ASK Musings

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Daily Archive: 18/05/2023



May 2023



Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
Those interested in Buddhism.

In a nutshell:
Zen priest Hagen offers his take on Buddha’s observations.

Worth quoting:
“First, you must truly realize that life is fleeting. Next, you must understand that you are already complete, worthy, whole. Finally, you must see that you are your own refuge, your own sanctuary, your own salvation.”

Why I chose it:
Continuing my spiritual journey. (I’ve always assumed I’m way too sarcastic for that level of sincerity, but here we are.)

What it left me feeling:

This book is both extremely straightforward and also challenging. Not because of the writing, but because of the concepts. And even that isn’t the best way for me to describe it.

Hagen breaks the book into three parts. In the first, he looks at what he calls ‘The Perennial Problem’, basically the human condition as most people experience it. In the second, called ‘The Way to Wake Up,’ he explores different concepts: wisdom, morality, practice, and freedom. In the final section, ‘Free Mind,’ he looks deeper into Truth and Reality.

This is the kind of book that I’m still processing, and that I’ll read again. I think that’s kind of the case with books of this type – it’s not something that one just reads and sets up on the shelf, or put in the donation bin. The way the information is presented generally worked for me – the chapters were fairly short, and there are some good examples to help solidify the ideas. But it requires a lot of thinking from me. I think that’s the point, though. Not that it requires a lot of thinking (one might even argue that goes against the main points of the book!), but that it’s got me thinking in the right direction.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it: