This paraphrase of a Buddhist Scripture shows the reluctance of the Buddha to allow for an order of Buddhist nuns and provides insight into why he was reluctant.

Mike’s initial reflections stem from a conversation with a Thai waitress which illustrated the central Buddhist concern with suffering, its syncretistic nature, magical orientation and veneration of monks. Mike’s musings leads him to reflect on the essentially suicidal nature of Buddhism – at least from a Christian perspective. This involves a consideration of the Buddhist way of understanding the phenomenon we supposedly mistake to be a ‘self.’ Mike concludes with some tips for Christians in sharing their faith with Buddhist friends.

Having read a good number of the Dalai Lama’s books Mike attempts to summarise and critique his basic thought under the following headings: About the Dalai Lama, The Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, Religion and Spirituality, Ethics, Dependent Origination, The Two Truths, Non-Self, Emptiness, Happiness, Human Nature, Emotions, Anger, Attachment, Virtue, Compassion, Generosity, Karma, Transforming the Mind, Wisdom, Rebirth, Suffering, Preparing for Death, Self-Liberation, Liberating Other Sentient Beings, Distinguishing Between Good and Evil, Enlightenment, Buddhahood, The Buddha and Jesus.

The Mahavagga (Abridged))

This is Mike's abridgement of a key Buddhist scripture. The Mahavagga covers the period immediately following the Buddha's Enlightenment. It includes his first teachings to the five ascetics, plus accounts of how some of his great disciples became bhikkhus (monks) and also attained Enlightenment. We find also the inclusion of rules for ordination. This text is suffused with supernatural and miraculous phenomena.

Ashoka and the Early Development of Buddhism

This 3rd century BC Mauryan emperor played an enormous part in making it possible for Buddhism to become both a national and an international religion.

A brief biographical background of the Dalai Lama is presented, followed by a look at his essential philosophy. This begins with the principle of dependent arising, then considers the Four Noble Truths, and emptiness. The focus now switches to what the Dalai Lama has in mind when he speaks of happiness and inner peace. Happiness is assessed with respect to ethical foundations, mental transformation, karma, self, and compassion. The Dalai Lama’s time frame for achieving happiness is then identified. Some responses and a fundamental question are next raised followed by a clarification of key differences between the anthropocentric Buddhist approach to ‘knowing’ and the theocentric Christian approach that depends on God as the one who reveals. There are closing comments on “the road to lasting happiness.”

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BUDDHISM

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