What is Buddhism? In "Buddhism is Not What You Think" Steve Hagen, bestselling author of "Buddhism Plain and Simple" and a Zen priest, cuts through the many misconceptions surrounding Buddhism, and shows us its true purpose. Drawing on down-to-earth examples from everyday life, this practical and straightforward guide penetrates the most essential ...
What is Buddhism? In "Buddhism is Not What You Think" Steve Hagen, bestselling author of "Buddhism Plain and Simple" and a Zen priest, cuts through the many misconceptions surrounding Buddhism, and shows us its true purpose. Drawing on down-to-earth examples from everyday life, this practical and straightforward guide penetrates the most essential and enduring questions at the heart of the Buddha's teachings: How can we see the world in each moment, rather than merely as what we think, hope, or fear it is? How can we base our actions on reality? How can we live lives that are wise, compassionate, open and honest? What can it bring to our lives? This book offers a profound and clear path to a life of joy and freedom.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-08-11 Zen Buddhist priest and longtime teacher Hagen makes his central point emphatically and repeatedly throughout this book: Buddhism is about direct experience, not about the thoughts people habitually entertain about experience. A student of Japanese Zen master Dainin Katagiri authorized by his master to teach, Hagen cites the Buddha's one-word summary of the goal of Buddhist teachings: awareness-awareness of whatever is taking place in the ever-changing present moment. Hagen's Buddhism is oriented toward big questions, strongly ontological and epistemological, and concerned with reality and how reality is ordinarily perceived (or, as he argues, habitually misperceived, because it is overlain with hopes, desires, concepts and other delusions). So the author is not given to a lot of specific examples or stories from present life, though the book is peppered with the ancient-master stories that Zen teachers always draw on. The tone of the book is strongly didactic and abstract. Unlike Zen writers given to simplicity or poetry or startling paradox, Hagen relies on typographical conventions-italics and capital letters-to articulate and underscore his central point about Buddhist awareness ("to see Reality"), which contributes to a ponderous tone. His Zen exegesis of Emily Dickinson is provocative, and the book would have benefited from more such surprises and re-readings of the lessons of everyday experience. That Hagen isn't a poet of prose doesn't detract from the worth of his content, but it does make his book harder to read. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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