Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
zan
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:06 am

alan wrote:Aslo, John LeCarre. I'd bring his books.
Alright! Looked him up too. Spy novels! I read all of Ian Flemings. Ruined the movies for me as, of course, the books are so much better and totally different.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

alan
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by alan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:16 am

As far as Dhamma books are concerned--the answer is obvious. Everyone will say the same thing.
But if you are ever stranded on the beach, best place to look is inward. Sit and listen to the waves.

zan
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:29 am

alan wrote:As far as Dhamma books are concerned--the answer is obvious. Everyone will say the same thing.
But if you are ever stranded on the beach, best place to look is inward. Sit and listen to the waves.
There are so many Dhamma books though. Bringing actual sutta collections may be seen as a good idea for some, but others may believe that it is easier to understand books that explain suttas in modern terms. Others may prefer ancient commentaries rather than suttas and some may prefer a mixture of ancient and modern commentaries and sutta collections.

I do have some notion on my more whimsical days though that one could just listen to the waves, or the grass in the wind.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Dhammanando
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:23 am

zan wrote:What five religious books would you bring to a desert island?
Saṃyutta Nikāya
Aṅguttara Nikāya
Suttanipāta
Paṭisambhidāmagga
Visuddhimagga


zan wrote:What five secular fiction books would you bring?
Snorri Sturluson, Egil’s Saga
William Shakespeare, Complete Plays
Halldór Laxness, Sjálfstætt Fólk (“Independent People”)
Evelyn Waugh, Sword of Honour Trilogy
Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle


Though I’d actually prefer to take five volumes of verse...

Sæmund the Learned, Eddukvæði (The Poetic Edda)
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Various, Penguin Anthology of Elizabethan Verse (or some thicker anthology if I could find it before the boat sank)
Louis MacNeice, Collected Poems (2007 ed.)
Sylvia Plath, Selected Poems

zan wrote:What five secular non-fiction books would you bring?
Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy
Simplicius of Cilicia, Commentary on the Enchiridion of Epictetus
Justus Lipsius, De constantia (Book of Constancy)
Michel de Montaigne, Essais
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
zan wrote:What five would you bring if it could be a mixture of the three?
Just the Dhamma texts.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:17 am

alan wrote:Aslo, John LeCarre. I'd bring his books.
He has written a lot more than five. The early ones were good, then he lost his way when the Cold War eased up, and I gave up reading him. But "A Delicate Truth" came my way recently and it's great! The focus is on whistle-blowers and the commercialisation of warfare, both very relevant.
:reading:

But his books wouldn't make my desert island list - most thrillers are read-once-and-throw-away books.
The Swiss Family Robinson would be good - survival stuff and fiction and religion ... though the religion is very dull. :tongue:
In the Buddha's Words, because I might get to the end of it at last without too many other distractions :embarassed: and then re-read it.
Others? I don't know. Gaiman or Le Guin? Eco or Borges? Something about recreational mathematics?
:shrug:
Kim

Reductor
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by Reductor » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:47 am

zan wrote:In each scenario assume that you only own a total of five books, not a total of them all, twenty books would be an easier question than just five :tongue:. We are assuming that survival is not an issue on the island so books on water purification, medicine and such are not necessary.

What five religious books would you bring to a desert island?

Samyutta
Majjhima
Anguttara
Visudhimagga
Vimuttimagga


The first three together gives a faithful presentation of the Buddha's teachings. The other two give plenty more to think about from those who thought about dhamma for a long time. I especially like that the visudhi and the vimutti cover similar terrain, but differ in many points - that provides a nice 'holographic' view of the the ancient thought. I exclude modern works largely because there are so many of them, and the views of the dhamma in them are so bewilderingly heterogeneous that it's not clear to me which I should value, which I should reject - not to mention that the tone of them is seldom to my liking. At least the ancient commentaries have their ancientness to attest to their being worth keeping around for thousands of years.

What five secular fiction books would you bring?

I'd bring anthologies:
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volumes 1 and 2.
The Norton Anthology of Poetry
An anthology of poetry from the Romantic period.
I'm tempted to say "The complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft", but instead I'll opt for the complete works Shakespeare. 'Tis a close contest, to be sure, but the Bard's scope is tiny bit wider - though I do think I'd miss the weird and macabre tales of Lovecraft.


What five secular non-fiction books would you bring?

This one is near impossible to answer. There's too much I don't know that I want to know and would finally have time to know. So I'll just say I'd like a good history of:
Philosophy (Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy is a very interesting read. He's opinionated as heck - which makes his treatment of other philosophers highly amusing).

World History (Maybe Gombrich's "Little history of the world" which I recently read with my kids. Very nice. Susan Wise Bauer wrote a series of kid's history books that seem pretty complete - and she's writing a four volume set for adults).

Art (Gombrich's "The story of Art" is supposed to be excellent. I'd like to read it someday soon).

