Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
This is good book for believers, but I'm a skeptic.
on July 1, 1998
There's a lot of very interesting material in this book. I found descriptions of the human condition and basic tenets of Buddhism to be intelligently written, and to be inspiring at times. However, I'd like to issue a warning to skeptical people like me who have little interest in unproven or unprovable opinions and expressions of "faith" in their Buddhism. This book spends a lot of time on Tibetan ritual. It cites numerous examples of things the author has seen that seem to prove reincarnation, the possibility and power of enlightenment, karma, near death experiences, etc. When enlightened monks die, did you know that their bodies often don't rot? Or that their bodies disappear into thin air, or that rainbows appear thousands of miles away? That dead monks bodies stay warm for weeks? These things may or may not be true, but I'm just skeptical enough to not want to take the author's word for them. If you tackle this book, brace yourself to read about a lot of belief topics, and then prepare to be accused of being too cynical and capitive of your own ego for doubting it. I would categorize this book as religious Buddhism, as opposed to philosophical Buddhism. An aside: the author's reverence and love for his teachers and his faith is truly touching. His knowledge is great, his love is great, but I'm not sure that makes him the best possible reporter for those who are seeking truth instead of opinion.