The Two Traditions of Buddhism
This month the library took its first tentative steps towards covering the different forms of Buddhism, with new bibliographies on Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.
From the South, I’d like to highlight:
teachings from twelve of the greatest masters and monasteries in the Theravada tradition
This classic book on insight meditation introduced the West to the Theravada Tradition of Southeast Asia and launched the career of not only its author, but also many of his readers who subsequently sought out, learned from, and carried on the tradition of these venerable masters.
It’s basically impossible to understand modern Theravada Buddhism without being familiar with at least most of the teachers featured in this outstanding book, but its value isn’t strictly historical as the wisdom and advice it contains is invaluable not just to scholars but also to any serious meditator intent on realizing the fruits of insight practice.
Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth
The Buddha’s own spiritual autobiography, from searching to finding true deliverance.
To understand Buddhism, one must understand the tension between the knowledge of impermanence and the love of the Dharma. This sense of loss has defined Buddhism from the Buddha’s Parinirvana through to the present day.
In this illuminating interview, we see how this meme of the declining Dhamma gave rise to particular responses among Burmese Buddhists to British Colonialism and how those reactions helped to birth modern Buddhism.
From the Northern schools of Buddhism, this month saw the addition of these two Tibetan gems:
You might wish to drink the nectar of calm abiding…
the time for discovering Buddha directly, you must remain alone
A short poem on overcoming our barriers and sticking to the practice.
And lastly, I wanted to share with you this sutta, which both traditions will agree is worth reading again and again:
I have taught the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas.
In this famous and much-celebrated sutta, the Buddha teaches how to properly grasp Buddhist philosophy so as not to lead to more suffering.
As always, if you find any typos or problems with the site, have any questions or just want to say hi, feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.
~ The Librarian