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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very insightful book on Buddhists belief
This book is very insightful on the different aspects of Buddhism, it is based on interviews and research done in the various Buddhist countrys, the book covers aspects of Buddhist teachings and the different Buddhist traditions, meditation, women in buddhism and buddhism in the west.
There is so much information in this book, that it was able to give me a wide scope...
Published on 9 Feb 2003 by purples_xxx

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What Buddhists Believe - By Elizabeth Harris.
This book is not without its merits - and its problems. It could easily qualify as part of a series entitled 'The Christian's Guide To...', and the author - a committed Christian never vacates the position of the 'outsider', looking in at Buddhism from an external position, a position that assumes for itself a 'privileged' and 'superior' insight. Of course, it is up to...
Published on 30 Nov 2010 by ShiDaDao Ph.D


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What Buddhists Believe - By Elizabeth Harris., 30 Nov 2010
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ShiDaDao Ph.D (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Buddhists Believe (Paperback)
This book is not without its merits - and its problems. It could easily qualify as part of a series entitled 'The Christian's Guide To...', and the author - a committed Christian never vacates the position of the 'outsider', looking in at Buddhism from an external position, a position that assumes for itself a 'privileged' and 'superior' insight. Of course, it is up to the reader to decide on whether this position is justified or not. The author - the Secretary for Inter-faith Relations for the Mehodist Church at the time of printing (1998), holds a Doctorate in Buddhist Studies. She has also spent seven years in Sri Lank- an ancient Buddhist country.

The problems stem from the title - Buddhists do not 'believe' anything, they instead, practice a method advocated by the historical Buddha (c. 500BC). A main premise of this teaching is that everything should b e decided upon through 'experience' only, and that nothing should be taken as fact due to hearsay based upon 'faith'. Faith as it exists in Christianity has no basis or relevance within Buddhist philosophy. The Sanskrit term that is often confused with a Christian faith by non-Buddhists is 'shradda', This term actually refers to a belief that a method works, due to an experience that it does. The Buddha taught that one should not follow any method just because others recommend it, but that it should be tried out so that its merits and demerits can be clearly discerned. What a 'Buddhist believes', of course, very much depends upon exactly the same social, cultural and historical forces that work on the entirety of humankind. A Buddhist first and foremost, is a 'Buddhist' because they adhere to the principles of Buddhist philosophy - beyond that, nothing much can be ascertained that is relevant to Buddhism itself. A Chinese Buddhist, for instance, will not only follow a Buddhist path, but may well also adhere to specific Confucian and Daoist practices and beliefs. Of course, it is equally true that a Chinese Buddhist might be a strict 'secularist' and perhaps admit to a 'humanitarian' stance. As Buddhism does not rely upon a theistic principle - that is a 'god' concept - this tends to distinguish it quite starkly, from those religions that do.

This book presents a more or less run of the mill take on general Buddhism, very much from the Theravada perspective. Much better books on this subject include Walpola Rahula's 'What the Buddha Taught', Charles Luk's 'Practical Buddhism', John Snelling's 'The Buddhist Handbook', Trevor Ling's 'The Buddha's Philosophy of Man', Edward Thomas' 'The Life of Buddha', and H Scumann's 'The Historical Buddha', etc. This book is written by non-Buddhists, for non-Buddhists. A word of caution should be applied to some of its main assumptions. The Friends of the Western Buddhis Order (FWBO), an organisation created in the UK, for instance, is presented as if it where 'not without its problems'. It is hoped that the discerning reader would feel compelled to carry-out some background research on this matter, and as a consequence, acquaint themselves with this group, before following the author's uncritical stance.

A non-Buddhist might find this book helpful, and perhaps those seeking a sound introduction to Buddhist philosophy. This book also contains a section regarding women and Buddhism. As always, the reader must decide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very insightful book on Buddhists belief, 9 Feb 2003
This review is from: What Buddhists Believe (Paperback)
This book is very insightful on the different aspects of Buddhism, it is based on interviews and research done in the various Buddhist countrys, the book covers aspects of Buddhist teachings and the different Buddhist traditions, meditation, women in buddhism and buddhism in the west.
There is so much information in this book, that it was able to give me a wide scope on what Buddhism is like in different countries and opinions of well respected buddhist monks and nuns.
I would definitely say this is a must read for all Buddhists out there.
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What Buddhists Believe
What Buddhists Believe by Elizabeth Harris (Paperback - 29 Oct 1998)
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