Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Buddhism for teens

As part of a national committee I'm on, I've been reading a lot of religion books. Whether they are books with religious characters or books about the religion itself, I'm searching for the best ones for teens. Buddhism has always been of interest to me since my college. When the brother of the Dalai Lama lives in your University's town, you get interested fast. Anyway, in my search, I've come across some interesting Buddhist ones.

Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja
The main character Justin spends time with Jinsen, a new boy the school bullies call Buddha Boy. While the story is told through Justin's eyes, Jinsen is a remarkable example of Buddhist principles being practiced in real life.

Buddha Boy is a fictional book, but there are several nonfiction books on Buddhism in the library. In the teen section there's a pretty good one called Buddha in Your Backpack by Franz Metcalf. This is an everyday guide to bringing Buddhism into your life. The key thing about this book is that the author isn't trying to convert you into Buddhism, but is detailing ways that you can incorporate Buddhist philosophy into your daily life without being Buddhist. This is an easy read to learn more about Buddhism and how it could help you with your everyday life.

The final book is a graphic novel. Big shock there, if you know me. Osamu Tezuka created an eight volume series called Buddha detailing the life of Siddhartha, the prince who becomes the Buddha. The first volume, Kapilavastu, focuses on the birth and childhood of Siddhartha. Each volume walks through the historical and folklorical information of Siddhartha in a powerful manner. This is a great introduction to Buddha, as it is easy to follow and has so much thrown in to make it fun to read as well.

As my journey through religions takes me to more books, I'm sure I'll post some here.

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