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Buddhism Plain And Simple [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Steve Hagen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 7 1999
“A beacon light of clarity and wisdom, a sobering teacher for us all. Simple and outstanding. Highly recommended.” - Charlotte Joko Beck, author of Everyday Zen

“This is. . . . about awareness. Not awareness of something in particular, but awareness itself'being awake, alert, in touch with what is actually happening. It's about examining and exploring the most basic questions of life. It's about relying on the immediate experience of this present moment. It's about freedom of mind.” - Steve Hagen

The observations and insights of the Buddha are practical and eminently down-to-earth, dealing exclusively with awareness in the here and now. Buddhism Plain and Simple offers listeners these fundamental teachings, stripped of the cultural trappings that have accumulated around Buddhism over the past twenty-five centuries. The newcomer will be inspired by the clear, simple principles found in Buddhism Plain and Simple, and those familiar with Buddhism will welcome this long-needed overview.

“Buddhism Plain and Simple is a delightfully direct pathway toward our true heart.” - Steven Levine, author of Who Dies?

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From Amazon

You might want to digest this book slowly, a few pages at a time. Although Zen teacher Steve Hagen has a knack for putting the philosophy of Buddhism in a "plain and simple" package, it may take a while to sink in. There is so much there. Seeing reality, realizing the wisdom of the self, breaking free of dualistic thinking--this is pretty heady stuff. Thankfully, Hagen passes it along in the form of examples from life, psychological tidbits, and stories from Buddhist teachers past and present. And when it clicks in, it can be life-transforming. Hagen explains this shift in outlook and how the fundamental way we look at the world affects everything we do. As an outline, Hagen follows the basic teachings of the Buddha, and we see that, rather than dogmatic truths, they are reminders for us as we reconsider the life we have taken for granted for so long. As it turns out, Buddhism is life, plain and simple. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Hagen's concise work, a brief introduction to Zen Buddhism, is arranged in a straightforward manner with lucid explanations. He describes techniques for meditation, making this a rather practical recording. Reading this abridgment of his own work, the Zen priest's soft, serene voice is pleasing to the ear; the pace is unhurried, allowing the listener to grasp the material. Libraries with a demand for New Age/Eastern religions should have this tape.AMichael T. Fein, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, NC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivers What It Promises June 26 2003
Delivers exactly what it promises: an introductory survey for beginners, a review with some depth for those already practicing. There is SOME history of Buddhism, SOME meditation guidance, SOME analysis of the ethical and metaphysical tenets of Buddhism. None of this is exhaustive, but neither is any of it superficial. It is just enough to spark awareness during a leisurely walk, or help center you during the drive to or from work. Includes many great parables, some of them already well-known, but also several personally from this author, an ordained Buddhist preist. A good place to start, support, or revive an interest in Buddhism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Split my third eye open Sept. 3 2004
This was one of my first few books on buddhism and I thought it was an incredible study. It's not the type of book that you read it once and move on; it's study material. You read it once, you read it twice and you read it thrice. I found myself reading a chapter and thinking about it for days. Then I would go back and re-read it and think some more. The way that it's presented was in my opinion, very clear, conscice and precise.
He allows you to discover for yourself the art of seeing. First, you can't learn compassion from a book, first you see then you practice compasion like out of unwilled intention. You won't learn this is a book. Those who are reviewing this book saying that it missed "this" and "that" missed the whole point. The beauty of this book is that Steve allows you to see it for yourself. He doesn't serve it on a silver plater (no fast food enlightenment here - sorry folks) but he makes you work for what he points at - uninterested minds recoil now. I'm under the impression that he knows that if he tries to describe the "process" too much, conception comes in and ego's assimilation fragments the idea and then the windows are all fogged up.
He did an incredible clever job of sublety pointing to directions that lead to the path - it's a raft. He even describes that it's impossible for you to get truth from a book, you have to see it for yourself; that's why he keeps saying "see", learn to "see," just "see," etc; It's a reminder. You must do the work yourself - no one will do it for you.
This book surely helped me start to see the path. Hopefully it will help you too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plain and simple, but quite deep April 30 2003
I'm new to the teachings of the Buddha, and this is the first book I've read on the subject. One thing that attracted me to this book was the author made a point of sidestepping the "cultural trappings" of Buddhism in favor of a down-to-earth explanation of the core concepts.
As I read through this book, I kept thinking to myself... "This is too simple! Why does he keep rehashing the same basic stuff over and over again?" By the time I got to the end, I had my answer. Buddhism, at its core, is really that simple. It's all about being aware, about being here and now. I initially wondered why the author seemed to resist going into detailed explanations, but then I realized that's because no detail is necessary.
