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Western Buddhism: New insights into the West fastest growing religion: New Insights into the Wests Fastest Growing Religion [Paperback]

Kulananda
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 April 1997

Growing numbers of people in the West are turning towards Buddhism. But there are some practices and ideas that need to be adapted or redefined when they apply to Western minds and lifestyles.

In this groundbreaking book Kulananda explains many of the important traditional teachings in simple clear terms. He clarifies how these teachings can be integrated into Western culture.

This book will be an ideal introduction to anyone who has been puzzled by the veils of mystification that surround the Buddhism self.



Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thorsons (7 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722532326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722532324
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,024,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

BUDDHISM is now one of the fastest-growing religions in the West and it is evolving in new directions. Although deeply rooted in the ancient Buddhist tradition, the emerging Western Buddhism is nonetheless willing to consider its great heritage with a critical eye, to question traditional doctrines and methods and to ask how we can live out these teachings in our modern lives.

A Westerner himself, Kulananda presents some of the key ideas and methods by which he and his contemporaries now live. In simple, clear language he addresses and explores many fundamental Buddhist concepts, including the relationships between consciousness and reality, ourselves and the world. He also radically reassesses the ways in which the encounter between Buddhism and Western culture affects lives on a religious, cultural, social and economic level.

Western Buddhists stand today at a highly creative juncture. This book offers an essential insight into how Buddhism is being redefined. Newcomers will find it a useful and accessible introduction to ideas and practices that have for too long been veiled in mystification, and experienced Buddhists will find a refreshing new perspective on familiar ground.

Kulananda is a second generation Western Buddhist teacher. Ordained in 1977, he is a leading member of the Western Buddhist Order. He is devoted to creating contexts in which Westerners can practise Buddhism.

About the Author

Kulananda (Michael Chaskalson) is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. As a teacher, writer and speaker, he is devoted to creating contexts in which Westerners can benefit from the teachings originally laid down by the Buddha.

Kulananda is the author of six books on Buddhism and meditation.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Buddhism and some western issues 27 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Kulananda writes clearly about the basic ideas in Buddhism coming from the perspective of the western reader. For anyone wishing to have an introduction to the essential concepts in Buddhism without grappling with any of the Pali or Sanskrit this is ideal. This is written by a westener for westeners and while cutting out some of the alluring exoticism is certainly gives Buddhism an appealing slant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful 31 Oct 2010
Great book gives a great background into Western Buddhism from a number of angles especially the wackier Gurus of the 70's. I would like to of discovered if he succeeded in his quest in discovering the "Void" of which he speaks of early on in the book, that bit brought a smile to my face.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 23 Nov 2006
I have considered myself a Buddhist for more than 30 years, though my interest goes back to my early teens. Although I've practiced Theravada, Soto Zen (OBC) & Tibetan (NKT) Buddhism I've not felt really @ home with any.

Kulananda's book provides profound insights in to the Philosophical background of Buddhist Teachings and examines the development of Buddhism in the West. I feel it presents many of the issues which Western Buddhists should be concerned in a thought provoking and challanging way.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in Buddhism, especially westerners like myself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astounding book 1 Mar 2000
By J. Raphaelidis - Published on Amazon.com
There's not really all that much I haven't read before in this book, but the clarity it's worded with had a profound effect on me. I found his specific practice suggestions helpful, but what made the strongest impression on me is the way he presents Buddhism in the context of the modern world. He starts with the profound existential insights of the Buddha, and clearly applies them to the world we find ourselves in today. This book has shaken me up in a scary and uplifting way. I've become very aware of how much I rely on my habitual environment to maintain my sense of self. He sets a big challenge in front of anyone who reads this book. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars holding a lotus to a rock 26 Oct 2000
By R. Griffiths - Published on Amazon.com
Towards the end of this book, Kunananda quotes the German philosopher Goethe: 'Whoever knows others as well as himself, must also recognise that East and West are now inseparable' (p.211). In many respects the reception of Buddhism in Europe and America is a test case for this assertion. Is Buddhism inherently 'Eastern', unbreakably connected to the cultures in which it developed, Indian, Sri Lankan, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and so on, or is it capable of transition to a different set of cultures: can it become 'Western'? It has been said that bringing Buddhism to the west is like holding a lotus to a rock and waiting for it to take root. In actuality Buddhism has already become western, and is now the fastest growing religion in France and Australia, but at what cost to its integrity? How has its encounter with the west changed it into something new? Kulananda provides an insightful map of this new territory, both introducing key Buddhist concepts and showing how the dharma has adapted to each new culture it has encountered. He consistently combines intelligence with readability as he offers an overview of 'western Buddhism', warts and all. I found the chapter on Buddhism and the cultural self-doubt of the west particularly interesting. Coming from the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, kulananda is less dispassionate about this group than about some others, but this mainly serves to give credence to the lived experience out of which he writes. I cannot fault this book, but it did make me wonder whether the concepts of 'eastern' and 'western' will continue to have much credibility in the twenty-first century. There is surely something perverse about western capitalism's systematic destruction of traditional Buddhist cultures such as that of Thailand, at the same time that Thai forest Buddhism is gaining increasing numbers of western converts. In this transnational cultural exchange, why is it that the west gets religion but the east gets economics? In this context, Kulananda is surely charting not 'east' or 'west' but Buddhism as a global phenomenon, whose future, as that of the planet, is unknown.
4.0 out of 5 stars What Western Buddhists Are Up To 8 Aug 2002
By James S. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
With Buddhism becoming firmly rooted in Western cultures, a number of authors are taking a look at what is happening in the process. Just as Buddhism was transformed when it entered Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese society, so it is finding itself being reformed by a Western context. Kulananda takes a topical approach to the subject. He first locates the reader by giving a brief over-view of basic Buddhist beliefs, and then surveys a number of philosophical and practical issues in Buddhist life and how they are being experienced by people practicing Buddhism in the West. He casts a probing, and sometimes critical, eye at the Buddhist heritage the West is inheriting. It is rather interesting to see the something old, something new approach to this wedding between Westerners and Buddhists as they decide what to keep and what to modify. The only bothersome thing I would point out is this: Kulananda makes a number of statements about truths and ethics. What he doesn't seem to recognize is that if what he says about them is accurate, he has undercut his own position, as well.
4.0 out of 5 stars What Western Buddhists Are Up To 8 Aug 2002
By James S. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
With Buddhism becoming firmly rooted in Western cultures, a number of authors are taking a look at what is happening in the process. Just as Buddhism was transformed when it entered Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese society, so it is finding itself being reformed by a Western context. Kulananda takes a topical approach to the subject. He first locates the reader by giving a brief over-view of basic Buddhist beliefs, and then surveys a number of philosophical and practical issues in Buddhist life and how they are being experienced by people practicing Buddhism in the West. He casts a probing, and sometimes critical, eye at the Buddhist heritage the West is inheriting. It is rather interesting to see the something old, something new approach to this wedding between Westerners and Buddhists as they decide what to keep and what to modify. The only bothersome thing I would point out is this: Kulananda makes a number of statements about truths and ethics. What he doesn't seem to recognize is that if what he says about them is accurate, he has undercut his own position, as well.
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