Posted on | November 12, 2015 | No Comments
The Buddha Smiles is a book about humor used in the early Buddhist teachings in the Pali Canon. The Pali Canon has a reputation for being humorless. And it’s easy to see why. In some of its passages, the Buddha seems to regard humor in a bad light. For instance, in the Wailing Discourse (AN 3:107) he refers to “laughing excessively, showing one’s teeth,” as a form of childishness, and counsels that a monk, when feeling joy in the Dhamma, should simply smile. His instructions to Rāhula in MN 61 note that one shouldn’t tell a deliberate lie, “even in jest.” However, the Canon’s reputation for being devoid of humor is undeserved. Is has a lot of jokes and humor, but a style of humor that can go right past readers in modern cultures where jokes are telegraphed well in advance, and humor tends to be broad. Another reason is that translators often miss the fact that a passage is meant to be humorous, and so render it in a flat, pedantic way. This free PDF e-book will take you on a different journey through the teachings of the Buddha.
Posted on | October 26, 2015 | No Comments
It is traditional wisdom of Zen and Chinese Buddhism, insisted upon by Lao Tze and the sages of his school, that the quiet ways of Heaven should be imitated by man. As Heaven lets its sun shine upon good and evil, without discrimination and also without expecting reward or advantages ; so man should do good to his fellows, perform acts of rectitude, of justice, and of mercy, show benevolence and kindness toward all in an impartial spirit without cherishing ulterior motives.
The man who thus imitates “Heaven’s quiet way” in realizing the ideal of heavenly goodness is truly virtuous, and so Yin Chih has also come to denote a condition which may be characterized as, and translated by, “secret virtue,” reminding us of Christ’s injunction not to let our right hand know what the left hand is doing (Matt. vi. 1-4).
In the title of the book the words Yin Chih cover the general idea of the “secret ways” both as they are working in the divine dispensation and in human action, and if either meaning predominates we should say that it is certainly the former—the quiet ways of Heaven which determine the destiny of man and which are described by Shakespeare as “A divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will.” —Hamlet, VI, 1-4.
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Posted on | October 23, 2015 | No Comments
Nalinika’s story is a pre-canonical story of the Buddha’s former life. The story is an interesting, but highly improbable, fable: a sage lives alone in the Himalayas, there is semen in the urine he passes, and a deer who happens to eat the grass in that place gets pregnant from it. A human boy is later born to the deer and he is brought up in complete seclusion from mankind, and most importantly, from womankind. The boy’s ascetic power becomes so great that Sakka in his heaven is worried by it and causes a drought to occur in the country and blames it on the boy. He then convinces the King to send his daughter to seduce him and to break his power. The King and his daughter accept Sakka’s reasoning and in good faith – and for the benefit of the country – agree to the plot.
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Posted on | October 21, 2015 | 2 Comments
Seeing the Way represents the teachings of the first generation of monks and nuns from the international Theravada ‘Forest Tradition’. The book begins with an introduction and dedication to Ajahn Chah and follows on with two sessions of instruction given to Western students. The remainder is a collection of transcribed talks, letters, and essays by 20 teaching monks of this tradition. Some have remained as abbots of monasteries in Thailand; others are now living in England, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. In keeping with the Buddha’s own Teachings, these reflections on Dhamma – the Truth of the Way Things Are – are not intended to be accepted too readily. Neither are they to be rejected. Rather, they are offered for consideration. They are also offered as an on-going expression of gratitude for what has been received – the living example of the Way of Truth itself. For these monks it has been the opportunity to witness the life of a great Master, who awakened the ‘heart of true faith’ in so many. It is sincerely wished that these teachings bring to fruition true happiness, true ‘Refuge’, and true peace in the hearts of those who look into them.
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Posted on | September 27, 2015 | 1 Comment
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki is a book of instruction about how to practice Zen, about Zen life, and about the attitudes and understanding that make Zen practice possible. For any reader, the book will be an encouragement to realize his own nature, his own Zen mind. Zen mind is one of those enigmatic phrases used by Zen teachers to make you notice yourself, to go beyond the words and wonder whatyour own mind and being are. This is the purpose of all Zen teaching—to make you wonder and to answer that wondering with the deepest expression of your own nature. The calligraphy on the front of the binding reads nyorai in Japanese or tathagata in Sanskrit. This is a name for Buddha which means “he who has followed the path, who has returned from suchness, or is suchness, thusness, is-ness, emptiness, the fully completed one.”
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Posted on | September 25, 2015 | No Comments
In order to make it easier to find books here on holybooks.com I have added three new categories of books: Bizarre, Tantra and Radical Liberation. Earlier this year I added Biographies, Literature, Complete Works and Reference. I hope this all makes sense and will help you navigate the site more conveniently.
Posted on | September 22, 2015 | No Comments
Still Flowing Water is a collection of eight dhamma talks given by Ajahn Chah in the late 1970’s. The talks were transcribed and translated in 2013 by Thanissaro Bhikku. From the book:
Have you ever seen flowing water? Have you ever seen still water? If your mind is peaceful, it’s kind of like still, flowing water. Have you ever seen still, flowing water? [Laughs] There! You’ve only seen still water and flowing water. You’ve never seen still, flowing water. Right there, right where your thinking can’t take you: where the mind is still but can develop discernment. When you look at your mind, it’ll be kind of like flowing water, and yet it’s still. It looks like it’s still, it looks like it’s flowing, so it’s called still, flowing water. That’s what it’s like. That’s where discernment can arise.
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Posted on | September 2, 2015 | No Comments
Compendium Rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per Celeberrimos Artis Magistros. Anno 1057. Noli me tengere – is the complete title of this obscure work, it translates to something like: “A rare summary of the entire Magical Art by the most famous Masters of this Art”. Despite the year mentioned in the title, scholars suggest that the book was written much later, in 1775. Compendium Rarissimum is about demonology and it is handwritten in both German and Latin. Most readers will enjoy the 31 colorful illustrations and three pages of magical and cabbalistic signs and sigils, etc, others might have a weakness for a book with a “Do not touch!” marked on its cover. Download it here:
Posted on | July 28, 2015 | No Comments
A Dhammapada for Contemplation is a version of the Buddhist classic, the Dhammapada; it is not a line-by-line translation but a free rendering that aims to communicate the living spirit of the text, unencumbered by rigid adherence to formal exactness. The intention of the author, Ajahn Munindo, was to present a contemporary version of the text for readers to use in their investigation of the Way.
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Posted on | July 27, 2015 | No Comments
The Atthakavagga is a collection of short sutras of which some might precede Buddhism itself. In the Buddhist scholarly tradition Atthakavagga have been placed in a subdivision of the Sutta Nipāta, a section of teachings brought directly as they were orally given by the Buddha. This version is the handwritten, but still easy to read, and most recent English translation by Pannobhasa Bhikku from 1999. Atthakavagga is highly concerned with concepts such as non-attachment and it is here we see the first examples of paradoxes as a means of teaching in Buddhism.
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Posted on | June 18, 2015 | 2 Comments
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a manuscript more than 3.000 years old. It was carved in 12 tablets by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. More of the stories in Gilgamesh have close relationship to the Christian Bible. For example the Garden of Eden and Noah´s Flood seems to derive from the Epic of Gilgamesh. It has also inspired Homers works, parts of the Iliad for instance.
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