This book is refreshing and enjoyable to read. Mr. Hagen has an engaging style that he uses very effectively to drive home the basics of Buddhism. I can think of no drawbacks to this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about this intriguing religion (or simply life philosophy, depending on how far you wish to take it).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awakening May 20 2003
i read this book with two or three misconceptions about Buddhism, but this book dealt with that problem and more.
basically, I thought buddhism is a pagan religion, and that it is indeed a religion. that the followers of Buddhism are most likely to be silent people, or wishing to live in complete solitude. But truthfully, that all is contrary to the real buddhists, and some who practice it right now are misinformed/created their own ideas about a religion even older than Christianity. a religion that is not a religion, but more of a philosophy. that makes you be here now, and not there, nor forward.
the book is brilliant for a simple and plain view, but very well written that makes you want to go into deeper reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books May 30 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
This book cuts to the chase. Its not page after page of fluff and abstract as many Buddist books are. This book goes straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught and not all the "extras" that have been tacked on by various sects. Mr. Hagen has an excellent straight forward writing style and he doesnt complicate the teachings. I have read over 30 books on Buddism and this book is light years ahead of the rest. For those who need a lot of airy-fairy gobbly gook type stuff, this is not your book. For those who take being AWAKE seriously..you wont find a better guide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple in nature, complex in context Sept. 15 2003
What an insight!
The title, "Buddhism Plain and Simple," serves a-perhaps unintended-double meaning. First the content of the book itself is, for such a difficult subject to the 'western' mind, simplifying to the nature of Buddhism. In most of the so-called western world, Buddhism is another religion a kin to Hinduism and a slew of unnamed cast based worldviews. Hagen skillfully and logically reduces the original concepts preached by the Buddha as a way of seeing the world, a philosophy of sorts, and strips off the many colorful layers of lore and culture acquired through the religion's sweep into Indo-Tibet, thus presenting the most simplified form of Buddhist teaching available. The alternate understanding of the book's title is that Buddhism itself is, by nature, the idea of life as simplicity applied. While this concept may be difficult to grasp (especially for those who have not been raised with eastern philosophy) it is, nonetheless, simple. Get it?
Anyone (really, anyone) desiring to gain an applicable understanding of "Buddhist philosophy" (for lack of a better term) should start with this book. Take the time to read it carefully, reread it, mull it, and then see how it affects you. The least you can expect to gain from Hagen's work, is a better understanding of the simplicity that life has to offer to those willing to let go.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear Concise Very ready and easy to understand
Loved the simplicity of this book and how it relates to everyday life.
A great way to get introduced to Buddhism.
Published 7 months ago by jan Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life.
From the very first page of this book, to the end. Every single thing said in here, gives you a bare bones, simply put ideas and things you need to know about Buddhism all into one... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Did a good job explaining a difficult ideology.
Buddism has some pretty difficult concept to try and wrap your head around. The author does better than expected in explaining these concepts in layman's terms. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ilie Stoicu
5.0 out of 5 stars Not dressed up in strange words and goes to the heart of Buddhism
Simple to follow, practical and clear. Not dressed up in strange words and goes to the heart of Buddhism . A very good clarification of Buddhism.
Published on July 4 2012 by yogibob
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and way too repetitive
I wanted to read this book to learn about the basic ideas of the buddhism and after reading it I am on the same page. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2011 by pgm
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Steve Hagen has put not just basic Buddhism but the essence of buddhism into plain and simple words. He explains the human situation in the first chapter extremely well. Read more
Published on March 27 2010 by Pearce
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccessible
I have to agree with petersmaclean. I have no prior knowledge of Buddhism and picked up this book out of intellectual curiosity. Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by Danger Mouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment without trying
I've read a number of books about Zen and Buddhism, and feel that this is about the best. Especially for someone like me with a basic understanding this was very helpful. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by J. Charles Hansen
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and honest, but dull
This book is a very good introduction to Buddhist philosophy, but it is also a little dull. The author explains the basic tenets of Buddhism in a way that anyone can understand. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2004 by SPM
4.0 out of 5 stars Plain, Simple, Good Read and �seeing� is believing.
In every Amazon search I did on Introduction To Buddhism books - Buddhism Plain and Simple popped up. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by Buster Paris
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