The Buddha Next Door (Paperback)

By Zan Gaudioso, Greg Martin

Middleway Press, 9780977924516, 224pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2007

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Description

Through personal experiences, this anthology illuminates how the practice of Nichiren Buddhism has changed people’s lives for the better. These first-person narratives—representing people from all across the country of various ages and ethnic backgrounds—examine the challenges of daily life associated with health, relationships, career, and aging, and the ensuing experiences of hope, success, inspiration, and personal enlightenment that come about as a result of living as Nichiren Buddhists.



About the Author

Zan Gaudioso is the author and editor of five books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, including "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul III. "She was an approved writer for Touchstone/Hollywood Pictures. She lives in Pacific Palisades, California. Greg Martin is the coauthor of "The Buddha in Your Mirror." He is a vice general director of the SGI-USA, the lay organization of Nichiren Buddhists in the United States, and is a professor in the SGI-USA's study department. He lives in Los Angeles.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Did you find that the preface and glossary in this book were helpful in understanding the Buddhist rites practiced by the people portrayed in these stories? Did the book inspire you to seek more information about Nichiren Buddhism?
  2. Each of the stories tells of an individual faced with personal problems which are overcome by the practice of the Buddhist faith. Which one of these stories resonated most with you and why?
  3. Would you like to discover how the lives of the people in these stories have evolved since the publication of the book? What do you think the future holds for them?
  4. Soka Gakkai International President Ikeda states that the mission of everyone in their life is "to climb the mountain in front of you." How do the people in this book set out to do this? How far are they successful? Does this describe how you feel about your mission in life?
  5. This book is entitled The Buddha Next Door. Were you surprised at how many people from different places and from different walks of life are practicing the Buddhist way of life? What does this say about people's search for meaning?
  6. The book is divided into seven different chapters, each containing stories pertaining to a certain aspect of human life. Which of these seven appealed most to you and why?
  7. The practicing Buddhists portrayed find the answers to their individual challenges within themselves. Daisaku Ikeda is quoted as saying " Who answers our prayers? We do through faith and effort. No-one does it for us." Discuss if and how this thought differs from other religious beliefs.
  8. Many of the stories tell of overcoming great challenges by using actions inspired by the strength and wisdom devloped through chanting. Can you describe any triumphs over adversity gained through similar positive powers of thought, meditation and prayer in your life or the lives of people you know?
  9. The Buddhist practice aims to bring people into harmony with the universe so that the individual can attain wisdom, courage, life force and compassion. Do these "ordinary people" manifest these attributes, and are they successful in creating peace in their world? In your opinion, how can these attributes contribute on a larger scale to create peace and harmony in the world at large.
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