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Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm Back (Again)

Debilitating Technical Problems; Some Additions to My Library

Sorry, Friends. I was unable to post anything because I lacked FrontPage. But it's OK now. [Jurassic technology]

I will continue posting about my temple trip tomorrow. But in the meantime, I have two things for you.

One is that the Sutra Study is now up-to-date, meaning I have posted Questions through Lesson 5 and Comments through Lesson 4. Also, I have posted comments from my first outside commenter (and my responses to him) on the Lesson 1 page. Enjoy!

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Second, I want to tell you about some books I bought today. (One of the main reasons for coming to America is to get some books.)

First, I picked up (literally: I bought it last year, and it's been at my sister's since then, so I just picked it up today) a Heinrich Zimmer book (edited by Joseph Campbell) called Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization (Amazon). Read the Table of Contents at the title link for some idea of what's inside; I'm sure I'll be writing about it soon.

I also picked up the latest Parabola Magazine (on "Absence and Longing," appropriate while I'm away from "home"), and four Buddhist books:

  • Buddha, a biography by Karen Armstrong. (Amazon) Armstrong's track record leads me to believe that this is going to be a darned good read.
  • Buddhism without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor. (Amazon) From the back cover: "What the Buddha taught, says Batchelor, is not something to believe in but something to do." A beautifully written, easy to read, practical book: three traits that are seldom found together.
  • Buddhist Scriptures, edited by Donald Lopez. (Amazon)  Lopez has become one of the leading popularizing scholars of Buddhism. This book brings together 60 passages from a wide variety of sources, under five headings:
    • The Buddhist Universe
    • The Buddha
    • Monastic Life
    • Meditation and Other Rituals
    • Enlightenment.
  • In the Buddha's Words, edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi. (Amazon) This anthology from the Pali Canon includes virtually all of the best-known illustrations from the earliest body of the Buddha's teachings, collected thematically. The ten chapters are:
      1. The Human Condition
      2. The Bringer of Light
      3. Approaching the Dhamma
      4. The Happiness Visible in This Present Life
      5. The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth
      6. Deepening One's Perspective on the World
      7. The Path to Liberation
      8. Mastering the Mind
      9. Shining the Light of Wisdom
      10. The Planes of Realization

    I guess I'll be busy reading for a while!

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