FUNDAMENTALS OF BUDDHISM
In Common Questions in the Practice of Buddhism, Chan Master Sheng Yen addresses questions about Buddhism and many other spiritual and worldly problems in a simple question-and-answer format. He clarifies common areas of confusion about Buddhist beliefs and practices and gives practical advice on leading a life that is "full of wisdom, kindness, radiance, comfort, freshness, and coolness" in the contemporary world.
By Chan Master Sheng Yen As a long-time monk, scholar, and founder of monasteries in Asia and North America, Master Sheng Yen is uniquely qualified to explain the correct — therefore "orthodox" — beliefs that have guided Chinese Buddhism for over 1,500 years. Written while the author was on solitary retreat, OCB was Master Sheng Yen's response to many questions he received about Chinese Buddhism. Using a question-and-answer format, the book explores a wide range of subjects, from what it means to be a Buddhist to sudden enlightenment. This English translation is, therefore, a welcome addition to the Western literature of Buddhism and includes new annotations, appendixes, and a glossary designed for the Western reader.
Buddhism values our intelligence and our own choices in life. It encourages us to cultivate wisdom and compassion to the fullest extent and to be responsible for all our actions.
Shakyamuni Buddha first expounded the Four Noble Truths to five of his fellow monks nearly 2,500 years ago. It was the first teaching that he presented after his own profound enlightenment. Yet, as guiding principles for the practice of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are still relevant today because they speak to perennial truths about human existence.
There is a saying in Mahayana Buddhism: "Those who have precepts to break are bodhisattvas; those who have no precepts to break are outer-path followers."
Buddhism can be approached by studying the teachings and by practicing the teachings. It is not always easy to distinguish between the two. Deliberating upon and profoundly discerning the teachings can itself become a way of practice. Similarly, practicing to attain wisdom (prajna) requires stabilizing the mind (samadhi) through understanding the teachings. Study and practice, like prajna and samadhi, are thus intimately connected.