Overview

Originally
published as
Entering
the Stream,
this
book offers a simple and inspiring answer to the question "What is the
Buddha's ...

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The Buddha and His Teachings

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Overview

Originally
published as
Entering
the Stream,
this
book offers a simple and inspiring answer to the question "What is the
Buddha's teaching?" primarily in the words of the Buddha and other
masters. This anthology draws on traditional Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and
Tibetan sources as well as teachings by contemporary Buddhist masters. Among
the contributors, both classical and modern, are: Ajahn Chah, Pema
Chödrön, The Second Dalai Lama, Dogen, S.N. Goenka, Dainin Katagiri,
Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, Milerepa, Padmasambhava, Reginald Ray, Shunryu Suzuki,
Nyanaponika Thera, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chögyam Trungpa, and Burton Watson.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This splendid collection of classic and modern Buddhist texts provides insight into the teaching and practice of Buddhism."— Publishers Weekly

"Among many good introductions to Buddhism, this one stands out for seeing to it that its principles and practices are presented—through either translations or original commentaries—by masters who have dedicated their lives to teaching Westerners. The result is a book which, while faithful to the Buddhist tradition, speaks unusually effectively to an English-speaking audience."—Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834823518
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/24/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 333,464
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Samuel Bercholz is the founder and editor-in-chief of Shambhala Publications.

Sherab Chödzin Kohn is coeditor of the best-selling anthology The Buddha and His Teachings. He has been teaching Buddhism and meditation for more than thirty years, and he has edited a number of the books of his teacher, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa. He has also published numerous translations, including an acclaimed version of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

"Buddhism"
is
a relatively modern Western term. The body of spiritual doctrine and practice
to which it refers has generally been known on its own ground, in countries
across Asia, as the Buddha Dharma, which is perhaps best translated "way
of the Buddha." This teaching came from one young man who "woke
up" from life's melodrama more than twenty-five hundred years ago and was
thereafter called the Buddha, "the awakened one."

Now
it turned out that this enlightenment of the Buddha's was profound and
brilliant, accurate and powerful, and also warm and compassionate. It was like
the sun behind the clouds. Anyone who has taken off in an airplane on a grim
and gloomy day knows that beyond the cloud cover the sun is always shining.
Even at night the sun is shining, but then we can't see it because the earth is
in the way, and probably our pillow also. The Buddha explained that behind the
cloud cover of thoughts—including very heavy clouds of emotionally charged
thoughts backed up by entrenched habitual patterns—there is continual warm,
bright, loving intelligence constantly shining. And even though in the midst of
thoughts, emotions, and habitual patterns, intelligence may become dulled and
confused, it is still this intelligence in the midst of the thoughts and
emotions and habits that makes them so very captivating, so resourceful and
various, so inexhaustible. This cloudy world of thoughts and emotions backed by
habits continually churns out what I referred to above as life's melodrama,
which from the Buddha's point of view is sleep. According to the Buddha Dharma,
everyone can wake up from this sleep. Everyone is capable of becoming Buddha.

When
we go to the movies, many of us don't only like to see nice, pleasant, lovable
movies. Just as much, or perhaps even more, we like to see sad, tragic,
painful, or aggressive movies, even horror movies. The positive and the
negative both draw us under their spell. In the same way, the Buddha
recognized, we keep our own personal melodramas (made up of thoughts once
removed) juicy and entertaining with these same very effective, sometimes
positive but often negative elements. According to the Buddha Dharma, the
personal melodrama that we keep going in one form or another over the years is
known as ego.

Basically,
of course, we know that even ego, or the sense of self, is made up of that warm
basic intelligence fully discovered by the Buddha, because there simply isn't
anything else clever enough to produce and maintain ego. But some kind of
confusion has arisen, like a storm blowing up out of a cloudless sky. It's a
very pervasive and stubbornly persistent storm. It contains all our hopes and
fears relating to the processes of birth, growing up, being in our prime,
aging, sickness, and death—a lot of pleasure and pain. But since the Buddha
himself had awakened from all that hope and fear, he knew awakening from it was
possible. He taught people how to go about awakening from it. With some people
he just showed them his profound, brilliant wakefulness directly, and they too
woke up on the spot, just like shaking off a dream.

So
that is what Buddha Dharma is about—recognizing our psychological condition
and working with it so we can wake up from the confused aspect of it. Buddhists
follow the way that the Buddha taught for waking up from ego's confusion. Of
course, occasionally one or another Buddhist wakes up before completing all the
steps recommended by the Buddha. There are always a few rascals around like
that. But most Buddhists patiently continue following the Buddha's path.

The
main method the Buddha taught to help people awaken from confusion is
meditation. Meditating in the Buddhist way is not like praying. It is not
trying to believe in anything or making utterances in your mind about your
beliefs, longings, or intentions. It is more like relaxing and just letting
things be as they are—without cranking anything up. We spend a lot of time in
our lives trying to crank something up. In meditating, Buddhists take the
approach of letting go of all that struggle and resting in the way things
really are, which is however they happen to be.

