RECOMMENDED READING (Entries marked are by free distribution only; they're available in af

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

RECOMMENDED READING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Entries marked * are by free distribution only; they're available in affiliated wats or meditation centres and in libraries.) [Entries marked ++ are available in electronic editions via DharmaNet International, for free distribution.] Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. //Buddha-Dhamma for Students//. The Dhamma Study and Practice Group, 1988; 85 pages. Questions and answers to such intriguing questions as "What subject did the Buddha teach?," "What should a layperson study?," "Where can we find the Buddha?," "What is Nibbana?," "Where can we put an end to suffering (dukkha)?" From 2 talks given to university students in Bangkok. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu is probably Thailand's most famous monk. His straightforward explanations of Dhamma practice have made the Buddha's teachings available to many people. (See "Suan Mokkh" under Southern Thailand for a description of his monastery and practice style.) Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. //Handbook for Mankind//. Dhamma Study & Practice Group (Bangkok), 1989; 127 pages. This popular book presents Dhamma in very clear English. Topics include "The true nature of things," "Grasping and clinging," "The threefold training," "Insight by the nature method," and "Emancipation from the world." Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. //Heart-Wood from the Bo Tree//. Suan Usom Foundation (Bangkok), 1985; and Wisdom Books (Boston), 1991; 99 pages. Collection of 3 talks about the heart-wood (pith or essence) of the Buddha's teachings - the dwelling with an empty mind free of clinging to the feeling of "I" and "mine." The author explains how the principle of emptiness can be a wonderful tool in Buddhist practice. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. //Mindfulness with Breathing: Unveiling the Secrets of Life//. The Dhamma Study & Practice Group (Bangkok), 2nd edition, 1989; 174 pages. A well-written, step-by-step guide for the practice of anapanasati meditation. The author provides inspiration, advice on getting started, and guidance to the development of the highest benefits. A translation of the Buddha's Anapanasati Sutta has been included in the appendix of the 2nd edition. Buddhaghosa, Bhadantacariya. //The Path of Purification (the Visuddhimagga)//. Translated by Nanamoli Bhikkhu. Buddhist Publication Society, 1956-1979; 885 pages. A systematic summary of the Buddha's teachings. Useful as a reference to Buddhist meditation techniques. Buddharakkhita, Acharya. //METTA; The Philosophy & Practice of Universal Love//. Wheel Publication no. 365/366 of Buddhist Publication Society (Kandy, Sri Lanka), 1989; 48 pages. The Buddha's "Karaniya Metta Sutta" (Hymn of Universal Love) in Pali and English, aspects of metta, techniques for doing the practice, and the blessings of metta. Chaa, Ajahn. //A Still Forest Pool//. Edited by Jack Kornfield and Paul Breiter. Theosophical Publishing House, 1985; 192 pages. A collection of short pieces, full of wisdom and humor. Ajahn Chaa had great skill in training monks - both Thai and foreign - at his Wat Nong Pah Pong and Wat Pah Nanachat (see descriptions under Northeastern Thailand) Debvedi, Phra. //Sammasati; An Exposition of Right Mindfulness//. Buddhadhamma Foundation (Bangkok), 1988; 58 pages. An explanation of some of the facets of Right Mindfulness, the seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold Path. Meditators will find the information very helpful in understanding the process of wisdom development. Dhamma Theerarach Mahamuni, Ven. Phra. //The Path to Nibbana (An Introduction to Insight Meditation)//. Section 5 of Wat Maha That (Bangkok), 1989; 82 pages. A meditation guide for experienced students with practical advice, 16 meditation exercises, and a "Manual for checking your "vipassana kammatthana progress."" Vipassana practice as done in Section 5 of Wat Maha That (see description under Bangkok). *Dhammadharo, Ajahn Lee. //Food for Thought//. Wat Asokaram, 1989; 85 pages. "Eighteen Talks on the Training of the Heart." Reflections on dealing with day-to-day difficulties and on the value of meditation practice. Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo (1906-1961) studied in the forest tradition with meditation master Ajahn Mun, then later founded Wat Asokaram (see description under Central Thailand). ++*Dhammadharo, Ajahn Lee. //Keeping the Breath in Mind//. Wat Asokaram, 1990; 82 pages. Descriptions of 2 techniques of mindfulness with breathing, followed by advice on development of the practice. *Disciples of Ajahn Chah. //Seeing the Way; Buddhist Reflections on the Spiritual Life//. Amaravati Publications (Hertfordshire, England), 1989; 218 pages. "An anthology of teachings by English-speaking disciples of Ajahn Chah." A biography and teachings of Ajahn Chah appear at the beginning, but this book is really about the foreigners who ordained and trained in the forest tradition under him. In many ways these short pieces about and by these monks -- full of wisdom and humor -- portray the development of the senior western sangha. (All but Ven. Gavesako of Japan have come from western countries.) Jandamit, Helen. //The Way to Vipassana; A Guide to Insight Meditation//. V.H. Publications (Bangkok), 1990; 57 pages. An illustrated introduction to vipassana meditation by one of the founders of the International Buddhist Meditation Centre. Jantrupon, Chua. //Vipassana Bhavana (Theory, Practice & Result)//. Boonkanjanaram Meditation Center (Pattaya, Thailand), 1988; 158 pages. Guide to the meditation system used at Wat Boonkanjanaram in Pattaya (see description under Central Thailand). Also good reading on Buddhist practice theory