The best of its kind.
— Chevy Chase, writer, Saturday Night Live; actor, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Vacation, Caddyshack, Fletch
Since we are a species of idiots, this book is for everyone. (It’s your mind, stupid!) The Buddha’s wisdom is timeless, and it’s your time, now.
—Wes Nisker, author, You’re Not Your Fault, & Other Revelations; The Essential Crazy Wisdom, Buddha’s Nature, and The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom
This book is not for idiots. It tells us what smart people want and need to know about Buddhist wisdom, history, theory, and its practice today. Gary Gach has done a fine job here, in lending a helping hand to lift ourselves toward the spiritual goal of awakened enlightenment.
— Lama Surya Das, founder of the Dzogchen Center; author of Awakening the Buddha Within; Make Me One With Everything;
This book will bring a smile to us all. We see that it is reaching out to so many people – to bring the understanding, solidity, and compassion so very needed in our society.
— Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zenmaster; founder of the Order of Interbeing; author of +50 books, including Peace Is Every Step; Miracle of Mindfulness; The Heart of The Buddha’s Teachings; Living Buddha, Living Christ; No Mud, No Lotus; The Art of Communicating; How To Love
At last! The Complete Idiot’s Guide… makes Buddhism as accessible as Volkswagen repair. (Or is it the other way around?) It’s so easy even a woman can do it. Not only that. Even a MAN! Thanks to Gary Gach’s wide-ranging knowledge and long experience as a Buddhist practitioner, his book is full of delightful quotes and anecdotes. He brings Buddhism alive in the “hear and now,” including, for example, an excellent chapter on socially engaged Buddhism, letting us know of the many ways in which contemporary Buddhist practice is integrally connected with work for social and environmental justice. The book is inviting for a newcomer to Buddhism, and great fun for a long-time practitioner as well, as it reminds us of the multiple forms of contemporary Buddhist practice.
— Susan Moon, author The Life and Letters of Tofu Roshi; This Is Getting Old; and, with Norman Fischer, What Is Zen? Plain Talk for a Beginner’s Mind; editor, with Florence Caplow of The Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women
Gary’s clarity has once again offered a refresher course for us all in how to live mindfully and heartfully. A very thorough, well-paved path on which to move ahead toward our inherent qualities of mercy and awareness. Drawing on the words of those who have faced the same bewilderment and confusion as us all, and gone ahead in a continuingly steady step, drawn by the wisdom and depth that is our birthright leading toward our potential for a very creative liberation.
It’s a fine book, many blessings.
— Stephen Levine, author of Becoming Kuan Yin; Who Dies?; A Year To Live; and A Gradual Awakening
Gary Gach knows his stuff. Just as importantly for this book, he writes sharply, cleanly, and well. Gach’s writing is elegant and sparse and the message is boiled down, never dumbed down and never, ever boring or dry.
It is difficult to resist sitting down by the fireplace with book in hand and reading all 416 pages in one sitting.
— Multicultural Review
With great integrity and critical insight, Gary Gach immeasurably enhances authentic interfaith understanding and fellowship. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Buddhism is an exquisitely organized and comprehensive introduction to Buddhism that honors the intellect, illumines the spirit, and ennobles the human sojourn.
—Reverend Dorsey Blake, The Church for The Fellowship of All Peoples
If you meet the Buddha on the road—kill him! But if you meet the Buddha in the pages of Gary Gach’s delightfully insightful new book, listen carefully to what he has to say. Gary is a clear voice articulating the history, culture, and universal appeal of the Dharma. This is a book for everyone: those who know a lot about Buddhism; those who know little; and those precious few who are blessed with knowing nothing at all.
—Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrity; Proverbs: The Wisdom of Solomon; radio host, Essential Conversations; Holy Rascals
What I liked best about this book is its ability to get across the incredible richness and diversity of the Buddhist experience without losing sight of the details. Expect the unexpected, expect the strangely familiar. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Buddhism is often illuminating, occasionally quirky, never dull. Enjoy!
—Anthony Flanagan, Buddhism.About.com
Surprisingly enlightening and wonderfully accessible … this book truly shows how the complex ideas of one of the most ancient philosophies in the world can be adopted into anyone’s life.
—Neela Banerjee, Asian Week
This new guide to Buddhism is lighthearted and entertaining, but also thorough, current, and very sincere. The author has brought together many aspects of Buddhist history and practice—from the precepts, and meditation, to Buddhism and science—in a very down-to-earth voice but without missing a beat.
—The Mountains and Rivers Zen Order
… a creatively designed tour … organized in a playful yet highly efficient way … a simple yet profound mix of education and illustration along with exercises for integration … Pick a page and dive into any space …
—Kennedy Hassett, Creations
You can be sure that this text will appear in my introductory class as a great and helpful aid in presenting Buddhism for beginners.
—Howard Gontovnick, Varnier College
… fun, entertaining, and informative … doesn’t lead us astray.
It’s like a college seminar on Buddhism distilled into Cliff’s Notes … essential reading … with incredible breadth and depth, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism makes Buddhism accessible, but it also makes it meaningful and fun. After reading it, you’ll feel more like a genius than an idiot, but since you’ll have attained a new sense of lightness and detachment, you’ll realize how little either label really matters.
—Leza Lowitz, The Japan Times
Gary Gach has done a genuine service in presenting this knowledgeable and accessible overview of Buddhist teaching and wisdom.
— Jack Kornfield, cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center; author, The Wise Heart; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; A Path with a Heart
Let this book guide you practicing the Buddha’s teachings, and surely you’ll become well on your way to Enlightenment.
— Maxine Hong Kingston, author The Fifth Book of Peace; China Men; I Want a Broad Margin in My Life
Ever balanced between the poet and the pragmatist, Gach guides and inspires readers, and stirs old souls and young from their sleep state to awaken to Buddhism’s wisdom.
— Perry Garfinkel, New York Times contributor; author Buddha or Bust
Gary Gach gives a tremendously useful overview of the basic history and practices of Buddhism combined with first-hand insights gathered from decades of personal practice. This is a highly readable, no-B.S. guide to Buddhism. Gach’s good solid scholarship is fused with a likable, down-to-earth style that makes Buddhism easy to understand without watering it down. You don’t need to be an idiot like me to appreciate his approach!
— Brad Warner, Zen priest; author, Hardcore Zen; Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate; There is No God & He Is Always With You
I loved this book. All my adult life, I have studied world religions, and Buddhism often has overwhelmed me. Gary Gach uses the Complete Idiot’s Guide format, and uses it well. … I have gained a greater appreciation for Buddhism and realize that much of what I do daily actually is Buddhist in nature. I highly recommend The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism to any seeker, beginning or advanced.
— Lynn Allison, Whole Living Journal
What allows The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism to transcend its genre of introductory books is its openness. Gach lets the one taste of the Dharma flow right through every page, and succeeds where other introductions fail by bringing Buddhism to life, to this very moment. It’s well informed, broad-minded, richly textured, and, finally, useful. The whole tapestry of Buddhism in one book. What’s not to like? If you’re looking for one basic book on Buddhism, this is it.
— Franz Metcalfe, author, What Would Buddha Do?; Buddha in Your Backpack; Being Buddha at Work; Just Add Buddha!