We can trust Gary Gach to serve as an enlightened and playful guide through the complex subject of Buddhism. He has been a student of this path for 40 years, and he has shown his light-heartedness as editor of What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop. In this updated and revised volume in the Complete Idiot's Guide series, there are four main divisions: Buddha, Showing the Way; Dharma: Truth, and the Way to Truth; Sangha: Joining the Path; and Buddhism in Action: Applications in Everyday Life. We like the last section the best because it is filled with so many fascinating details on mutual relations, the meal of life, right livelihood, Buddhism and popular culture, the fine arts, the sciences, and engaged Buddhism.

There is something here for everyone — sort of a Whole Earth Catalog of Buddhism with material on the history, culture, teachers, practices, and rituals of this path. We loved the four recurring sidebars: Leaves from the Bodhi Tree, This Is, Hear and Now, and Along the Path. Whether you want to learn more about the Buddha and his teachings, meditation, karma, beginner's mind, the Four Noble Truths, the Bodhisattva Vow, the tea ceremony, emptiness, or a chronology of Buddhist milestones, this is the place you want to begin. Gach provides easy access to this amazing treasure trove of teachings and practices.