Practical advice for meditators, including treatment of the Korean practice of sitting with questions. The Way of Korean Zen includes an extensive introduction by a student of Kusan’s, Stephen Batchelor.
Richard Shankman’s valuable book The Experience of Samadhi lays out the main concepts surrounding the samadhi and the jhanas, then presents eight interviews on this subject with well known contemporary teachers. An excellent orientation.
In Japanese Buddhism: A Cultural History, Yoshirō Tamura presents a rich and complex interweaving of themes touching on nearly every aspect of life—so pervasively have Buddhism and Japanese culture shaped each other.
Part of Oxford University Press’ “Very Short Introductions” to just about everything, Michael Carrithers’ book The Buddha is clear and easy to read—and, as promised—short:120 pages). Considering context and source materials, it is much more than a biography.
Karen Armstrong’s lively and appreciative biography The Buddha was a New York Times best seller. Scholar, writer, and sometime journalist, Armstrong has also written fluently and sympathetically about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, focusing on ethical commitments and interpreting unfamiliar lifeways. In this book she offers a blend of early records and later legends as a biography of the founder of Buddhism.
Trevor Ling’s The Buddha deals with the Buddha’s context and the spread of his message in India and Sri Lanka. Reissued with a provocative new sub-title and an introduction by Paul R. Fleischman, it continues to be relevant.
Subtitled “How Insight Worsted Tranquility in the Satipatthana Sutta,” this book can be downloaded for free in several electronic formats, including PDF, EPUB, and Kindle, at https://archive.org/details/AHistoryOfMindfulness .
Early Buddhism flourished amid buoyant economic conditions and cultural changes in north-eastern India from the fifth century BCE onwards. This book begins with the apparent inconsistency of Buddhism, a renunciant movement, surviving within a strong urban environment, and draws out some implications. In spite of the Buddhist ascetic imperative, the Buddha and his monks moved … Continue reading The Sociology of Early Buddhism by Greg Bailey and Ian Mabbett→