Various
techniques for taming attention, which tends to be wild and jump around
erratically when people first begin to meditate, were taught by the Buddha.
These techniques help to bring about natural composure in mind and body. This
in turn helps us to relinquish ego's ongoing struggle. As we learn to relax
from that, the turbulent and captivating ego world of thoughts and emotions
begins to become transparent, and our basic profound, brilliant, and loving
intelligence begins to shine through.

You
might think that if you let go of your ego world, you might become passive and
defenseless like some kind of crash dummy, and people will take advantage of
you. Or that you might wander around aimlessly in the street without an agenda.
If this were the case, as one contemporary Buddhist master pointed out, it
would be necessary to have enlightenment wards in hospitals to take care of
bruised or socially inoperative buddhas. But this is not the case. Rather than
being inmate types, people who have become enlightened to any degree are
builders of hospitals for other people. Their intelligence and compassion are
relatively unobstructed, and they tend to become quite active and effective
citizens.

Even
though the Buddha Dharma is based on direct experience and encourages its
practitioners to relate to naked experience with bare attention, there are
aspects of the teaching, which help to form a background for the practitioner's
effort, that seem like they are speculative thoughts at least one step removed
from direct experience. For example, we have the notions of karma and rebirth.
These sound like the usual kind of religious doctrines requiring belief or
faith. But let us look for a moment at these two teachings.

Karma
is a Sanskrit word meaning "action." The teaching about karma is that
the actions we take now will have consequences later. For the most part, this
is the everyday idea of cause-and-effect that most people take for granted. If
you kick a ball it goes. If you lose your airline ticket, you have hassles.
This is karma, action and its action, or effect.

But
according to the Buddha, action's action sometimes happens on a more subtle
level. Sometimes the conditions necessary for action's effect to happen are not
present. Let's say you murdered somebody in the woods. There was no one else
around and no evidence. Nobody suspected you at all. Yet there was a horrible
moment of raw aggression, unforgettably vivid. Does that just go away? Of
course we have the memory of it. But what is memory anyway?

According
to the Buddha, action's action does not tend to dissipate. The effect will tend
to happen some time, whenever suitable conditions are present. That moment of
horrible aggression is likely to have its backlash some time. But will that
backlash happen to you?

This
question connects the idea of karma to that of rebirth, or reincarnation. In
the India of the Buddha's time, in the first millennium BCE (as to a great
extent in the India of today), the notion of rebirth was taken for granted by
almost everybody. According to the popular Indian idea of reincarnation, you
get reborn again and again in different forms, sometimes as a human, sometimes
as an animal, sometimes as a god, sometimes in hell—in all kinds of better or
worse circumstances. What you do now, it is thought, will effect your future
rebirth. If you're greedy and mean, you might be reborn as a dung beetle. If
you're a splendid person, you might be reborn as a god or a king or queen. A
murderer will suffer a hideous situation somewhere along in the series of his
rebirths. Other karma might come to fruition first, but some time or other the
backlash of his aggression will strike him—with a corresponding force and
character, of course, because it is the action of his earlier action.

The
Buddha's teaching about karma and rebirth resembles this picture in some ways
but differs from it essentially. How? One of the fundamental teachings of the
Buddha is egolessness, the fundamental unreality of the self. If there is no
self that gets reborn, what does rebirth mean? And can you just die and get
away with murder?

According
to one Buddhist text, the
Kalachakra
Tantra
,
the karma of sentient beings is so powerful that it brings worlds into
existence in order to reach fulfillment. Between the existences of worlds—at
the right moment, when the necessary conditions have gathered—karma, the
incompleted action of the previous action of sentient beings, begins to
activate the basic particles of space. The particles come into motion
generating a vast karmic wind that stirs up the other cosmic elements—fire,
water, and earth—and a world or worlds are formed.

It
can also be said that individual sentient beings, like worlds, come into
existence through the coming together of the force of karma and other necessary
conditions. Causally related karmic elements tend to hang together in the
transmigratory history of sentient beings. In that way, memory itself seems to
be an expression of karmic continuity. But in most cases there are no coherent
conscious memories of the relationships that related the karmic elements that
are the threads of our everyday lives.

But
according to the Buddha, karma is not all-pervasive and all-determining. The
wind of karma only blows in the cloudy weather systems of thoughts related to
passion, aggression, and willful ignorance. In the endless brilliance of the
cloudless sunlit sky, there is nothing for it to blow. In open, unobstructed
space of sentient beings' basic intelligence, karma becomes inoperative. The
awakened one is victorious over karma.

