Learning about Buddhism

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Learning about Buddhism

Postby johnnywalker91 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:44 am

Hi everyone,

My name is Johnny and I'm a twenty-year-old college student attending school in freezing Massachusetts. I'm new to this forum and I've always been curious about Buddhism but hadn't gotten around to studying it until now. I did sign-up for an Eastern Philosophy and Religion course last summer but that was a survey course, now I want to study it in-depth.

I guess I wouldn't be posting this unless I had some sort of question. So my first question is simply this: can someone explain what the five precepts of Buddhism are all about?

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Re: Learning about Buddhism

Postby Jesse » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:10 am

I am fairly new to Buddhism, so take my words with a grain of salt.. I'm sure someone more experienced will answer your question soon.

The way I see the precepts are that they are simply guidelines for living that help reinforce the humble and gentle nature that Buddhism steers you to, and by following these guidelines you are also following the Eightfold Path. http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/eightfoldpath.htm

Buddhism to me, is about understanding yourself and the nature of your own mind, with the result being a more accurate view of reality. Within this more accurate perception you will find also many insights into the nature of other phenomena as well.

If you are truly interested in learning, I'm sure many people can offer you reading material.. and as someone who is also new I really, really recommend "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh"
http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Buddhas-Tea ... 0767903692

I've found TNH explains thing's in a very understandable way(alot of Buddhist reading material is tough to understand, for me), and he is also very inspiring at the same time.

Anyways, I hope I was at least a little helpful, and like I said I'm new so take my opinions lightly.

“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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Re: Learning about Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:38 am

johnnywalker91 wrote:I guess I wouldn't be posting this unless I had some sort of question. So my first question is simply this: can someone explain what the five precepts of Buddhism are all about?


The five precepts are the basic moral system of the Buddha. The purpose is to create positive karma and to avoid negative karma and eventually (after many, many lifetimes) to lead to full enlightenment. But in a specific life, if a person just followed the five precepts well (or even perfectly) this by itself would likely lead to rebirth in a god realm (you have to say likely because you don't know what other karma the person already has).

On a deeper level the five precepts can be a gateway to all the other Buddhist teachings. This is sort of the opposite of how many Westerners come to Buddhism through meditation. But traditionally the actual gateway to Buddhist practice were the precepts.

Practicing the five precepts also has the benefit that one makes a connection to the Buddhadharma which then leads to encountering the Buddhadharma in future lifetimes.

Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Learning about Buddhism

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:45 pm

johnnywalker91 wrote:So my first question is simply this: can someone explain what the five precepts of Buddhism are all about?

The Five Precepts
More on Precepts

now I want to study it in-depth

My personal recommedations starting out are:

Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition
Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu

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Re: Learning about Buddhism

Postby johnnywalker91 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:44 am

ghost01: I read Hanh's "Living Buddha, Living Christ" a long time ago and it was actually the first book that sparked my interest in Buddhism, even though it has sort of faded from my memory, I have to check out his other books. Thanks.

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Re: Learning about Buddhism

Postby Beatzen » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:04 pm

He was a theravadin master, but the bare bones approach of Ajahn Chah is a very down to earth place to start. And as another one of my favorites, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say "never forget the hinayana" - He was quite a drinker himself. He liked to say that the theravada was "like a straight shot. No concoctions."

"Food for the Heart" is a collection of his teachings that seems fairly accessable.
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
- Eihei Dogen Zenji

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Re: Learning about Buddhism

Postby Thug4lyfe » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:43 am

I recommend the Buddhism in every step series for new comers.

Easy to read small booklets thats specific to each topic concerned, including subjects such as rebirth, nirvana, feminism, youth, vegetarianism etc etc

http://blpusa.com/category/buddhism-in- ... tep/page/5

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