Kan Sasaki, The Birth of Buddhism - A good introduction to Buddhism for beginning students!

Birth of Buddhism Buddhism in India

Summary and Comments on Kan Sasaki's "The Birth of Buddhism" - A good introduction to Buddhism for beginning students!

I would like to introduce "The Birth of Buddhism" by Kan Sasaki, published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha in 2020.

Let's take a quick look at the book.

For 2,500 years, there is an organization that has been helping those who find it hard to live. It is Buddhism. Why was Buddhism born and what is it trying to tell us? This book explains the basic knowledge of India, the birthplace of Buddhism, the world that the Buddha aimed for, his method of practice, the discipline and lifestyle of the ordained community, and the definition of Buddhism. The Buddhist worldview is so unique and new! This is the most comprehensive series of lectures on Buddhism ever given in this age of many troubles.

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This work, "The Birth of Buddhism" is a highly recommended reference book for an introduction to Buddhism. If you ask me, "I am interested in Buddhism, but what should I read? I have recently been recommending this book to people who ask me "What should I read? It is so easy to understand and read. Moreover, it is very practical because you can think about how Buddhism is related to our daily life. This book is not just a book of knowledge, but a book of wisdom for living Buddhism.

In the "Introduction" to this book, the author states

What I hope to convey in this lecture is to orient each of us in the way we live our lives.

We are all born into a "general society" made up of human species. And we live our lives while receiving, or worse, being imprinted with, the "values of the general society. Of course, if life goes smoothly and without trouble until the end of one's life, there is no problem. However, if we think about it, in this age of 80, 90, and even 100 years of life, it is unlikely that we will be able to maintain the same values and live happily without any excesses or deficiencies. The world is constantly changing, and even if the world were peaceful, the inevitable fate of "old age," "illness," and "death" will surely drag our lives down the road of decline and perdition. In the midst of this destiny, we are tempted to follow the values of the mundane world: "Work hard to get a better life, work hard to get what you want, and that's the right way to live. We walk in tandem with the common belief that "that is the right path in life.

If you are young, that's fine. If the fulfillment of desire itself seems like happiness, then it is natural to work hard for it. The desire I am talking about here is not only for money. It is about living by the values that are generally considered right in society, such as getting a good job, having a happy family, and enjoying a peaceful old age.

However, over the course of a long life, one gradually comes to realize that these values cannot be realized, that they are on a steady decline. What is important then is to know that there is another way of life than the "values of general society" that have been with us since we were born.

For example, let's say there is a big ocean of general society here, and we are born and fall into that ocean. We are surrounded by the ocean from the time we are born. So we think that the world is made up of only that ocean. We live our lives assuming that the whole world operates within these values that we know, and that there are no other options. If such a person came into contact with Buddhism through this lecture and learned that it is a unique teaching that tries to find true happiness in a place that rejects the "values of general society," then he or she would come to know a completely new way of life, just as someone who had previously thought there was only an ocean around him or her would come to know that there are islands and continents as another world. It would be like a person who had previously thought there was only the ocean around him discovering that there were islands and continents as separate worlds.

However, that does not mean that I am telling you to go there. I do not mean to say, "Join the Buddhist world, become a Buddhist, and you will be much happier than you are now. What is important is to let people know that there are multiple paths to fulfillment that they can choose from, and that there are many completely different paths to happiness in this world.

However, the path is not something that is just lying around out there. It is not something that you will bump into naturally as you walk along. We want you to know that it is there if you look for it. In other words, if you don't look for it, you won't find it.

What I want to convey in this lecture is that Buddhism is a way of life that is different from that of ordinary society. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable if you do not agree with the way of life in the general society, or if you have learned from my lecture that there is a teaching in Buddhism that is completely different from the common sense of society, but it is also different from your own way of thinking. However, it is also fine if someone feels that this is different from his or her own way of thinking. Perhaps Christianity is more useful than Buddhism as a path to happiness. That is fine. The important thing is to be convinced that there are paths to living away from the values of society in various places in this world, and that they can be found if one seeks them out.

If you are not satisfied with the state you are in now, please know that there is no need to feel alone and depressed in solitude, and that the world is full of people who are living a completely different way of life. One example is Buddhism.

In these troubled times, the "prevailing values" of the past are being shaken. The common belief that if we all get together and work energetically and vigorously, we will one day have a good world is becoming wobbly. When you are lost in such a situation, please know that there have actually been many people who have found their way in such a lost situation for 2,500 years.

As you explore and search for various ways of life, you will surely find a place with values that suit each of you. It will be my greatest pleasure if this lecture helps you to do so.

Kawade Shobo Shinsha, KAN Sasaki, The Birth of Buddhism, p. 5-9

What do you think? It's very easy to read, and there's something about the gentle narration that seems to come easily to your mind.

The narrative remains the same in this volume, explaining the essence of Buddhism and the historical background of the time. This book is written in such a way that even those with no knowledge of Buddhism can enjoy reading it, making it suitable for beginners. It is also a good book for those who have some knowledge of Buddhism, as it will make you think, "Oh, I didn't know there was such a way of thinking! I didn't know there was such a way of thinking! I think you will discover something new. I also got a clap on the knee when he compared the precepts in Buddhism to a traffic light.

I have introduced various Buddhist books on this blog, but this book is the best introductory book. I highly recommend it as well. After reading this book, Motoi NakamuraAncient India.and Baba NoritoshiEarly Buddhism: Tracing the Thought of Buddha.Noboru Karashima, Yasuaki NaraA World History of Life 5: Faces of India."is also recommended.

We encourage you to pick up these books as well.

Dr. Kan Sasaki also publishes his lectures on Buddhism on YouTube. This book is actually based on this lecture. This is a rare opportunity to learn about Buddhism on video, so it is very valuable. We hope you will take advantage of this video as well.

This is "The Birth of Buddhism" by Kan Sasaki - A good introduction to Buddhism for beginners! The book is a good introduction to Buddhism for beginners!

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