Understandings
such as this, which may seem abstract, are part of the Buddha Dharma, because
they were included in the vastness of the unobstructed direct experience of the
Buddha and other enlightened masters of the Buddha Dharma. They have been
handed down through unbroken lineages of enlightened teachers stemming from the
Buddha himself as part of the support system provided to help people wake up.
But they are not required articles of belief. The Buddha discouraged people
from taking his teachings on blind faith. He invited anyone wishing to follow
his path to verify all his teachings personally and to maintain a healthy
skepticism until realization clears up doubts. So all the Buddhist teachings
are provided for the practitioner's examination and concrete testing. It is
always helpful to remember that the Buddha himself was not a Buddhist.

The
editors of this book have chosen a variety of texts from the centuries' store
of Dharma writing to give readers convenient access to the essential teachings
of the Buddha. The selection begins with a brief life of the Buddha and a quick
factual survey of Buddhist history. Then follow texts expressing the thought
and practice of the three main divisions of the Buddha Dharma, the Hinayana,
Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The works of great Buddhist masters of the past and
present have been included.

An
introduction to meditation practice will be found, as well as chapters to help
answer common questions about karma and rebirth. Thus interested readers will
find what they need to acquire a comprehensive impression of the Buddha Dharma
that has both depth and breadth.

Not
all the selections in this book make easy reading. A passage may be difficult
because it runs against the current of our habitual thinking. Sometimes meaning
may be elusive because the subject matter is subtle and profound. Also,
specialized terms have been developed over the centuries, and they have been
translated into English in different ways. (To standardize foreign terms and
lessen confusion, we have changed most Pali terminology in the selections to
Sanskrit. A glossary is also provided, of which the reader is encouraged to
make liberal use.) Still, with a little perseverance, the reader will be able
to gain insights that may bring helpful new perspectives to everyday life.
Trying meditation might be helpful. It is the way par excellence of discovering
the great truths in one's own experience.

Traditionally
it is said that when a person catches a glimpse of ego's confusion and connects
this with an aspiration to awaken, he or she begins to enter the stream of
Dharma. When you find you are trusting yourself in all kinds of new and fresh
ways you never imagined before, you are really getting your feet wet. These
days more and more Westerners seem to be doing this.



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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii

PART
ONE: THE LIFE OF THE BUDDHA AND THE SPREAD OF BUDDHISM

1. The
Life of the Buddha
Sherab
Chodzin Kohn
3
2. A
Short History of Buddhism

Sherab Chodzin Kohn
45

PART
TWO: BASIC TEACHINGS

Introduction 57
3. The
Buddha's Teaching
Bhikku
Bodhi
61
4. Words
of the Buddha
Translated
by Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya
66
5. The
Development of Ego
Chogyam
Trungpa
73
6. Seeing
Things As They Are
Nyanaponika
Thera
83
7. Our
Real
Home
Ajahn
Char
86
8. Moral
Conduct, Concentration, and Wisdom
S.N.
Goenka
96
9. Karma
and Its Fruit
Nyanaponika
Thera
122
10. The
Practice of Recollection
Bhikkhu
Mangalo
130
11. Unlimited
Friendliness: The Metta

Sutta 141

PART
THREE: THE TEACHINGS OF THE GREAT VEHICLE

Introduction 143
12. On
Trust In the Mind
Seng
Ts'an, Translated by Burton Watson 147

13. The
Heart Sutra
Translated
by the Nalanda
Translation
Committee
153
14. Exchanging
Oneself for Others
Gyalwa
Gendun
Gyatso,
The Second Dalai Lama
157
15. Loving-Kindness

Pema
Chodron
165
16. The
Bodhisattva Path
Chogyam
Trungpa
168
17. The
Sutra Called Flawless Purity: A

Dialogue
with the
Laywoman
Gangottara
Translated
by Garma C. C. Chang
177
18. Looking
At Living Beings
Translated
by Charles Luk
182
19. The
Enlightenment of Hui-neng
Translated
by Wong Moulam
192
20. To
Forget the Self

Dogen Zenji, Translated by Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi
205
21. Ten
Bulls: The Zen Oxherding Pictures
Kakuan, Translated
by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps
211
22. Unfettered
Mind
Takuan
Soho
223
23. Zen
Mind, Beginner's Mind

Shunryu Suzuki
227
24. Emptiness
Dainin
Katagiri
240
25. Engaged
Buddhism
Thich
Nhat Hanh
247

PART
FOUR: THE TANTRIC TEACHINGS

Introduction 251
26. The
Tantric Practitioner
Chogyam
Trungpa
253
27. The
Temptress and the Monk
Reginald
A. Ray 259

28. The
Union of Joy and Happiness
Tilopa 266
29. Songs
of Milarepa
Translated
by

Karma Tsultrim Palmo
273
30. Ati:
The Innermost Essence

Jigme Lingpa
283
31. Chase
Them Away!
Patrul
Rinpoche
289
32. The
Refined Essence of
Oral
Instructions

Padmasambrava,
Recorded by Yeshe Tsogyal 295

33. Rebirth
in
the Buddhist Tradition
Reginald
A. Ray
301

Glossary 312
Bibliography:
Suggested
Further Readings
329
Credits 332


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