cover image Approaching the Buddhist Path

Approaching the Buddhist Path

The Dalai Lama and Thubten Chodron. Wisdom, $29.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61429-441-2

In this first installment of the eight-volume series Library of Wisdom and Compassion, the Dalai Lama focuses on the teachings and doctrines of the Nalanda tradition. In Tibetan Buddhism, the lamrim texts serve as a guide to the stages of awakening, representing the stages progressing toward enlightenment. However, these texts presuppose not only faith, but also deep cultural familiarity with Buddha, dharma, and sangha—a problem for Westerners who have neither. As an introduction to these potentially unwieldy texts, the Dalai Lama here explores the very basics of foundational Buddhist tenets, parsing out Buddhism’s unique perspectives in the pantheon of religions. He then quickly moves to dense historical overviews of the spread of the dharma, the systematization of Buddhist teachings and practices, and practical advice for enriching one’s dharma practice by engaging directly with the world. By presenting such a broad overview of the Buddhist tradition, the Dalai Lama aims both to teach the uninitiated and also to resolve the sectarianism that prevents Buddhists from fully cooperating for the welfare of the world. While some sections may prove too specialist and dry for the novice, this first volume is otherwise an excellent and intellectually stimulating introduction to the Buddhist way of life. [em](Aug.) [/em]