Of making many books...

There Is No End

A collection of papers originating from a conference of Buddhist scholars — Buddhist, that is, both as academic specialists in Buddhism and as Buddhist practitioners — this book begins with attempts to name its field — 'Buddhist theology', 'Dharmology', 'Dharmalogy',... — which explain their field without resolving on a name. Buddhist theology (or whatever it should be called) is applying 'theological' thinking to Buddhism — it is to Buddhism as theology is to (say) Christianity. more...

What does Buddhism have to offer the environmental movement? John Wigham was active in the environmental movement for many years, before joining the Western Buddhist Order under the name of Akuppa. Akuppa includes brief introductions to environmental concerns and to Buddhism, and provides references and readings. He encourages the reader to learn meditation, but advises the reader to seek out a competent instructor. What interested me the most was in the interaction between the two, where environmental and Buddhist practice inform each other. more...

I disagree with parts of Batchelor's book; but my disagreements are not those of Ven. Bodhi. Batchelor seems to be taking the same approach to Buddhism as Thurman - he aims to present the teaching of the Buddha as rational and... 'unpious' is the best word I can come up with (not 'impious'). I think that Batchelor overdoes the rational bit and neglects the roles of (a) ritual and (b) the monastic and lay community. more...

Dr Epstein, a New York psychiatrist, has previously written on the relationship between psychoanalysis and Buddhism. In this book, he addresses the issues of emptiness in both these disciplines. As he points out, the 'emptiness' of psychoanalysis is different from the 'emptiness' of Buddhism. In psychoanalysis, emptiness means a feeling of insufficiency, that things just aren't quite right -- which corresponds more to the Buddhist notion of dukkha (a term notoriously difficult to translate, variously rendered as suffering, unhappiness or stress). more...

The blurb on the back cover summarises the book as "...no amount of spiritual practice or meditative training can adequately prepare us for life... we must find our liberation through living, in this moment, no, in whatever circumstances we face." There are some good stories about Clement's time as a monk in Burma, his later involvement in the Burma democracy movement, in Bosnia and other stories of his life. I'm not sure I got anything though from his " more...

The author of this book, Eric Harrison, runs a "meditation business" [p17] in Perth, Australia. With this book, he wants to "take meditation out of the religious and esoteric world...[and] make [Buddhism] accessible to people who need it without over-simplifying it" [p17]. This book is intended to be an objective study of Buddhism, both the good side and the bad. The 'good side' is that Buddhism seems "tolerant and nontheistic, . more...

The book takes the reader through the four Noble Truths, with a focus on meditation, in terms that would be familiar and non-threatening to a western secular reader. This means that the books as a very low 'UFO factor' -- it does not mention any supernatural or 'metaphysical' side of Buddhism, and makes only the most passing reference in the appendix to rebirth. Bodhi is also relegated to the appendix (under 'enlightenment'). more...

David Brazier's The New Buddhism offers a perspective of Buddhism that is different from most. To Brazier, the Buddha was basically a social reformer (or rather a revolutionary, if only of the Wheel of Dhamma). Brazier argues that the Buddha's most important act was his renunciation of the world of privilege and power that he was born into, and that his enlightenment was only a consequence of this. Thus Buddhism is essentially a path of social practice, and training and discipline are means to better practice. more...