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Summary

This user’s guide to Buddhist basics takes the most commonly asked questions - beginning with “What is the essence of the Buddha’s teachings?” - and provides simple answers in plain English. Thubten Chodron’s responses to the questions that always seem to arise among people approaching Buddhism make this an exceptionally complete and accessible introduction - as well as a manual for living a more peaceful, mindful, and satisfying Life. Buddhism for Beginners is an ideal first book on the subject for anyone, but it’s also a wonderful resource for seasoned students, since the question-and-answer format makes it easy to find just the topic you’re looking for, such as:

  • What is the goal of the Buddhist path?
  • What is karma?
  • If all phenomena are empty, does that mean nothing exists?
  • How can we deal with fear?
  • How do I establish a regular meditation practice?
  • What are the qualities I should look for in a teacher?
  • What is Buddha-nature?
  • Why can't we remember our past lives?

©2001 Thubten Chodron (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Buddhism for Beginners

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Thorough introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

I must admit I overlooked this book on more than one occasion imagining it would be a little lightweight, it isn't. It covers a lot of material and answers a lot of questions I have and repays multiple listens.
The narrator had a beautiful voice too which helped and I found it matched the content very well. I look forward to my next Thubten Chodron audiobook now and hope Audible can get more of them. Enjoy.

8 people found this helpful

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Great.

Easy to understand. Everything is simple and calm and I have really enjoyed listening to this whilst I walked through the woods. It has sparked a keen interest to learn more about the Dharma.

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New insight

I thought this was superb: extremely interesting and well explained. Well done to everyone concerned.

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Great for beginning

Having an interest in Buddhism but not having read anything about it before, I was worried that this book might be hard going. But I needn’t have. It was so well read and explained everything so well that I finished it and couldn’t wait to learn more.

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Learnt a lot

A very good summary that touches on a myriad of interesting topics and ideas. A relaxing and inspirational listen that is not preachy; much like its subject matter.

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Full of superstition

The chapter on death and dying in particular is outrageously ridiculous, shockingly primitive and full of superstition.

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useful introduction to Buddhism

As someone who has always struggled to follow Christianity, I found this book really helpful in understanding the concepts and ethos of Buddhism. A great start in helping me find my way with faith

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Buddhism for Beginners

A very enlightening way to start learning the path of the Buddha and learning about kindness, love and compassion for all sentient beings.

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Great intro for beginners

this book is so pleasant to listen to and it answered so many of my questions. would totally recommend to somebody just discovering the world of Buddhism

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Excellent!

Very informative, it all makes so much sense to me now. Beautifully read too. I recommend.

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  • chad d
  • 02-07-15

Amazing introduction to Buddhism

The book is in a question answer format and covers all I would ask on my own. I've never learned so much about a religion so fast.

If you're interested in learning about Buddhism and want a no-nonsense description, I'd highly recommend this.

24 people found this helpful

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  • AT
  • 18-03-15

Logical and well paced.

I felt like this book had just the right amount of detail and the author worked hard to make the subject approachable. The narrator was pleasant as well.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Tom
  • 26-01-15

Great insight into buddhist concepts and rituals

I'm a novice at Buddhism and this book clarified lots of questions I had about mantras, shrines and rituals. This book also covers the basic buddhist concepts of karma, etc. I say or is a good beginners book and one that I'll keep listening over and over.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Jennie
  • 10-12-20

Informative, but not engaging

This book is setup as question and short answer on repeat. It’s not terrible, but not what I expected and difficult to fully engage in as a story. It’s more of a reference manual. “What does Buddhism say about....?”

6 people found this helpful

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  • L.Boileau
  • 15-01-18

Beginner

Having gained interest in the practice of buddhism and dharma, this was a great start. A wonderful base that has helped answer questions I may have had myself, or questions I hadn’t even considered. This is a book I plan to listen to several times over, as there is so much information and I am sure different chapters will have more meaning at different times in my life.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sm
  • 06-12-20

Straight forward

Easy to understand without a lot of unnecessary information perfect for beginners. Great book overall-

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-18

Great place to start (& put on repeat!)

Informative. I liked the question answer format. Narrorater was a little monotone but also relaxing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eric Lara
  • 16-02-22

False Therapy Narrative

You had me until Chapter 13 where a false presentation of clinical therapy was referenced. As a therapist, I highly disagree with this narrative and it can discourage individuals to receive psychotherapy treatment. Those statements are not true of therapist.

1 person found this helpful

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  • dbamuti
  • 12-06-21

Not sure for whom this is written

I think in order to get anything out of this book you would have to have maybe never heard the word “Buddhist”
There are portions of this book that are so silly it’s almost insulting.
At one point the narrator is telling you that the people on the movie screen are not real so you should not get attached to the story.
I don’t even know what to say to that statement.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-11-20

A interesting read for the curious and beginners

clear and simple explanation of Buddhist philosophy and beliefs for non practitioners and the curious!

1 person found this helpful