Home
What is Buddhism?
Common Misconceptions
FAQ
Real World
Kids!
Library
Glossary
Book
Store
Links
Current
Events
Calendar
E-Mail
Map

In Association with Amazon.com
The Living Dharma Website is pleased to offer great books on Buddhism. These are all books we recommend highly and without reservation. Each book offers a unique perspective, whether it is a focus on a specific tradition or teacher, a historical overview, a personal interpretation of Buddhism's essence, or the relevance of Buddhism for young people.

Books with active links are available through Amazon.com; those without links are available from the Living Dharma Website (use our Bookstore Order Form). Please note that the Amazon.com prices listed are subject to change; to find the current price, click on the Amazon.com link.

Order Form


Click to buy from Amazon.com
River of Fire, River of Water
An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism
by Dr. Taitetsu Unno

Price: $16.95 at Amazon.com

From the Preface by Alexander Eliot: "While D. T. Suzuki was the first to open American minds to Zen Buddhism, now with this book Dr. Unno brilliantly introduces a different, far more popular Buddhist faith; namely the ancient Pure Land tradition as developed by Honen and Shinran in 13th century Japan. This dynamic and important religion is something that few Westerners ever heard of--until now."
"The genius of Honen and Shinran, Dr, Unno tells us, was that they 'discovered the way to bring Buddhist truth alive in the midst of the householder's life.' What else distinguishes this popular faith from elitist Zen? Dr, Unno responds with a wonderfully concise quote from Honen: 'In the Path of Sages one perfects wisdom and achieves enlightenment; in the Path of Pure Land one returns to the foolish self to be saved by Amida.'"

The Seeker
The Life Story of Shinran Shonin, Part 1
by The Shinshu Center of America, Translated by Rev. Tomoyuki Hasegawa

Price: $12 (incls S&H)

About the book: This engaging book introduces the reader to the life of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism and is illustrated in the popular Japanese "manga" style by Seiji Imanishi. Part 1 begins with the last years of Shinran's life and his ensuing death, and then the touching story of how daughter Kakushinni accepted the responsibility of carrying on her father's teaching. But first, Kakushinni must tell her mother (Shinran's wife) Eshinni, who is away in a distant city, about Shinran's death. When Eshinni learns of his death, she decides to tell Kakushinni all about the life of her father, and the story then flashes back to Shinran at age 29, the crucial year he left Mount Hiei and became a disciple of Honen Shonin. Part 1 ends as Honen's Pure Land sangha, which has become very popular with the common people of Kyoto, begins to come under the scrutiny of the Imperial government.

The Seeker
The Life Story of Shinran Shonin, Part 2
by The Shinshu Center of America, Translated by Rev. Tomoyuki Hasegawa

Price: $12 (incls S&H)

About the book: Part 2 of The Seeker: The Life Story of Shinran Shonin begins with the increasing resistance by the traditional Buddhist schools to Honen's Sangha and which results in the famous "Kofukuji Petition." Under scrutiny from these schools, differences of opinion about what true "faith" is grow in Honen's Sangha but Shinran makes the surprising statement that, despite Honen being his teacher, since faith comes from a power beyond the self (Amida), his and Honen's faith are identical, and Master Honen agrees. Then disaster strikes when two of Honen's priests grant the request of two ladies of the Imperial Court to become nuns. This greatly upsets the emperor, who has the priests executed and Shinran exiled. But for the former priest Shinran, it was through humbly enduring the harsh conditions as a farmer in Echigo that he realized his true self as an ignorant person just like the other farmers. This popular series incorporates up-to-date information about the fascinating details of Shinran's life and presents it in a style that is both easy to read and yet also captures the crucial essence of the Pure Land teaching.


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Buddhism: A Concise Introduction
By Huston Smith and Philip Novak

Price: $10.39 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "Beginning with the life of the Buddha and continuing through the current emergence of Buddhism in the West, the internationally revered world religions authority Huston Smith and award-winning teacher Philip Novak--an expert in historical and contemporary Buddhism and a longtime Buddhist practicioner himself--explore all aspects of this 2,500 year-old religious tradition in all its rich variety; its history, the central doctrines and practices, and its evolution and continuing development...With consummate expertise and respect for Buddhism in all its manifestations, Huston Smith and Philip Novak reveal the vital wisdom that makes Buddhism so appealing not only throughout Asia but increasingly in the Western world."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
What the Buddha Taught
By Walpola Rahula

