What books would you recommend for learning practical Taoism/Buddhism?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by WhitePanda, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. WhitePanda

    WhitePanda A hero for fun.

    What books would you recommend for learning practical Taoism/Buddhism? What do you think the practical aspects of these two religions are and how do you apply them to your own life?
  2. WhitePanda

    WhitePanda A hero for fun.

    Right now I am reading Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions. It is a bit of a difficult read because many of the words they use are not English. However despite this it does contain more than a few gems.
  3. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    I hope you know that Taoism and Buddhism are different religions.

    For Taoism I'm fond of "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff. He uses the Pooh Bear characters and stories, which probably everyone is familiar with, to explain Taoism.

    For Buddhism I like "Jesus for a Buddhist" by Scott MacPherson. He explains the essential beliefs of Buddhism in Christian language, and the essential beliefs of Christianity in Buddhist language, so that each makes sense to the other.

    As for a practical application, I don't know of anything more concrete than the advice of Bill & Ted: "Be excellent to each other." Living the life is both that simple and that complicated.
  4. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

  5. WhitePanda

    WhitePanda A hero for fun.

    Could you expand on this? I am not intending to become a Buddhist or a Taoist anytime soon, but rather take mundane aspects of each religion and leave out the more mystical aspects.
  6. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Well simple meditation and such is very useful, it's a lot harder than some think.
    Just being able to calm the mind and be in the present.

    Then there are the precepts.

    I take the precept to abstain from destroying living beings.
    I take the precept to abstain from taking things not given.
    I take the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct.
    I take the precept to abstain from false speech.
    I take the precept to abstain from taking anything that causes intoxication or heedlessness.

    Now some of those are very hard to keep in today's world but they are not absolute rules. It's about discerning when it might be appropriate to break those for the benefit of others.

    So in some ways it's a form of ethical practice.
    sparkyparky likes this.
  7. WhitePanda

    WhitePanda A hero for fun.

    Well there goes my weekend.
    On a serious note I couldn't get that link to work. What types of meditation do you recommend?
  8. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Sorry that link was automatic, I think MAP turned the word "meditation" into an ad link or something.

    Just start by learning to calm your mind. Our mind will naturally jump around from one thing to another so before you can get anywhere you need to calm and focus it.

    At home the most convenient method is probably to do seated meditation on a chair. Posture is very important, make sure the chair is the same height as your knees, keep your feet a step and a half apart.

    For the upper body. Extend your spine, lift the chest a little but don't force it out, pull the chin in slightly and let your shoulders drop and relax. Make sure there is a vertical line from the back of your head to your spine and hips.

    Take a deep breath and exhale, do this three times.

    Up to you if you close your eyes or have them half open.

    When you exhale count to yourself "one" and on inhaling "two".

    Keep this up exhaling on odd numbers and inhaling on even.

    Put your attention on your breath going in and out of your nose, so you can feel it going in and out.

    Make sure your breathing is comfortable.

    Now you can either count from one to a hundred and start again or when your attention strays, and it will, go back to counting from one again. It depends on you, personally I just focus on my breath rather than counting.

    Don't get frustrated when this happens and don't try and suppress any thoughts that arise. Just be aware of them and let them rise and fall.

    Meditation can be very hard and ideally you need a teacher because some odd stuff can happen, not to mention the more practical aspects such as proper posture.
  9. runcai

    runcai Valued Member

    You can look up Laozi and Zhuangzi in ctext.com translated to England, and if you are thinking about zen buddhism than these texts are also a must.
  10. 23rdwave

    23rdwave Valued Member

  11. runcai

    runcai Valued Member

    Sorry, should be ctext.org.
  12. Petson

    Petson New Member

    interesting topic, I'm also looking for this kind of books. I red only "Catching the Big Fish" and it really inspired me.
  13. old palden

    old palden Valued Member

    Try "Relaxing Into Your Being" by Bruce Frantzis for an accessible and in depth take on Taoist spirituality, and for Buddhism, "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema.

    Then--go find a live teacher, because like martial arts, to have any value, the ideals must be embodied, not merely understood conceptually--and that rarely happens without a teacher.
  14. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    For learning meditation I thoroughly recommend the study society. I believe it is principally Uk based but has groups spread around the world.

    I recommend it because they do not profess to have the one true way of doing anything, they practice several different meditative traditions.

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  15. Mianbao shifu

    Mianbao shifu Just standing around

    Search for Taoism 101
    You can also find a PDF of the Nei yeh on line
    Books: Dao De Ching, Zhuang Zi, Daozang

    There are a few by the Dalai Lama that are not bad, sorry I cannot remember the titles of the top of my head.
    And if you can find it
    Discover Zen by David Fontana

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