Christianity

Buddhism



What five would you bring if it could be a mixture of the three?

I'd bring the SN, MN, Visudhi, Vimutti, and the Anthology of Poetry. Probably I can do without the Anguttara and still get a very good sense of the dhamma, but I'd need a little worldly relief once in a while, and I prefer poetry above the other literary forms.

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Mr Man
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by Mr Man » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:55 am

1) Suttanipata
2) Keeping the breath in mind - Ajahn Lee
3) In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
4) Dhammapada
5) A taste of freedom - Ajahn chah


--


1) Ramayana
2) Moby Dick
3) Catcher in the Rye
4) Collected Short Stories (Box set allowed?) - Somerset Maugham
5) The Border Trilogy - Cormac McCarthy


--

1) Caravaggio: Complete Works
2) Van Goch: Complete Works
3) A book of 20th century photographs
4) A book of flora and fauna
5) A book of birds.


--


1) In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
2) Keeping the breath in mind - Ajahn Lee
3) A book of 20th century photographs
4) Ramayana or Moby Dick
5) A book of flora and fauna or A book of birds

zan
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:18 pm

Reductor wrote:
zan wrote:In each scenario assume that you only own a total of five books, not a total of them all, twenty books would be an easier question than just five :tongue:. We are assuming that survival is not an issue on the island so books on water purification, medicine and such are not necessary.

What five religious books would you bring to a desert island?

Samyutta
Majjhima
Anguttara
Visudhimagga
Vimuttimagga


The first three together gives a faithful presentation of the Buddha's teachings. The other two give plenty more to think about from those who thought about dhamma for a long time. I especially like that the visudhi and the vimutti cover similar terrain, but differ in many points - that provides a nice 'holographic' view of the the ancient thought. I exclude modern works largely because there are so many of them, and the views of the dhamma in them are so bewilderingly heterogeneous that it's not clear to me which I should value, which I should reject - not to mention that the tone of them is seldom to my liking. At least the ancient commentaries have their ancientness to attest to their being worth keeping around for thousands of years.

What five secular fiction books would you bring?

I'd bring anthologies:
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volumes 1 and 2.
The Norton Anthology of Poetry
An anthology of poetry from the Romantic period.
I'm tempted to say "The complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft", but instead I'll opt for the complete works Shakespeare. 'Tis a close contest, to be sure, but the Bard's scope is tiny bit wider - though I do think I'd miss the weird and macabre tales of Lovecraft.


What five secular non-fiction books would you bring?

This one is near impossible to answer. There's too much I don't know that I want to know and would finally have time to know. So I'll just say I'd like a good history of:
Philosophy (Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy is a very interesting read. He's opinionated as heck - which makes his treatment of other philosophers highly amusing).

World History (Maybe Gombrich's "Little history of the world" which I recently read with my kids. Very nice. Susan Wise Bauer wrote a series of kid's history books that seem pretty complete - and she's writing a four volume set for adults).

Art (Gombrich's "The story of Art" is supposed to be excellent. I'd like to read it someday soon).

Christianity

Buddhism



What five would you bring if it could be a mixture of the three?

I'd bring the SN, MN, Visudhi, Vimutti, and the Anthology of Poetry. Probably I can do without the Anguttara and still get a very good sense of the dhamma, but I'd need a little worldly relief once in a while, and I prefer poetry above the other literary forms.
Awesome! Thanks for the feedback. I had never really thought it out, but your feelings on modern works verses older ones makes a lot of sense.

I do not know why I didn't think of anthologies! What a clever idea.

HP Lovecraft would be fun, but would make me jump at every strange bubble in the water, every shadow behind a tree, every strange cloud ha ha. Spooky stuff! I would pick Shakespeare as well for this reason. I have a big nice edition of his complete works as well. I like your want to bring poetry. I hadn't considered it, I need more education in poetry clearly as it didn't even cross my mind.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
Posts: 518
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Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:30 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
zan wrote:What five religious books would you bring to a desert island?
Saṃyutta Nikāya
Aṅguttara Nikāya
Suttanipāta
Paṭisambhidāmagga
Visuddhimagga


zan wrote:What five secular fiction books would you bring?
Snorri Sturluson, Egil’s Saga
William Shakespeare, Complete Plays
Halldór Laxness, Sjálfstætt Fólk (“Independent People”)
Evelyn Waugh, Sword of Honour Trilogy
Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle


Though I’d actually prefer to take five volumes of verse...

Sæmund the Learned, Eddukvæði (The Poetic Edda)
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Various, Penguin Anthology of Elizabethan Verse (or some thicker anthology if I could find it before the boat sank)
Louis MacNeice, Collected Poems (2007 ed.)
Sylvia Plath, Selected Poems

zan wrote:What five secular non-fiction books would you bring?
Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy
Simplicius of Cilicia, Commentary on the Enchiridion of Epictetus
Justus Lipsius, De constantia (Book of Constancy)
Michel de Montaigne, Essais
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
zan wrote:What five would you bring if it could be a mixture of the three?
Just the Dhamma texts.
Thank you Venerable! Well, now that I read your selection of Dhamma texts I wonder if mine needs to be adjusted.

