Beautiful Breath wrote:With the risk of sounding like an intellectual snob my bookshelf has nothing that will be of any use to someone coming from a different tradition wanting to embark on a Theravadin Journey. What would you recommend a newbie to read as a good intro. They're a smart cookie so ready re Abhidhamma etc...
Thanks in advance!
I'd advise them to stay away from Abhidhamma until they have a studies the suttas quite a bit, as starting off with Abhidhamma would risk having them understand the Abhidhamma in a largely intellectual framework, whereas if they study the suttas in detail first, then I think they would then be able to understand the practical applications of Abhidhamma instead.
You mention they are smart, so I think they would have no problem understanding the Suttas. The only real question is where they should start. The "In the Buddha's Words" anthology already mentioned is a very good place because it gives a good cross section of the Suttas, going over many different subjects without focusing on one in detail.
After that, I think where to go next is largely a matter of personal taste. The Majjhima Nikaya is very good, but the Sutta Nipata, the Itivuttaka, and the Udana also contain a lot of easily accessible Dhamma and also have a beautiful and very inspiring quality to them.