Building My Buddhist Library

by Kevin D’Arcy

As a new Nichiren Buddhist, I have been hungry to learn as much as I can as soon as I can!

I will admit, as soon as my Gohonzon was enshrined in my living room and my new  “Buddhist family members” left my apartment, I raced around the SF Valley hitting every bookstore I could find in search of anything referencing Nichiren Buddhism. I was amazed at just how many different forms of Buddhism are out there.

In the end, I decided to rely on the bookstore located in the SFV Buddhist Center. For one thing, customer service at Barnes and Noble have nothing on the wonderful ladies staffing the SVFB Center’s bookstore. I have been in there EVERY Saturday & Sunday, and no matter who is at the register, they have given me great information on my book purchases.

As far as I know, there is no new member reading list. To keep myself from being overwhelmed by all there is to learn as I begin my adventure in Nichiren Buddhism and the SGI, I have created my own “unofficial” reading list which I’d like to share!  I’d also love to hear from VNSO District members what their favorite books are so I can share with EVERYONE! Okay, here is what I have so far:

  1. The Writings of NICHIREN DAISHONIN (Vol 1&2) These are a great reference for many of the articles I’ve read in LIVING BUDDHISM & WORLD TRIBUNE Also, these two volumes are called the GOSHO, so a valuable tool to make the most of the monthly Regional GOSHO Study sessions.
  2. Buddhism Day By Day/Wisdom for Modern Life This was a lovely gift, from a fantastic Men’s Division Member, which I use to read for daily wisdom after I complete both my morning and evening gongyo!
  3. The Winning Life & An Introduction to Buddhism These are two MUST-READs given to me by the lovely Karen Malina White when I received my Gohonzon.
  4. The Buddha in Your Mirror. This is the first purchase I made during the week I waited for my Gohonzon/Second Birthday to arrive! I ’m about to re-read it, as I found this book very helpful in understanding the new Buddhist world I have entered
  5. The Lotus Sutra & The Wisdom of LOTUS SUTRA: A Discussion Vol. 1 Maybe this is just a personal preference but The Lotus Sutra seems like a must-have for any Nichiren Buddhist library. It is a bit of a heavy read to digest which is why I picked up  The Wisdom of LOTUS SUTRA Vol.1 to help me understand things slowly. There are probably other books easier to read but I want to have these books on hand when the urge for deep Buddhist knowledge hits me late at night! J
  6. The Human Revolution: Book 1 &2 This was a gift I gave myself after listening to an inspiring discussion during a Sunday Soka Spirit meeting. I was so moved by what the speaker read I ran to the bookstore and bought both volumes before they go out of print.  I believe these books focus on the journey of the second Soka Gakkai President, Josei Toda. I want to read these before I begin tackling the 30 volumes of “The New Human Revolution.”

Well, there you have it! The top 6 books I have collected so far.  The fact is there is so much to read, it really is a matter of following your intuition as to what speaks to you. However, if my favorites give you a nudge, go for it.  Check out the bookstore and dive in!