Profound and amusing, this book provides a viable approach to answering the perennial questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How can I live a meaningful life? For Asma, the answers are to be found in Buddhism.
There have been a lot of books that have made the case for Buddhism. What makes this book fresh and exciting is Asma's iconoclasm, irreverence, and hardheaded approach to the subject. He is distressed that much of what passes for Buddhism is really little more than "New Age mush." He loudly asserts that it is time to "take the California out of Buddhism." He presents a spiritual practice that does not require a belief in creeds or dogma. It is a practice that is psychologically sound, intellectually credible, and esthetically appealing. It is a practice that does not require a diet of brown rice, burning incense, and putting both your mind and your culture in deep storage.
In seven chapters, Asma builds the case for a spiritual practice that is authentic, and inclusive. This is Buddhism for everyone. This is Buddhism for people who are uncomfortable with religion but yearn for a spiritual practice.
©2010 Stephen T. Asma (P)2012 Linda Biagi
If you relate strongly to, or have an appreciation for Buddhism but are not ready to live like a monk then this could be the book for you. It helped me sort through the difference between the real teachings of the historical Buddha and the cultural baggage and new age nonsense that often gets lumped in and called Buddhism. The book is an entertaining and thought provoking read/listen with plenty of humorous anecdotes thrown in about the authors life, what led him to Buddhism and some of the ways it helps him navigate his own busy life.
Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop
I found Why I Am a Buddhist to be a nice romp in the intellectual hay. As a comedic writer, I have long been looking for something to fill my spiritual hole (that may not be the scientific term for it) and this book was a good start. Asma compiles the teachings of Buddhism and offers them up with a piping-hot slice of experience while keeping it down-to-earth enough for the average-joe, like me, to understand. I enjoyed each facet of the different lessons and teachings as well as the insight given to off-shoots of Buddhism such as Zen Buddhism.
There is no ending, only new beginnings...okay, that's just not fair to you.
I really enjoyed the section about children and raising a family while remaining a practicing Buddhist. As the aspiring family man myself, I couldn't get enough of keeping the teachings true to your heart while still coming off as a sane parent.
Don't be a butt-hole and enjoy life!
Not only was I engaged and inspired by this book/reading, my girlfriend who accompanied me on a few road trips was enjoying the noggin expanding information presented. If you can keep my old lady in check with some good, old-fashioned knowledge; I submit. That's no easy feat but what great conversations it led to. Absolutely wonderful.
This book is exceptionally well written. The author takes a vast and complex subject and presents it in a way that is both fun and interesting. The author tells his story and gives his insights with humor and charm, always taking great care not to be preachy or dogmatic. Although the narration was a bit breathless and some pronunciation suspect, the book is enjoyable to listen to and I found myself staying up on more than one occasion to listen to just one more chapter.
Buddhism is presented as being eminently practical for our modern world. Perhaps unique among religions this is one which makes pretty good intellectual sense. Partly that is due to the skill of the author and the thoroughness with which he has mastered his topic.
If I have a criticism it is that, in my opinion as a lifelong Hindu, he misinterprets, and misunderstands the nature of karma, the evolution of the soul and the importance of mystical experience. That may sound harsh, but it should be a positive reason to read this book. His eloquent arguments get you thinking and in the process you end up with greater clarity about how you feel.
Absolutely one of the best books on Buddhism out there.
Time for me is the biggest commodity and I'm very stingy with it. I love the fact that I don't have to sit still to read a book.
honest, inviting, interesting
No characters...just plain simple explanations of how and why to believe in Buddhism without all the crap.
Loved this book. I'm sure I'll be reading it again!
As a parent, I liked how he related stories of dealing with his young son while still trying to practice Buddhist concepts. The book is not a focus on parenting, though.
I enjoyed the narration and it was a good performance. I laughed a lot.
Not a deal-breaker, but the editor of the audio apparently stopped doing his job in the last 10 minutes or so. You can hear Tom Pile re-read a few sentences when he didn't seem happy with the first version. It was actually kind of funny.
A long time reader and listener - I just can't get enough of Audible! (Especially mysteries and Buddhist texts and history and ...etc!
I just found this book to be well organized, and even fun to listen to. The narrator did a great job, has a clear, steady voice and knew when to inject humor into his voice.
Overall I enjoyed this book, the author gives an honest, well rounded explanation of Buddhism and his reasons for being a Buddhist. There is no Pollyanna, sugar coated California new age nonsense which I really appreciate. The stories are honest and entertaining and anyone curious as to why someone would embrace this path will get a lot from this book.
My only issue, which is minor, is the sound quality. The narrator's voice tends to have a significant amount of low end frequencies and there is some subtle but noticeable digital distortion in some areas. I wouldn't let that stop you from purchasing the book, it's well worth a listen. Just be aware of the abundant low end and distortion as it can be a bit distracting if you are OCD as I admittedly am.
If you are not familiar with the Sanskrit terminology it can be confusing.
he content is relevant to every day living and offers practical application of the concepts.
Tom Pile did a fine job narrating. His skills were however thwarted by a very poor quality of the recording. Turn the bass all the way down in order to listen to the book without reverberation muddling Mr. Pile's voice.
It helped me on my personal journey to discover modern day and practical applications of Buddhism.
While the aurthor is an excellent writer, I felt he went "off topic" too often, for me anyway. I bought this book because I wanted to know how Buddhism fit into his life and why, not how others have used it or changed it. I really got a lot out of this book, I just felt that I had to wade through too many areas I hadn't signed up for. I guess I just like to keep things as simple as possible.
If you are looking for a book on Buddhist fundamentals in comparison with mainstream religion, this is not the book for you. Someone who enjoys references to Jack Kerouac and personal anecdotes might enjoy this.
The book simply did not gel with me. It sounded too much like a book written by the typical spoiled 60's kid that decided to challenge his parent's mainstream lifestyle with something "Eastern." There were, however, some good points with regard to science and art and the impact of Buddhism in these areas.
James Earl Jones perhaps...No seriously, someone who didn't sound like they were from Brooklyn
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