Buddhism: Plain & Simple
Buddhism Plain & Simple did live up to its name. Throughout the book, Hagen made it evident that Buddhism is about being awake in the present moment. Hagen said, “Our journey must be two awaken here and now, to awaken to here and now. To be fully alive, we must be fully present” (19). To do this, Hagen examined the human situation of suffering, gave ways to wake up, and showed the benefits of having a free mind.
To be awake is to see reality as a whole in the present sense. Seeing the wholeness of reality releases us from living by in the bondage of duality. Here is an example of this thinking:
Just as we conceive of a self and counter this notion with a non-self, so also are we taken in by another set of opposing concepts—existence and non-existence. We get repeatedly caught in this duality, unwilling to see that, like self and not-self, both are phantoms created by consciousness. These concepts (like any concept) simply don’t capture Reality. (135)