Price: $10.17 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "This indispensable volume is a lucid and faithful account of the Buddha's teachings. 'For years,' says the Journal of the Buddhist Society, 'the newcomer to Buddhism has lacked a simple and reliable introduction to the complexities of the subject. Dr. Rahula's book fills the need as only could be done by one having a firm grasp of the vast material to be sifted. It is a model of what a book should be that is addressed first of all to the educated and intelligent reader.' Authoritative and clear, logical and sober, this study is as comprehensive as it is masterly."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Buddhism Plain and Simple
By Steve Hagen

Price: $9.60 at Amazon.com

From the Introduction: "This is a book 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."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Buddhism of the Heart: Reflections on Shin Buddhism and Inner Togetherness
By Jeff Wilson

Price: $12.37 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "Buddhism of the Heart is a wide-ranging book of essays and open-hearted reflections that runs the gamut from intensely personal to broadly philosophical, introducting the reader to a remarkable religious tradition of compassionate acceptance."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Radiant Mind: Essential Buddhist Teachings and Texts
Edited by Jean Smith

Price: $25.39 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "From ancient to modern times, the Buddha has served as an ideal of conduct and a source of inspiration. Radiant Mind presents a basic yet thorough look at Buddhism. It is a collection of starting points: essential teachings and texts of the Buddha's discourses, filled with insightful commentaries and interpretations by such teachers as Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and modern thinker Jack Kornfield. The teachings of Buddhism are a foundation to be examined and tested. The Buddha's experience of enlightenment is the basis on which the search is built, but the search is still ours..."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Jodo Shinshu: Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan
By James C. Dobbins

Price: $19.00 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "The most complete and important book on the early history of Shin Buddhism to appear in English. No other work combines the biography of the founder [Shinran Shonin] with such a detailed study of the complex development of Shin Buddhism from its simple beginnings as a small, rural primarily lay Buddhist movement in the 12th century to its rapid growth as a powerful urban religion in the 15th century."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Letters of the Nun Eshinni: Images of Pure Land Buddhism in Medieval Japan
By James C. Dobbins

Price: $23.95 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "Eshinni (1182-1268), a Buddhist nun and the wife of Shinran, the celebrated founder of the True Pure Land, or Shin, school of Buddhism, was largely unknown until the discovery of a collection of her letters in 1921. In this study, James C. Dobbins, a leading scholar of Pure Land Buddhism, has made creative use of these letters to shed new light on life and religion in medieval Japan. He provides a complete translation of the letters and an explication of them that reveals the character and flavor of early Shin Buddhism. Readers will come away with a new perspective on Pure Land scholarship and a vivid image of Eshinni and the world in which she lived."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Rennyo: The Second Founder of Shin Buddhism
By Minor L. Rogers and Ann T. Rogers

Price: $38.50 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "To clarify the basic structure of Rennyo's thought, the authors present exceptionally precise annotated translations of the central text, Rennyo's Letters. Further, they illuminate its context, viewing Rennyo's thought not only against the background of his remarkable role in the turbulent history of his times, but also in relation to Shinran's thought and in terms of its influence in the later tradition. Rennyo is at once a lucid introduction of Rennyo to Western readers and a pioneering formulation that challenges traditional Shin Buddhist scholarship."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Engaged Pure Land Buddhism: Essays in Honor of Professor Alfred Bloom
Edited by Kenneth K. Tanaka and Eisho Nasu

Price: $12.00 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "Since the publication of his first book, Shinran's Gospel of Pure Grace, Alfred Bloom has worked tirelessly in the reinterpretation of Shinran's thought. Based on meticulous reading of Buddhist texts and a broad interpretative perspective, he has offered a radically new paradigm for our understanding of the social dimensions of Pure Land Buddhist thought. The contributors through their essays do justice to Dr. Bloom's accomplishments and help to fulfill his lifelong goal."

Heard By Me
Essays on my Buddhist Teacher
by Shuichi Maida, Translated by Dr. Nobuo Haneda

Price: $18 (includes shipping & handling)

From the cover: "In this collection of essays, Maida extensively discusses his relationship with his teacher, the Rev. Haya Akegarasu and offers penetrating insights into the teacher-student relationship...Throughout, Maida shows the path to absolute freedom..."
From the book:
"It is totally useless to read books, sutras, commentaries or sayings and judge them by one's arbritrary tastes. Unless all of our human positions are completely smashed to pieces by one person, by a spiritual guide, we cannot possibly understand the subjective nothingless of Shakyamuni...It is absolutely impossible to touch subjective nothingness without meeting with a spiritual guide." -Shuichi Maida

The Evil Person
Essays on Shin Buddhism
by Shuichi Maida, Translated by Dr. Nobuo Haneda

Price: $11 (incls S&H)

From the Introduction: "A person who genuinely understands the ignorance of the self genuinely trusts and understands the Dharma and experiences liberation. In the Tannisho, Shinran says, 'Even a good person attains birth in the Pure Land. How much more easily an evil person!' Here, an 'evil person' is a person who has awakened to the futility of his own being. This 'evil person' trusts the Dharma and experiences liberation. But those who consider themselves 'good' trust in themselves; thus they cannot trust the Dharma and cannot experience liberation."