for those who use other techniques. Khantipalo, Bhikkhu. //Banner of the Arahants//. Buddhist Publication Society, 1989; 229 pages. History and development of the Buddha's order of monks and nuns from the beginnings to the present age, presented in a Theravadan context. Good reading for anyone interested in ordaining. Explanations cover many of the practices done by monks today. The chapter on bhikkhunis and nuns probably has the best information available on women in the Sangha. Kornfield, Jack. //Living Buddhist Masters//. Unity Press, 1977; and Buddhist Publication Society (Kandy, Sri Lanka), 1989; 319 pages. Descriptions of the life and teachings of 12 prominent meditation masters, half from Thailand (Ajahns Chah, Buddhadasa, Naeb, Maha Boowa, Dhammadaro, and Jumnien) and half from Burma (U Ba Khin and Sayadaws Mahasi, Sunlun, Taungpulu, Monhyn, and Mogok). Jack introduces important aspects of the Buddha's teachings at the book's beginning. Although some of these teachers have died, their disciples and meditation centers carry on the traditions. Especially recommended for one seeking a teacher or tradition in Thailand. *Magness, T. //Samma Samadhi; The Method of Right Insight//. Wat Pak Nam (Bangkok), 1988; 77 pages. A guide to developing very refined levels of concentration using a series of spheres and human forms as mental images. Vipassana then takes place from the concentrated mind. This meditation system, popularized by the late abbot Ven. Chao Khun Mongkol- Thepmuni, is taught at Wat Pak Nam (see description under Bangkok). *Maha Boowa Nanasampanno, Phra. //Forest Dhamma//. Wat Pah Ban That (Udon Thani, Thailand), 1976; 172 pages. A collection of writings and talks on Dhamma practice from the forest tradition. The first part, "Wisdom Develops Samadhi" presents most of the fundamentals of the meditation system taught at Wat Pah Ban That (see description under Northeastern Thailand). Ajahn Maha Boowa practised under Ajahn Mun for 9 years, then spent much time in solitary practice and on tudong before founding Wat Pah Ban That. *Maha Boowa Nanasampanno, Phra. //Phra Acharn Mun//. Wat Pah Ban That (Udon Thani, Thailand), 1982; 319 pages. A biography of the life and practice of meditation master Phra Acharn Mun Bhuridatto (1870-1949). This remarkable account presents much wisdom in the stories of the struggles, attainments, tigers, elephants, angels, and people encountered in Acharn Mun's life Mahasi Sayadaw. //Practical Insight Meditation; Basic and Progressive Stages.// Buddhist Publication Society, 1971; 56 pages. Instructions on how to begin vipassana meditation, then develop the practice toward Nibbana. The author's meditation system, based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness described in the Maha Satipatthana Sutta, has proved a powerful method of developing insight for many meditators. Nanamoli, Bhikkhu (translator). //Mindfulness of Breathing (Anapanasati)//. Buddhist Publication Society (Kandy, Sri Lanka), 1982; 124 pages. Bhikkhu Nanamoli translated and assembled the Anapanasati and related suttas from the Pali Canon with the relevant Pali commentaries. One can study the Pali teachings of this important meditation subject in one convenient source. //Pali Chanting - with translations.// Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Press (Bangkok), 1990; 79 pages. The most commonly used Pali chants, including refuges and precepts, blessings, protections, recollections, suttas, and morning and evening chants. Pali and English translations are side by side. Pannavuddho Bhikkhu, Ven. Phra. //The Manual of Insight Meditation//. Wat Sai Ngam (Supanburi, Thailand), 1988; 49 pages. Illustrated guide to the meditation techniques taught by Ajahn Dhammadharo Bhikkhu and senior monks at Wat Sai Ngam (see description under Central Thailand). Rahula, Walpola. //What the Buddha Taught//. Gordon Fraser (London), 1959, 1978, and by other publishers; 151 pages. One of the classic introductions to the Buddha's teachings. The author has attempted to faithfully follow the ancient Pali texts in presenting "almost everything which is commonly accepted as the essential and fundamental teaching of the Buddha." *Sumedho, Ven. Ajahn. //Mindfulness: The Path to the Deathless//. Amaravati Publications (Hertfordshire, England), 1987; 75 pages; previously published as "Path to the Deathless." Introduction to meditation -- what it is and how to do it -- and a reflection on the need for wisdom in the world. Ajahn Sumedho trained many years in the forest tradition of Thailand under Ajahn Chah. Vajirananavarorasa, Somdet Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phraya. //The Entrance to the Vinaya//. vol. I. Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Press (Bangkok), 1969; 246 pages. Monks discipline with detailed commentary; important reading both for laymen contemplating ordination and for monks. Vajirananavarorasa, Somdet Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phraya. //Ordination Procedure and the Preliminary Duties of a New Bhikkhu//. Wat Bovornives Vihara (Bangkok), 3rd edition, 1989; 74 pages. An illustrated guide to the ordination ceremony used for novices and monks with complete Pali text and English translation; other chapters introduce the Vinaya, have morning and evening chantings with translations, and instructions for duties a new bhikkhu must perform. *Yantra Amaro, Phra Ajahn. //Heart Blossom//. Dhammaleela Foundation (P.O. Box 24, Ratthewi, Bangkok 10400), 1990; 79 pages. Gentle advice on living happily through practice of Dhamma. Other books in Thai and English are available too, all by free distribution. Many people look up to Ajahn Yantra for his metta practice and skill at teaching meditation; he has several forest monasteries (see description of Sunnataram Forest Monastery under Central Thailand). * * * * * * *


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank