Buddhism's Four Noble Truths

ancient wisdom for getting sane and being happy

If (like me) your favorite way of understanding a new topic is through good books, you might appreciate knowing that in Buddhism, reading and study are a form of practice. 

There are three suggested books and three major forms of Buddhism. Coincidence? Of course not! While all schools of Buddhism revere the Four Noble Truths, each has come to regard them differently.

These three books represent the Theravada traditions (Ven. Henepola Gunaratana), the Zen (Mahayana) tradition (Thich Nhat Hanh), and the Vajrayana tradition (the Dalai Lama). If you have the time and interest, I suggest reading them all! Of course, each individual author is only sharing their take, not speaking for their entire lineage, but there's some difference in their approaches.

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By the author of Mindfulness in Plain English, this is a wonderful beginner's guide to walking the Buddhist path. In simple language, it unpacks the Fourth Noble Truth in a way that helps you transform your mind (and life).

Henepola Gunaratana

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For an overview of the entire Buddhist philosophy in one easy-to-read book, start here. It covers not just the Four Noble Truths but also the Noble Eightfold path and other Buddhist basics.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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If you're pretty familiar with Buddhism, this book will give you a deeper dive into the Four Noble Truths from a Tibetan perspective. It ties together the entire path and brings a Vajrayana perspective.

The Dalai Lama

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An overview of Buddhism

For an introduction to the basics of Buddhism, plus a deeper dive into each of the surviving schools, this is my favorite book. It's a good balance of the history and beliefs of the tradition plus the ways people actually live their dharma practices now.

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