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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 5 October 2012
Before purchasing this book, look-up the NKT. The New Kadampa Tradition is the organisation headed by the author of this book. If it sounds up your street, buy this book. If it doesn't, look elsewhere.
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on 3 January 2011
Firstly the good points of the book:
- It gives a relatively good view over Mahayana Buddhism.
- The book is well structured and the layout makes sense leaving more advanced teachings of buddhism towards the end, which helps to ease you into the book.
- The book itself is quite readable with the writing style being fairly concise and some philosophical concepts are explained clearly.

The bad:
- Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's views on Buddhism are dogmatic, for instance he says not to go to teachers who contradict the Buddhas teachings
- The book seeks to achieve a push factor towards Buddhism through threatening rebirth to a lower realm (i.e. HELL) unless the reader decides to pursue the Buddhist path or moreover the authors path to enlightenment.
- The book seems to be a massive advertising platform for Kelsang Gyatso's NKT cult and books, which are constantly cited within this book. No other sources of information are cited. This has lead me to the opinion that the authors views are biased and once again, dogmatic.
- Concepts are thrust upon you and the author assumes that you will accept them. However after pondering some of the later points in the book the points don't make philosophical sense.

In conclusion I would avoid this book and seek another author.
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on 9 October 2004
I find this book very clear and profound at the same time, and a source of great inspiration. It opens doors to new insights on how we can live a happier life, how to understand our experiences in a meaningful way, and how to develop loving kindness towards others.
There is nothing sectish about it, the two comittments that you mention are the same that the Dalai Lama will give when granting refuge, as they are the common refuge vows and comitments for all traditions.
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on 25 February 2010
I found this book to be a bit too subjective for my liking, I wanted to read something about Buddhism as a whole, not about a particular sector.

I get the feeling that this book is from the Kadampa view point, not an overview of the Buddhist faith as a whole. Personally I feel that if you want to learn about Buddhism from an objective view point then read one of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama or Lama Surya Das books; you can't go wrong with either of them, they're both fantastically informative and knowledgeable writers.
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on 8 July 2011
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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on 31 January 2016
This book would surprise everyone who's heard about Buddha and the origins of today's teachings on Buddhism or would like to know more about the life of Buddha and his teachings . Written with so much wisdom and knowledge by the author ( whom had studied since childhood in Tibet , now living in the west ) It's a wonderfully practical book , explaining in detail the basic teachings of Buddha up to the ultimate teachings on the true nature of the mind and reality , I have to read thisover and over again and memorise this !
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on 19 February 2014
I wanted to understand Buddhism and thought it was great to start with... but then I got a bit lost with some ideas
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on 20 January 2001
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso presents all the essential teachings of mainstream Buddhism in a lucid and pleasing manner. He gives a brief biography of Buddha Shakyamuni, explains the Buddhist beliefs in rebirth and karma and details the benefits of the practice of the six perfections. All in all a wonderful text for anyone interested or new in Buddhism. Highly recommended.
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on 10 November 2015
Facile bunch of trite nonsense from a deeply unpleasant cult leader. He should have spent more time training his own mind rather than building up a personality cult and misleading his followers.
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on 7 May 2007
I found this a very interesting read and difficult to put down. Definately worth reading if you are interested in the basic ideas of Buddhism.

Some of the ideas might have been easier to grasp quickly if explained more directly but I think this may have been intentional to encourage thought on the topics.
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