Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Buddhist Books Read

I Once Was a Monkey: Stories the Buddha Told by Jeanne M. Lee Jataka stories are told by a Buddha statue to a motley crew of animals taking shelter in a cave. I liked the gimmick of stringing them together and the Buddha relating the stories to his animal audience, it makes it more of a story for children. Sometimes the Jataka tales don't really translate well as stories for kids. They come from another time and culture, and they need to be manipulated so they will work for modern kids.

Buddha Stories by Demi
This had some of the same stories as I Once Was a Monkey and I thought this version a little more formal. It stuck to the traditional form. Even the gold on blue pages is a traditional presentation of the stories. I thought these versions would be a little harder to relate to kids, and I could barely read the gold lettering on blue paper. Usually you can't go wrong with Demi, she is popular for her Buddhist books...but in this case other authors may be better for these stories.

Living Kindness: The Buddha's Ten Guiding Principles for a Blessed Life by Donald Altman
I used this book some for my Dharma School classes this last year. I also used Practice of Perfection by Robert Aitken. The Zen flavor of Aitken Roshi resonated with me more, and I was delighted to receive that hard-to-get book from Steve for a Christmas present. When I was looking, I couldn't find it under a hundred dollars. While Aitken helped me deepen my understanding of the Paramitas, it wasn't very good for gleaning lessons for kids.

Living Kindness didn't go as deep into the Buddhist thought, but skated the surface more, and brought in current cultural references, as well as a not-so-Zen referent. It sort of reads like it could be an introduction to Buddhism...and perhaps it could be...but if so it would be only a small slice of what Buddhism is.


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tkkerouac said...

hehe, i was looking for boobs and couldn't locate them
will you ever recap the 10 lessons of kindness?