Handbook for Mankind
This book dealing with Thai Buddhism is based on a series of lectures by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in May of 1956 and has been published in condensed form by Dhammasapa publishing in Bangplad Thailand. This book is easily available in book stores here in Thailand and although he teaches in Thai, the book has been translated in English. I have seen this book in American book stores, but you’d have to look in a specialty shop which carries eastern religion books.
Now if you are interested in learning about the Buddhist philosophy and you’ve found other books frustrating or unfulfilling allow me to suggest this one. I believe some of the most complex concepts about searching for enlightenment are covered with clarity in this book. From the opening pages when the lesson talks about the basis for all religions, which is fear of things beyond human control, it is made clear that Buddhism is a practice meant to replace faith religions with a calm mind which can accept reality for reality sake. The primary difference between Buddhism and the faith religions is also made very clear and that is that there is no God or deity who is responsible for your actions or thoughts and therefore you must become responsible and aware.
Although the Buddha lived 2546 years ago, his intended teaching was to replace faith religions with the logical acceptance of reality, therefore creating a harmony with this reality. It is ironic to realize that two of the largest faith religions would actually begin after he had already taught about the need to move toward intellectual explanations for thunder and lightening
The book is divided into eleven categories or lessons: looking at Buddhism, the true nature of things, three universal characteristics, grasping and clinging, the threefold training, and the things we cling to, insight by the nature method, insight by organized training, emancipation from the world, why were we born, and another kind of birth. In total the book is 234 pages.