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Introduction to Buddhism: An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso , Michael Sington
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 2004
Beginning with the main events of Buddha's life story, Geshe Kelsang explains the central principles behind the Buddhist way of life and what it means to be a Buddhist. Meditation is explained clearly and simply, while topics such as karma and the path to enlightenment are presented in an accessible and inspiring way, as tools for developing qualities such as inner peace, love, and patience. Those developing an interest in Buddhism and meditation will find this an ideal guide..

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Introduction to Buddhism: An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life + How to Solve Our Human Problems: The Four Noble Truths
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tharpa Publications; 2nd Revised edition edition (Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0948006951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0948006951
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 12.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 630,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso was born in Tibet and is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism. Resident in the West since 1977, he is the author of 21 highly acclaimed books that perfectly transmit the ancient wisdom of Buddhism to our modern world. He has also founded over 1100 Kadampa Buddhist Centres and groups throughout the world.

Product Description


"A brilliantly clear and concise introduction to this vast subject, helpful to readers of all levels including those who have no previous knowledge. Very highly recommended." - Yoga & Health Magazine "This book succeeds admirably in presenting its subject with clarity and insight...a highly commendable and deeply felt work that I can recommend without hesitation." - Chalice "A perfect little journal of Buddhist education with material to challenge any student of Buddhist thought." - Shambhala Sun

About the Author

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism who has pioneered the introduction of modern Buddhism into contemporary society. He is the author of 21 highly acclaimed books that perfectly transmit the ancient wisdom of Buddhism to our modern world. He has founded over 1200 Kadampa Buddhist centres and groups throughout the world.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
In general, "Buddha" means "Awakened One", someone who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and sees things as they really are. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
152 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear introduction to Buddhism 19 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Anyone wishes to know what the practice in Buddhism is really about, should read this book. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, is a fully ordained Buddhist monk and teacher from Tibet. I believe he has written about 19 books from the introduction, to actual practices from the Sutra to the Tantra. This is not some MGM or Tourist version, but the real thing. The text is clear with great examples and the constant message is to practice gaining a happy and content mind for oneself as others. It also provides the same teaching as the Buddhist monks in Tibet receive over many years and Geshe Kelsang has managed to present an introduction to these teachings in a language that we can understand, without having a degree in philosophy.
If you really want a realistic introduction to Buddhism than this book is a must read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 8 July 2011
By Graeme
This book is, as it says, an introduction. It's very short but yet it gives a pretty comprehensive over view of the Mahayana Buddhist Path. The author chooses his words and examples very carefully, trusting the reader to take they key concepts he presents and to expand on them through personal exploration and experience. This is typical of Geshe Kelsang's approach which although very learned is non-academic and all about putting it into practice. There is a real confidence in the writing as Geshe Kelsang explains aspects of Buddha's teachings which many Western people will find challenging in a straight forward and unassuming way. The topics are simply laid bare according to the authors understanding and left for the reader to explore to their own satisfaction. Geshe Kelsang writes entirely from within the tradition to which he belongs (the Mahayana tradition of Je Tsongkhapa) so this is not intended as an over view of all manifestations of Buddhism, but in my opinion at least that leads to more clarity and certainly to greater ease of practical application, which is what I'm after.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where to begin? 8 Nov 2011
When I bought this book, I knew very little about Buddhism. So, I thought 'where do I begin?' because the subject is so vast. Luckily this little book crossed my path. While I did not understand some of it the first go-through, it pointed me in the right direction - towards a mind wishing to develop loving kindness, compassion, and wisdom. Introduction to Buddhism covers so much and is so profound, it is well worth reading. Every time I read this book, I find something new. Now I have such a deep appreciation for the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. His authentic presentation is clear and precise with each word conveying deep meaning. Most certainly this can only come from his own personal knowledge and deep understanding of Buddha's instructions.
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47 of 58 people found the following review helpful
OK: first things first. This book will challange some of your beliefs, so if you don't want that, then don't buy it. Otherwise, buy it, suspend judgement for a few hours, and enjoy! Remember that when the author uses words like 'should' he is only expressing his personal opinion, it's up to us to decide whether we agree with it or not.

