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on 19 June 2013
I'm interested in Nichiren Buddhism and the SGI and I heard about this book and thought I'd give it a try. It's really interesting - but I found it difficult to fully understand the concepts without more background knowledge. Having now read "The Buddha, Geoff and Me" - (BRILLIANT)- which explains Nichiren Buddhism in a v clear way through a novel - I will go back to The Reluctant Buddhist and I will now understand the concepts more easily. TRB is well written and accessible but I suggest reading TBGM first before tackling it.

BOth books are available in audio format through the WONDERFUL podcast "A Buddhist Podcast"
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on 17 July 2017
I was a reluctant Buddhist till reading this book. A fantastic read that clarifies a lot of questions. A great read regardless of your religious preferences.
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on 21 July 2010
A superb book. I must admit a bias as I am a practicing Buddhist, but very much a newbie. The friend of mine who introduced me to the 'practice' of Nichiren Buddhism bought me this book after I had been properly practicing for about 3 months. There was immediately something appealing about Nichiren Buddhism but being a logically minded son of an engineer and an architect myself believing it's more "hippy-ish" elements was a real struggle.
Woollard went through this process (and then some!) himself and explores some of the key and most difficult issues of Nichiren Buddhism; mutual possession, oneness of self and environment, karma, myoho, etc. He does this in such a way that really clarified a few serious stumbling blocks for me. His truly westernised view of the practice and his scientific background make him the perfect person to explain the "mystic law" in way the average reason dominated western mind can deal with.
Admittedly it does have some flaws in editing etc, but it is very well produced compared to some other books on this subject. Buddhists are wonderful passionate people, but not always great writers!
This is a wonderful starting point for anyone interested in the practice of Nichiren Buddhism and should probably be followed up by reading Richard Causton's The Buddha in Daily Life: Introduction to the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, a far more involved explanation of the detail of the practice, and the key phrase nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Only, I read them the other way round!
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on 12 February 2009
As a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism myself, I approached this book with interest, as I am always curious as to how others found this practice, and how it affects their lives. William Woollard is a name with which I am familiar, and I imagined that he would have a scientific approach to life, which is completely opposite to the way I function; another good reason to read this. It was very interesting, and Mr Woollard sets his stall out well. As a personal account of his spiritual journey, I enjoyed it enormously, but the surprising poorness of the grammar made me grind my pedantic teeth throughout. This is a good book much in need of a good sub-editor.
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on 6 April 2008
Former(?) TV Presenter William Woolard provides a personal insite into the practise of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin in this well written introductory book.

Whilst the book works well on an 'introduction to Buddhism' level, it's really his journey into it, which many will recognise, that makes it such an appealing book.

He explains very clearly, the difference between this and other forms of Buddhism, in that this practise is not an 'other world' practise, but is firmly rooted in daily life and designed to move our lives forward - Highly Recomended.
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on 12 June 2009
I heartily recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in Buddhism. If, like me, you are teetering on the edge, then this book will almost certainly help make up your mind.
I have a lot of respect for the author, William Woollard, and it is because he comes from a scientific and Christian background, that I personally can identify with everything he has written.
Previous reviews relating to grammar or the editing, completely miss the point.The book is written in William's unique vernacular, if you have had the pleasure of watching him on "Tomorrows World", then reading this book is like William narrating Buddhism for you.
Thank you William.
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on 15 February 2009
William Woolard introduces the practice of Nichiren Diashonin Buddhism, explaining it's relevance for the modern age with a practical, yet personal, scientific approach. For me, he addressed many issues I find challenging in a rational and easy to understand manner. The editing is poor, but once the reader can see beyond that to the heart of what is being said, it contributes to the deeply felt, personal experience expressed by Mr Woolard.
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on 26 April 2009
I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism since only recently and I found this book helpful in motivating me to strengthen my faith (and actions!) through my practice. There things from the book about Buddhism that I understand a bit more because they were explained in lay terms.
The author has researched his subject well and is also very useful for anyone interested in Buddhism in general, especially in the first half of the book.
It's a walk through a lovely rose garden, and dwelling too much on the grammar or editing of this book is like focusing too much on the thorns of the roses. If one of the major points of daily Buddhist practice is to help widen your perspective or vision on everything in your environment, then pettiness has no place here.
I am grateful that Woollard occasionally reads selections from his book in the Buddhist Podcast, in order for the listeners - from every corner of the world- to become aware of it. I'll be buying a few copies for my friends .
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on 7 June 2012
Woollard is a great communicator and a joy to listen to on The Buddhist Podcast, which is where I first encountered this book. I'd found it and other podcasts whilst looking for explanations about the various strands of Buddhism.

I read The Reluctant Buddhist at the start of 2012 and am very glad I did; it is a book that I think will resonate with me and which I'll refer to from now on. My position is someone who is interested in Buddhist thought but suspicious of the religiosity of some strands and of organisations like SGI. However I am attracted to the simplicity of meditation and chanting and do both occasionally with a view to regularising the practise. I am not that "knowledgeable". Although I've read stuff over the years from Siddhartha to Mindfulness Meditation and lots inbetween, I don't retain much of the language and detail in part because of the oriental roots. I respect the differences but have no desire to memorise the language, nor dress in robes etc, but can appreciate the processes and philosophy behind it. Hence, I wanted to read a secular intro to Nichiren Buddhism and am impressed with William Woollard's way of explaining things. He seems to want to reach out to mere mortals and pass on what he has learned on the journey.

I enjoyed the book - it is a 'good read' and although I note that there has been some criticism of proofreading on Amazon it didn't affect my enjoyment. I was keen to finish the book, am now reading it again and will pass it on to family etc if they are interested in the meaning of it all. I emerged with an insight into 'the whole' and a way of joining up my way of thinking about things. I found the explanations of the history and development of Buddhism and its relation to religious and scientific thought to be very clear. At the same time the book gave me an understanding of Buddhism's simple profundity and universality. I can also listen to/read Buddhist stuff now with an insight into what is being 'sold' by an author.

Woollard himself was a massive sceptic and so that is a useful standpoint for any exploration. He does quote Ikeda and explains about SGI but not to excess. The message is put across without it seeming like a recruitment campaign; I took it as a call to embrace Buddhism by whatever means works for you.
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on 13 September 2015
Returning to Nichiren Bhuddhism made this the ideal book for me as a reminder of the basics and more subtle points of practice. Reading the story from the point of view of a very reluctant, angry cynic rather than a gushing enthusiast meant I could happily truck along with WW on his very moving journey. Recommended to Buddhists old and new.
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