Reviews of “Buddhism for Beginners”

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This book is written for people wanting to understand basic Buddhist principles and how to integrate them into their lives … It will be of much benefit to its readers.
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Venerable Thubten Chodron is especially skilled in presenting Buddhist philosophy and practices in ways that are easily accessible and practical for Buddhists who live in the Western world.
—Venerable Hung I Shih, Abbot of Jade Buddha Temple in Houston

Chodron’s plain English makes her beginner’s guide nearly perfect for those new to Buddhism and those who simply want to learn more.
Booklist

This is the perfect gift for family and friends who wish to understand one’s engagement with Buddhism. Thubten Chodron combines several decades of traditional training in Tibetan Buddhism with western psychotherapeutic relevance … That quality of integration is where Venerable Thubten Chodron is such a powerful writer and teacher.
Branches of Light

Here is an excellent introduction to Buddhism. Most importantly, it offers good advice for anyone who wants to lead a more sane, balanced and compassionate life.
Bodhi Tree Book Review

American-born Tibetan Buddhist nun Thubten Chodron has practiced Buddhism in India and Nepal since 1975. She is presently resident teacher at Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle. This excellent primer on Buddhism is set up in a question-and-answer format. At the outset, Chodron notes: “I believe that spiritual practice is more about holding questions than finding answers. Seeking one correct answer often comes from a wish to make life — which is basically fluid — into something certain and fixed. This often leads to rigidity, closed-mindedness, and intolerance. On the other hand, holding a question — exploring its many facets over time — puts us in touch with the mystery of life.”

In a question about detachment, Chodron says she likes the word “non-attachment” better since it doesn’t imply being uninvolved, chilly, and above-it-all. In Buddhism, the practice of equanimity means to have a balanced attitude. Having studied under wise spiritual teachers, the author salutes their humility as one of the principal qualities of enlightenment.

There are many clear and inspiring teachings here about love (the art of cherishing others before self) and compassion (wishing for all sentient beings to be free from suffering and its causes). I was especially impressed with Chodron’s explanation of karma (especially why some are rich even though they’re dishonest), women and the Dharma, shrines and offerings, and working with the emotions. Here’s a Tibetan saying she quotes that provides much food for thought: “If you want to know about your past life, look at your present body. If you want to know your future life, look at your present mind.”

—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, “Spirituality and Practice”

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