Buddhism Plain & Simple

Steve Hagen

Nonfiction 1997 | 161 pages


I was raised Catholic.  I suddenly realized while reading Buddhism Plain & Simple that we had ONE book to go to, if we wanted to understand the teaching of Catholicism.  The Bible.  Okay, and maybe The Catechism.  Buddhism doesn't have a Bible of sorts, and so the dharma is written about by scholars, teachers, buddhas, monks, nuns, lay people.  No wonder I have been confused!

This book, Buddhism Plain & Simple, has begun to make it clearer to me.  No matter what words are used, or the interpretation provided, at least part of the foundation of the dharma of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path.  I know this is over-simplifying, but a framework is starting to build for me that I can hang other teachings onto.

Hagen, in this book, writes unrelentingly about "seeing."  Seeing reality, seeing truth, seeing right action, seeing duhkha (suffering).  I feel urged and encouraged to "see."   While I don't exactly know how to do this in all circumstances, I find this to be a clear and powerful message.

The last third of the book focuses on the illusion of self.  I don’t understand this concept at all!  Of course, “understanding” is not even the “right” word ... it is about seeing.  Anyway, I have much more to learn.  How thrilling!

This is a great book for us beginners!  I recommend it highly!

Thank you for the loan, Thom.

P.S.  I still haven’t seen the "Mysterious Figure" on page 28, for what it actually is.  Do you see it?

November 2022