Skip to Main Content

The Buddha's Dream of Liberation

Freedom, Emptiness, and Awakened Nature

Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Explore the three great teachings of the Buddha with this plain-English primer

The First Turning of the Wheel: Insight into the nature of suffering—and the way out of it—from the four noble truths and the eightfold path

The Second Turning of the Wheel: Teachings on emptiness from the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra

The Third Turning of the Wheel: Guidance for practitioners and teachings on awakened Buddha nature

In clear language, James William Coleman, professor of sociology at the California Polytechnic State University, guides us through the ancient sutras that preserve the Buddha’s message, illuminating their meaning for today’s world and tying the Buddha’s wisdom together for us. The book concludes with chapters from two great teachers, Reb Anderson from the Zen tradition and Lama Palden from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, on how to use meditation to bring the Buddha’s wisdom into our daily lives.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Wheel of Dharma

Part I: The Three Turnings of the Wheel

1. The First Turning of the Wheel: The Four Noble Truths and the Pali Canon

2. The Second Turning of the Wheel: Emptiness and the Perfection of Wisdom

3. The Third Turning of the Wheel: Untying the Knot of the Sutra of the Explanation of the Profound Secrets

Part II: Turning the Wheel in the Twenty-First Century

4. Practicing the Dream

5. Tasting the Truth of the Buddha’s Words: A Zen Perspective

by Reb Anderson Roshi

6. Envisioning Tara: A Vajrayana Perspective

by Lama Palden Drolma

7. The Buddha’s Dream

About The Author

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (June 27, 2017)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614293750

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“There are many books on Buddhist philosophy, but James Coleman’s book, The Buddha’s Dream of Liberation, accomplishes the rare feat of inspiring the reader to explore the mind in meditation with fresh and clear ideas. So often meditation practice is muddied by rules and dogma, and here is a book that gets at the living intersection of philosophy and meditation. People wishing to explore Buddhism within their meditation practice will find new depths of appreciation for how well the Buddha, and those adept meditators in the history of Buddhism, have understood the human mind.”

– Jason Siff, author of Unlearning Meditation

“James Coleman has written a lucid, concise and insightful exploration of the three primary waves of Buddhism. If you wish to get a sense of some of the key tenets and distinctions of each lineage, this brilliantly written book, draws on key texts that beautifully express both the distinctions and coherence found within all Buddhist traditions. A must read for anyone wishing to understand Buddhist teachings more fully.”

– Mark Coleman, author of Awake in the Wild

“This marvelous book offers a pith, cogent description of the arc of the Buddha’s teachings. James William Coleman provides clear, simple language to describe some of the most complex ideas within the Buddhist cannon and offers practical interaction for how to bring those teachings alive in practice and daily life. Chapters by Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi and Lama Palden Drolma provide a rich invitation into the paths of Zen and Vajrayana. The book is a gem for both beginning and seasoned practitioners.”

– Pamela Weiss founder of Appropriate Response

“A clear presentation of the three turnings of the wheel of the Buddha’s teachings. James William Coleman draws on textual references in the sutras, his experience in both the Zen and Vajrayana traditions, and his western academic training to lay out in modern language and with sensitivity to a modern audience this easy to read and approachable overview of the Buddhist path and practice.”

– Lama Drupgyu Tenzin, Vice President of the Tsadra Foundation

“I am delighted with this marvelous guidebook on the profound topic of the three turnings. The book skillfully conveys this area of vast knowledge in a manner that is succinct, comprehensive, and engaging. Coleman's voice has the authority and depth of a scholar and the accessibility and friendliness of a fellow traveler on the path of Buddhist practice. This work provides a wonderful introduction to Buddhism.”

– Rose Taylor Goldfield, author of Training the Wisdom Body

“In The Buddha's Dream of Liberation, James William Coleman, author of The New Buddhism, writes with power and precision on a subject of great contemporary importance: the three turnings of the Dharma wheel. This beautifully written meditation on the great sutras is both a succinct explanation of the founding tenets of Buddhism and a profound reflection upon the evolution of those ideas through time. Novices and religious scholars alike will be both taught and inspired by this wonderful book. Buddhism brought up-to-date and returned to its sources!”

– Robert Inchausti author of Thomas Merton's American Prophecy and Subversive Orthodoxy

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images