Since this sort of book is explaining the views of another religion, one that is very different to what we might be used to, it's always going to be tempting to label it 'cultish' or 'extreme', unless it's read with a very open mind. Having read the book, I can't find anything cultish about it - no one, having read and understood this book, is going to try and abandon their family or have their brain washed or anything like that. Quite the opposite, in fact: by explaining things clearly, the author makes it quite easy for the reader to make up his or her own mind about what's put forward. Sure, it might take a few readings to fully make sense of, and some of the ideas might seem a little strange at first, but I think that's to be expected from a religion that's comparatively new to the West.

I know from having read some of the author's other books that he makes a point of explaining that this strand of Buddhism should be practised in conjunction with your everyday life, not apart from it. This to me seems particularly heart-warming, since you're not being asked to give up your family or friends to get the benefits out of the practice of meditation. I've found some of the things in this book difficult to understand at first, but at least I can come away knowing that I don't have to climb a mountain or become a monk to put the ideas that I did like, into practice.
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59 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and 100% un-preachy 23 Jun 2004
I didn't find this book sect-ish at all! I found it clearly explained alot of the aspects of buddhism which can be hard for an agnostic westerner to understand (well me anyway!); other books had avoided illustrating concepts like re-incarnation altogether. It is an unafraid, clear and beatifully written book on the subject. It's up to the reader to take on board the authors analogies, they aren't forced down the readers throat. Fully recommended!
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rambling and misleading 15 Mar 2010
By shpadoinkle VINE VOICE
I tried to read this a few years ago, and found it extremely disappointing. It was very esoteric and prescriptive, and I didn't think it was very well-written. It was also extremely strange - there was a section about the author's conviction that his mother was reincarnated into an aquaintance's baby, which I found a little disturbing! I found it hard to take it seriously after that. The author sounded a little delusional. I think even egotistical and controlling at times, which is worse.

Apparently this book was in effect self-published, as Tharpa Publications serve only as a platform for Gyatso's brand of Buddhism (NKT-IKBU). If you google him you will see that there is a lot of controversy about this religious movement, and it sounds quite cultish to me. This is from Wikipedia-

-Geshe Kelsang has taught in Great Treasury of Merit that the most effective way to progress spiritually is by "following one tradition purely -- relying upon one Teacher, practising only his teachings, and following his Dharma Protector. If we mix traditions many obstacles arise and it takes a long time for us to attain realizations."

Hmmm. Personally I think that that kind of thinking is only going to lead to a blinkered view of the world, and possibly intolerance of others. And if he is encouraging this narrow-minded way of thinking in his followers, I recommend taking the glowing reviews of his books with a pinch of salt! Also, this isn't a genuine Tibetan Buddhist approach to religion, as they encourage thinking for oneself, and studying from a wide range of literature, from different authors. In my opinion, this approach rings true for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 12 days ago by Amy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product
Excellent seller to deal with. Quality product supplied. Would highly recommend
Published 13 days ago by B. Bonner
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Buddhism
Following Geshe's teachings has helped to understand Buddha's teachings and in turn to apply them in everyday life.
Published 25 days ago by J. Rollestone
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction ...yes
Very informative and easy to understand book for the novice who wishes to look into buddhism on a larger scale
Published 2 months ago by Alan Moffett
4.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start
A fantastic little intro into the basic workings of Buddhism. This book isnt going to change your life, but it could well be a starting point. Who knows?!
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
I've become a Buddhist, this book has helped me . This book is brill , excellent , worth the reading
Published 5 months ago by steve
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed
I wanted to understand Buddhism and thought it was great to start with... but then I got a bit lost with some ideas
Published 6 months ago by amazonlady
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
I bought this book as I am interested in the way of life and not the religion. I wanted to find out more about meditation and Buddhist way of dealing with stressful situations. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. E. Ede
4.0 out of 5 stars Buddhism
A bit heavy going and a bit complicated. Am sure there must be an easier book for new initiates into Buddhism. Did gradually work my way through it but it was hard work
Published 10 months ago by pickles
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book with an easy to understand summary of what Buddhism is.
This book is complied of small sections of all the main concepts that governs the life and believes a true Buddhist. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Andrea Blackwell
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