Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
If you think you know something about Buddhism or if you want to know facts about Buddhism rather than what your preacher tells you, I highly recommend The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism. From it’s beginnings in India 2500 years ago to it’s current. growing,manifestations in the West, author Gary Gach presents the history, beliefs, philosophy of this great movement in a clear and understandable fashion, covering all the various schools of Buddhism with an even hand. Witty writing makes this an easy read. I’ve read many books on Buddhist practice and thought. This book is for anyone who wants to know about Buddhism, without the esoterics.
Now,here’s a question for you. Can you name one Buddhist war? Here’s another. When was the last time a Buddhist proselytizer knocked on your door,accosted you at an airport, or stopped you on a street corner?
If you only read one book about teaching this year, I recommend Rafe Esquith’s Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire . Esquith is a NYC classroom teacher who is so intense in working with his “at-risk” students that he once failed to notice that he had set his own hair on fire while helping a student with a science experiment. His also the author of other books about teaching and you can find them all here.
Finally, I’m currently reading God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens. Hitchen’s is a truly talented journalist who, over the last thirty years, has attended almost every significant world event and has met and interviewed almost everyone who has made that history. He is one of the most erudite and witty of writers on the scene today. He is
unabashedly and outspokenly athiest. Here, in this book, he makes a powerful, cogent argument here and , even if you are a believer, you will not be able to deny much of the criticism he levels at religion and those who promote it. Here’s an excerpt:
There still remains four irreducible objections to religious faith:that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking
He is witty, trenchant, at times quite comical and always merciless in his criticism of religion. It is a must read, both for those who believe (should you have the courage) and those who do not.
All of the titles are linked to Powell’s Books, in Portland, OR, the worlds largest independent bookseller. You can (a) click on the link and buy the book online, either new or used, or (b) copy down the IBN #, title, etc and take that to your local independent booksellers. If they don’t have it in stock, ask them to order for you. Most will In Pocatello I recommend The Walrus and the Carpenter Books down on South Main. Will will order anything you want , gives a discount to teachers, and has a funky cool place to hang out and read/browse. With independent booksellers, the profits stay home where they can do some good locally.
Keep On Keepin’ On