An engaging, accessible introduction to Buddhism for those who are looking to explore a new spiritual tradition or understand the roots of their mindfulness practice.
Are you curious about Buddhism but find yourself met with scholarly texts or high-minded moralizing every time you try to pick up a book about it? Well, if so, relax. This is no ordinary introduction to Buddhism; there are none of the saccharine platitudes and dense pontification that you may have come to expect. Buddhish is a readable introduction for complete newcomers that provides an objective, streamlined overview of the tradition—from unpacking the Four Noble Truths to understanding what “nirvana” actually means. For those who have already dipped their toes into the tradition through the practice of mindfulness or meditation, this guide will help you create a more well-rounded and informed experience by delving into the history of the Buddhist traditions that shape a mindful practice.
Buddhist scholar Dr. Pierce Salguero analyzes the ideas and philosophy of the complex tradition through the eyes of both a critic and an admirer. He shares anecdotes from his time at a Thai monastery, stories from the years he spent living throughout Asia, and other personal experiences that have shaped his study of Buddhism. Through this guide, readers will have the opportunity to develop an approach to practice that is not quite Buddhist but Buddhish.
Through engaging and lighthearted stories, Dr. Salguero breaks down 20 central principles of the tradition, including:
C. Pierce Salguero is a transdisciplinary humanities scholar who is fascinated by the historical and contemporary intersections between Buddhism, medicine, and cross-cultural exchange. He has a PhD in the history of medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (2010) and teaches Asian history, medicine, and religion at Penn State University’s Abington College, located near Philadelphia. He is the author of many books on the history and practice of Buddhism and Asian medicine. Connect with him online at piercesalguero.com or on Twitter at @piercesalguero.
“An informative, skeptic-friendly introduction . . . Salguero exercises remarkable facility and care in faithfully capturing an unromanticized Buddhism as a living tradition while encouraging readers to draw their own conclusions, offering up a balanced and broad overview of the faith . . . [N]uanced and approachable.” —Publishers Weekly
“[A] thoughtful introductory guide to Buddhism...Salguero, a scholar and professor of Buddhism, explains the classic texts well. But he also opens up the spiritual practices in understandable, applicable ways.” —Spirituality & Practice
“Reading this book is like talking with an intelligent, funny, cool, and down-to-earth friend who is actually an expert on Buddhism. The Buddhist teachings and practices come to life through Salguero’s insights, stories, and thoughtfully organized treatment as he guides you through fundamental historical, philosophical, and cultural dimensions of Buddhism. In other words, it’s an accurate and accessible book. It offers thought-provoking questions that prime the pump for deeper inquiry and self-reflection.” —Paula Arai, author of Bringing Zen Home
“As an antidote to the Hollywood romanticizing of Asian monks in red robes, the proliferation of platitudes from mindfulness and sappy Buddhist self-help peace, love, and happiness books, and the dry, scholastic, and hair-splitting treatises on Buddhism from academics, Pierce Salguero’s Buddhish provides an honest, personal, and refreshing middle-way journey that neither mystifies nor dismisses what this tradition has to offer.” —Ron Purser, author of McMindfulness
“I often hesitate when asked for recommendations for Introduction to Buddhism books. On the one side, academic books are rigorous but dry; on the other, practitioner books on Buddhism can be overly focused on meditation practice and lack depth. Buddhish bridges the two genres perfectly. It is an accessible, relevant, and fresh take on core influential concepts and practices in Buddhism that draws on the author’s significant lived and academic background in the tradition. Buddhish will be my go-to beginner’s guide. It should be yours, too.” —Ann Gleig, author of American Dharma
“Buddhish has unexpectedly changed my life as a practicing Buddhist and Buddhist teacher, and I am astounded, angry, and joyful. From his opening salvo in declaring there is no historical evidence that ‘the Buddha’ existed, to his ending exhortation to ‘be skeptical,’ C. Pierce Salguero nevertheless creates a rich and nuanced appreciation and description of the major lineages and teachings of Buddhism as a global faith tradition with much to offer the curious and open-minded. The limpid writing and confident organization of the chapters covering key subjects such as non-self and Buddha-nature assure that this book is destined to become a nondogmatic source of information, conversation, and fruitful inquiry for readers who are ready not to become Buddhist, but Buddhish.” —Mushim Patricia Ikeda, Buddhist and secular mindfulness teacher; diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant; and community activist
“For those who are curious but skeptical about Buddhism, Salguero’s Buddhish offers an introduction that is informed by real-world experience of traditional Buddhism but never dogmatic. It is an approachable guide to foundational and timeless ideas from Buddhism that are relevant to real life. Its presentation of Buddhist thought is at once critical, sensitive, and personal, and it will help any reader to not just understand Buddhist ideas but also to feel what makes Buddhism transformative, difficult, and fascinating.” —Nicolas Bommarito, author of Seeing Clearly: A Buddhist Guide to Life