Adventures in Reading

Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day
August 15, 2007, 7:04 pm
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , , , ,

I started Buddhism Plain & Simple by Steve Hagen yesterday and am roughly a third of the way through the book. I must confess between this book and the Buddhist magazines I have been flipping through this week that I’m not particularly impressed with the representation of Buddhism. I have read disparaging and misrepresenting remarks about atheism, existentialism, and political correctness, which has started to cool me off on the topic of Buddhism but I will persevere. Atheism and existentialism are not nihilism and Buddhism and existentialism actually to seem to have some similar basic properties so I’m not sure what the keenness of separating the two are.

My favorite part of the book so far was a description of how Buddhism works compared to religions. Imagine this: my hand is closed into a fist and I tell you that within my hand is an acorn. At this point you have a variety of options: one, you believe the acorn exists; two, you remain skeptical about the existence of the acorn; three, you choose not to believe in the acorn; or four, as you can not see the acorn it does not exist in reality and you opt not to bother. As someone with a mixed religious background I can say this part of Buddhism intrigues me. The other part of the book I dislike is that it reads as a self-help manual (I’m assuming this as I’ve never read a self-help manual) and I often find my eyes glazing over in boredom and must reread passages.

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