I like all of your norse and icelandic related texts! I will have to look into those. I also want to read Neil Gaimans "Norse Mythology".

I cannot believe I am beginning to be one of the only ones who did not include Shakespeare. I have a big, beautiful edition of his complete works sitting ten feet from me and I picked other books instead, what was I thinking?

I am going to have to look up many of your other selections as they sound interesting but I am not familiar with them. Clearly I am lacking in my literary education!

Thank you for all of these new books to look into.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:32 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
alan wrote:Aslo, John LeCarre. I'd bring his books.
He has written a lot more than five. The early ones were good, then he lost his way when the Cold War eased up, and I gave up reading him. But "A Delicate Truth" came my way recently and it's great! The focus is on whistle-blowers and the commercialisation of warfare, both very relevant.
:reading:

But his books wouldn't make my desert island list - most thrillers are read-once-and-throw-away books.
The Swiss Family Robinson would be good - survival stuff and fiction and religion ... though the religion is very dull. :tongue:
In the Buddha's Words, because I might get to the end of it at last without too many other distractions :embarassed: and then re-read it.
Others? I don't know. Gaiman or Le Guin? Eco or Borges? Something about recreational mathematics?
:shrug:
Kim
Interesting, thanks! Which Gaiman? I have only read American Gods and it is high up on my top ten books list, but I know he has many other popular books.
Last edited by zan on Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:37 pm

Mr Man wrote:1) Suttanipata
2) Keeping the breath in mind - Ajahn Lee
3) In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
4) Dhammapada
5) A taste of freedom - Ajahn chah


--


1) Ramayana
2) Moby Dick
3) Catcher in the Rye
4) Collected Short Stories (Box set allowed?) - Somerset Maugham
5) The Border Trilogy - Cormac McCarthy


--

1) Caravaggio: Complete Works
2) Van Goch: Complete Works
3) A book of 20th century photographs
4) A book of flora and fauna
5) A book of birds.


--


1) In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
2) Keeping the breath in mind - Ajahn Lee
3) A book of 20th century photographs
4) Ramayana or Moby Dick
5) A book of flora and fauna or A book of birds
Thanks! I have always wanted to read the Ramayana! Good choice! I also like all of your picture books, they are fine choices. I am not familiar with some of your books but they sound familiar, I will have to read up on them and maybe learn a thing or two. I also have considered reading moby dick some day. It is on the list with several other old novels.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

binocular
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Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:35 pm

If I'd have the chance, I'd make small picture books to the films Cast Away and All Is Lost, and I'd also take with me a blank book and pens.

I do need some cues; but if things don't come out of my memory and immediate experience, I have no use for books.

zan
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:43 pm

binocular wrote:If I'd have the chance, I'd make small picture books to the films Cast Away and All Is Lost, and I'd also take with me a blank book and pens.

I do need some cues; but if things don't come out of my memory and immediate experience, I have no use for books.
Thanks. I'm sorry I don't understand exactly. Are you saying you prefer pictures and your own artistry to books? If so this is an interesting thought!
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

binocular
Posts: 5471
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:16 pm

zan wrote:Thanks. I'm sorry I don't understand exactly. Are you saying you prefer pictures and your own artistry to books? If so this is an interesting thought!
As far as I can predict, if I were to in fact be stranded on a deserted island, I don't think I would have it in me to read many books, or I'd read none at all, for that matter. I don't see myself being someplace like this (and this is still a very nice place, deserted islands can be much much worse) and reading Shakespeare. I think that on a deserted island, I'd be too busy trying to find food and shelter, and trying to get off the island, to still have much time or will to read, and I'd also most likely be extremely tired most of the time.
So I think I would only be able to rely on a few visual cues, my memory and my immediate reasoning abilities.

zan
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Desert Island books religious/secular/mixture

Post by zan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:55 pm

binocular wrote:
zan wrote:Thanks. I'm sorry I don't understand exactly. Are you saying you prefer pictures and your own artistry to books? If so this is an interesting thought!
As far as I can predict, if I were to in fact be stranded on a deserted island, I don't think I would have it in me to read many books, or I'd read none at all, for that matter. I don't see myself being someplace like this (and this is still a very nice place, deserted islands can be much much worse) and reading Shakespeare. I think that on a deserted island, I'd be too busy trying to find food and shelter, and trying to get off the island, to still have much time or will to read, and I'd also most likely be extremely tired most of the time.
So I think I would only be able to rely on a few visual cues, my memory and my immediate reasoning abilities.
That makes sense but consider that Alexander Selkirk actually was marooned on a desert island for years and had spare time, some of which he did use to read :smile:.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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