December Fan
The Buddhist Essays of Manshi Kiyozawa
Translated by Dr. Nobuo Haneda

Status: Currently out of stock

From the Introduction: "This book introduces the reader to the thought of Manshi Kiyozawa, one of the most important Japanese Buddhist figures of modern times...Modern Shin Buddhist doctrine can hardly be discussed in isolation from Kiyozawa...The primary lesson of Buddhism, Kiyozawa says, is to become liberated from the self. Buddhism talks about freedom from the self, not freedom from external conditions or circumstances."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Coffinman: The Journal of a Buddhist Mortician
By Shinmon Aoki

Price: $14.95 at Amazon.com

In her review of Coffinman, Rev. Patti Nakai says, "In Buddhism, each death we mourn is a reminder to seek the Bodhisattva path while we have life. In Coffinman, the concrete details of the experiences and poignant feelings of one particular human being serve to encourage us both in our grief and in our seeking."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction, 5th Edition
by Richard H. Robinson, Willard L. Johnson, Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)

Price: $68.03 at Amazon.com

From the Introduction: "This is a book about Buddhism. Although it will describe the various ways that Buddhists over the centuries have defined Dharma-Vinaya [doctrine and discipline] in their words and actions, it will not attempt a definition of its own. Its purpose is to portray the thoughts and actions of the large segment of the human race who have called themselves followers of the Buddha. The authors have felt that this would be a worthwhile enterprise in exploring part of the range of the human condition. As Socrates once said, an unexamined life is not worth living. One of the best ways to begin the examination of one's own life is to examine the lives and beliefs of others, so that one's unconscious assumptions can be thrown into sharp relief by he perspective offered by the assumptions, unconscious and conscious, of the rest of humanity. This book is meant to help provide a part of that perspective."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations
by Paul Williams

Price: $34.69 at Amazon.com

From the cover: "The publication of Paul Williams' Mahayana Buddhism in 1989 was a milestone in the development of Buddhist Studies, being the first truly comprehensive and authoritative attempt to chart the doctrinal landscape of Mahayana Buddhism in its entirety. Williams' book has remained the primary work on the subject, and the textbook of choice for teachers of university courses on Buddhism for 20 years. It is still unrivaled...This new edition has been fully revised throughout in the light of the wealth of new studies and focuses on the religion's diversity and richness. It includes much more material on China and Japan, with appropriate reference to Nepal...Everyone studying this important tradition will find Williams' book the ideal companion to their studies."


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Buddha in Your Backpack: Everyday Buddhism for Teens
by Franz Metcalf

Price: $10.17 at Amazon.com

In his book, Dr. Metcalf offers refreshingly down-to-earth and practical advice to teens that can help them better deal with the many ups and downs and issues of the teen years. Thoughout, whether the discussion is on peer pressure, emerging sexuality, or substance abuse, the emphasis is not on what is ethically or morally "good"--probably the kind of "advice" teens aren't going to listen to--but rather on what is good for you, what can ultimately also help others by reducing the amount of suffering in the world. Dr. Metcalf gently emphasizes the necessity of Buddhistic self-awareness and informed independent decision making rather than the more typical "follow the rules" absolutist approach. The book also includes an intro to the life and essential teachings of the Buddha, as well as to the various schools of Buddhism. Finally there are some interesting Buddhist meditations and exercises that teens can try which might help them in their everyday crisises. The reality is that Dr. Metcalf's approach is so clear and simply stated, many adults might also benefit greatly from its advice.


Click to buy from Amazon.com
Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens
by Diana Winston

Price: $10.88 at Amazon.com

In "Wide Awake," Diana Winston gives teens and young adults a well-written introduction to the teachings of Buddhism, and offers young people a different way of living their lives...one centered on the timeless teachings of Buddhism. Topics covered in the book include, "Discovering truth in a world of hype," "Finding peace amid the ups and downs of life," "Accepting ourselves," "Working with difficult emotions," "How to meditate," "Dealing with temptations and making the right decisions about sex and drugs," and "Advice on volunteering, working for peace, and protecting the environment." The book is written in a style that will appeal to any young person looking for self-help, self-esteem, and self-awareness.

Home
What is Buddhism?
Common Misconceptions
FAQ
Real World
Kids!
Library
Glossary
Book
Store
Links
Current
Events
Calendar
E-Mail
Map