An absolute beginner's question

I have a rather basic question. Is there some sort of “Buddhism for Dummies” here or somewhere on the internet? I am of absolute beginner status. I don’t know all these multisyllabic terms, or the terms that seem to refer to the suttas. Is there a glossary somewhere that is dependable and accurate that I could use to look things up, term by term? There seems to be so much information that I’m not familiar with, and having no prior experience, I feel a little lost when I try to read the forums.
Perhaps there are others out there who are at beginner level also, who might benefit from this question? The many well-studied individuals who are using this forum give me some hope that I may have a better understanding and be able to participate more fully in the discussions someday!
Many thanks for any forthcoming info!
Rose

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Dear Rose,

First of all I would like to apologise for not always writing in a reader-friendly manner. Unfortunately I suppose this is in part the nature of this forum, which tends to attract people with a fair bit of experience.

A good place to start is Buddhanet, which contains a large amount of information on Buddhism. You may also find the webpages of the Buddhist Society of WA useful. This website has large number of talks on all aspects of Buddhism, and it contains a simple guide to Buddhism, here, and to meditation, here. Another useful tool may be the Buddhist Dictionary, which explains many of the most important Pali terms found in the Buddhist Canon. (Pali is the language of this Canon.)

I hope this helps you to get started. I am sure many others here will be able to assist as well.

With metta.

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Thank you so much for your reply. These links will help me greatly, I’m sure.
I have been watching and meditating with the BSWA live streams for the past year or so. The dhamma talks and meditation sessions have been very user friendly for me, as a beginner, and have prompted me to want to learn more. Then i signed up to participate in the Kamma and Rebirth classes which I am also enjoying. As I did more reading on this forum, I realized that there were so many terms that I was unfamiliar with, I knew I needed a resourse to be able to more fully understand what I was reading. I am grateful for the challenge and looking forward to learning.
I will check out Buddhanet and the Buddhist Dictionary as I’m sure these will help me with the terms I don’t know. They are exactly what I was looking for.
Thank you very much for your help.

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Dear Rose,

I found Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “In the Buddha’s Words” very insightful and helpful at the beginning (available from Wisdom Publications or from Amazon, or…). There is also a ‘Reading Guide’ to this book here on discourse.suttacentral: In the Buddha’s Words

There is also Nyanatiloka’s “The Word of the Buddha” (available as a free pdf download or also as printed copy), which I enjoyed reading. However, Nyanatiloka takes up Early Buddhist concepts as well as concepts from the Abhidhamma without stating clearly which is which. The book is still very helpfull and inspiring to read. I also know that there is a series of talks by Ajahn Brahm, where he goes through the chapters of the book and discusses the main points in brief (he also clarifies which teachings are Early Buddhist Teachings and which are Abhidhamma). However, I would not know where these talks are available online for download just now - you might want to try your luck at the Dhammaloka website - see above links by Bhante Brahmali).

All the best for your studies and with much mettaa,
Robert

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These talks can be found here: http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/downloads/itemlist/category/47-deeper-dhamma.html?start=20 (the last one is on page 2)

With metta.

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… I just remember, that I also liked reading: Walpola Rahula, “What the Buddha Taught” which is available as free PDF on dhammaweb, or can be purchased as book. However, I read it a while ago, so I am not sure what I would think of it now. At the time, I found it very enjoyable (easy to read and not too long).

With much mettaa,
Robert

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Wow! Excellent, thank you so much Ajahn Brahmali, Robert and Raivo! I’m very glad that I asked this question.
I can’t wait to get started and further my studies!
With many thanks and much metta.

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I started listening to these talks myself and noticed that the second and third talks have exchanged places…so just wanted to point that out so you don’t wonder what’s going on for 10 minutes, like I just did. :smiley:

With metta,
Raivo

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Hello Rose, a glossary I found useful for quick reference is http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html although it is not comprehensive. Different authors or teachers will give slightly (or not slightly) different renderings of some of the pali terms, so it’s good to have more than one place to go, I think.

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thank you, raivo!
with metta, rose

thank you very much letizia!
with metta, rose

Hi everyone,

Just a friendly tip here: the best way to show appreciation on Discourse is to click the “like” button. (the little heart below a comment). It turns pink with metta! This helps the system to rank conversations and comments. So if you see a comment that you think is good—which can mean simply that it is polite, relevant, and well-written—then hit the heart!

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