Buddhism for All
(the book)


About the Book

International bestselling mindfulness author and early Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan (Meng) teams up with admired American Buddhist abbot Soryu Forall to bring you this vital guide to Buddhism. Meng and Soryu carefully pored over the entirety of the early Buddhist texts (EBTs) to faithfully deliver their profound wisdom, packaged with Soryu’s incisive sagacity and Meng’s uncanny ability to explain deep concepts humorously and understandably. This book is personally blessed by the Dalai Lama, and vetted and approved by other highly esteemed Buddhist masters, some of whom praise its daring scope, both in breadth and depth. Within this book are the essentials about Buddhism that everyone needs to know.

[  Endorsements  |  Backstory  |  Buy  ]


“This expertly and compassionately written book is a great guide to Buddhism, even for Buddhists, and even for a lifelong Buddhist like me.”


Prime Minister of Bhutan

“If you want to know about Buddhist teachings, this book is a wonderful doorway! Easy to understand, heartfelt and wise, brilliant and thorough, inviting you into a path of freedom and joy.”


Author of A Path With Heart

“This inspiring book is one of the most valuable gifts of Dhamma one can give to anyone. Master Soryu and Meng have amazingly distilled the essence of a huge quantity of Buddhist literature in one single book! The subject matter is presented and explained in an attractively humorous and accessible way. I only wish I had had this book when I first encountered Buddhism in India. It is a must read.”


Abbot and President of the Uganda Buddhist Centre, author of Planting Dhamma Seeds, and visiting professor at Columbia University

“This remarkable and brave book explores the main teachings of the Buddha, with rich detail, humor, depth, and wisdom. It will be an important lifetime resource for all who aspire to awaken. One will return to it again and again for its surprises and its joy.”


Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

Buddhism for All is a joy to read—it’s a book with ‘something to say’ that you’ll benefit from hearing, whether you’re just getting acquainted with Buddhism or far along your path. Coauthors Meng and Soryu bring a fresh voice and keen sensibility to their exploration of the first cycle of the Buddha’s teachings. Spirited, humorous, and serious all at once, it’s a book with a generous heart that shines a clear light on the roots, persistence, and end of our suffering, and reminds us that the path to peace, joy, and awakening is in our own hands.”


Founder and President, Nalandabodhi and Nitartha International, and author of Emotional Rescue and Wild Awakening

The Backstory

I’m Meng, coauthor of this book. When I became a Buddhist at twenty-one, learning Buddhism was a long and difficult process.  I could not find one book that contained everything I needed to know.  Every book I read was either incomprehensible, or was difficult to read (even when it was comprehensible), or fell far short, for example, it would explain the Four Noble Truths without explaining how they lead directly to nirvana.  It took me very many books, many years of practice, and the guidance by many teachers to eventually piece everything together.

Around the time I became an old man of forty-six, and having then written two international bestsellers (this, and that), I finally felt ready to think about writing a book on Buddhism.  I had in mind the younger me: an educated person who felt a deep spiritual thirst, but who found blind religious faith very unattractive, who was appalled by the anti-science attitude advocated by many religious leaders, and who kind of suspected that Buddhism had all the right answers but found it largely inaccessible.  I suspect many millions of modern people of all ages today feel that same way.

So I wanted to write a book that had all these features:

  • It is light-hearted and fun to read, without sacrificing any depth.
  • It is intellectually rigorous, where every major claim is supported by a footnote pointing to the primary texts where possible.
  • It presents the Four Noble Truths in the same spirit that the Buddha had presented them in the early Buddhist texts: not as some “basic stuff” to quickly skim, but as one of the most important, profound, and transcendent teachings ever.
  • It explains the direct path from the Four Noble Truths to nirvana itself.
  • It does not shy away from advanced topics such as dependent origination, but doing them justice in a way that is fun to learn.
  • Completeness: a single book that contains all the essentials that everybody needs to know about Buddhism.

This was obviously a fool’s errand, and I was that fool.  Thus began a five-year writing project.

I began by reading the entirety of the early Buddhist texts, the Nikāyas.  That alone took me sixteen months.  I consulted frequently with prominent teachers and scholars, with my main victim … er, I mean consultant being Soryu Forall.  We spent many hours on the phone discussing my drafts.  After a while, I realized he had so many fingers in the pie that he effectively coauthored the book with me.  I invited him to actually be coauthor.  In a moment of weakness, he honored me by saying yes.  He hasn’t forgiven me since.  (I’m kidding!)

And here we are.  Five years.  Every key point was rigorously discussed and debated.  Hundreds of notes were painstakingly documented.  Scholars, and masters from all three major schools of Buddhism were consulted, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama very generously gave us his personal blessing.  We chose to publish it on 17 November 2023, the birthday of Bodhidharma, the first Chinese Chan (Zen) Patriarch.  We hope this book will be enormously beneficial to you.

Blessing inscribed by the Dalai Lama on an earlier version of the book cover. It reads, “Prayers and protection for everlasting goodness/virtue, from the Dalai Lama.”


Buy the Book

Before you fork out your money, we like to remind you that the same content in the book is available for free in our Buddhism for All web series.  We did this to share this book for free with everyone in the world, so people don’t have to pay to access the Buddha’s precious teachings.  But still, you can buy the paperback or ebook on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

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