote it all down hundreds of years after he was dead ... and then all the Buddhists immediately set to disagreeing about which of them had the "authentic" teachings. (The book "What the Buddha Taught" tries to play down that fact). That is why a study of the entire history of Buddhism is useful in knowing the interpretation(s) of the "Eightfold Path".

    Dogen was different from Shakyamuni Buddha, who are both different from all of us.

    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.

    Gassho, Jundo

  19. #19

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by replicant
    I've always found What the Buddha Taught to be a good book that covers the "basics" so to speak:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Buddha-Taugh ... 0802130313
    Dang! We all pretty much have the same books. :mrgreen:

  20. #20

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    How?
    Ah, thank you for the lovely reply, it is something I've tried to explaining to folks before, on my view that the Dharma is evolving, has the ability to evolve, and will continue. Heck, just think what it may look like in another 500 years in yet another culture that may adopt it, now that's some interesting speculation! 8) 8)

  21. #21

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Dang! We all pretty much have the same books. :mrgreen:
    haha, most likely so!!! :lol:

  22. #22

    Re: Noble Eightfold Path

    After the holiday fiasco, I must hunt this In the Buddha's Words... down. The few sutras I've read in modern, vernacular English have been insightful. After 2500 years and translation thru up to four languages, the Buddha's exceptionally clear and pointed style of speaking is still arresting. I've wanted to read more, but finding good modern translations is difficult.


    Speaking of books and translation, on a side note...

    Jundo-Sensei: If you would please, next time you see Nishijima-Roshi, please give him my compliments. I have finally started buying and reading Shobogenzo. I enjoy the Classics, and am accustomed to reading translations. Nishijima-Roshi's work is above excellent. The text and footnotes give such a complete feel for Dogen's message, that I think Dogen enjoyed playing with the kanji of compound words and writing in general.

    Despite Roshi's labour, Shobogenzo is still too hard for me to understand. Translation and time issues aside, much of it I still just don't understand. The "problem" we still have today: How to convey the unspeakable?


    Sylvia
    Atlanta

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