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Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness, and the Man Who Found Them All Paperback – July 24, 2007
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, in each of the stops I wanted to know more--they truly were just snapshots. For example, he goes to India and signs on with a tour group covering the four major Buddhist holy sights: where the Buddha was born, where he attained enlightenment, where he gave his first teaching, and where he died. Yet, the author really focuses on Bodh Gaya (where the Buddha became enlightened), and says the other spots are sort-of "hazy." Hardly what I call a book about the author's travels "in the footsteps of the Buddha." A more acurrate designation might be "in the footsteps of BUDDHISM."
Covering Engaged Buddhism was equally light, and I was very disappointed in the chapter on American Buddhism, where he was more concerned about his relationship with Buddhism as a Jew. He talked more about Engaged Buddism in his introduction and in the chapter on Auschwitz, Poleland than in the American chapter.
Yet, I still enjoyed the book. If you want a light read and a brief overview of Buddhism around the world, this is the book for you. But if you want something heavier, look elswhere.
Garfinkel has had many years of exposure to different branches of Buddhism, but clearly has been weary of a full-on commitment to any of them. He makes efforts to compare and contrast the development and structure of Buddhist beliefs with those of Christianity and Judaism and tends to do better with Judaism (the faith in which he had been raised). The book is far from exhaustive in describing the life of the Buddha or how Buddhism spread and evolved in Asia. Nonetheless, he seems to get most of the fundamentals right and offers direction to deeper work in a number of areas. There are gaps of varying importance--he describes the large temporal gap between the Buddha's life and efforts to document his teaching without much attention to what happened in between. The idea that Buddhism became incorporated into various Asian cultures is treated as more novel than it needs to be (e.g.Read more ›
Ultimately, read the whole damn thing.
Garfinkel is funny with dry detached observations that make the subject digestable and, well, funny!
I've struggled with traditional discussions of Buddhism and heard scholars discuss Buddhism in the west. I usually zoned out early on.
Not this time.
I ended up buying 4 books, gave them all away and now, damn it, need one for myself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved loved loved this book. I have purchased a few copies and shared them with people I love who are going through tough times. A definite must-read!Published 14 months ago by K. McCoy
Provides a clear picture of the spread of Buddhism from Asia to America and back. It also explores the differences between types of Buddhism that are not made clear in many other... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Helen E. Skwarek
The book was alright for me. The author is a person who is giving his account in his own way.Published 21 months ago by Loomai
Every page in this book had a little surprise hidden in it. Buddha or Bust is fresh as Perry Garfinkel communicates in a chatty sort of manner - feels like he is giving the... Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by Daleen halton
I just finished Buddha or Bust and found it a a very good read primarily for 2 reasons. One is at least for me it synthesized or brought together information I had from reading... Read morePublished on April 15, 2013 by Stephen C. Skinner
I really liked it, but I gotta warn you: it's a travelogue.
The author travels around the world, studying how Buddhism has changed throughout the ages and how it's... Read more
The way of writing is clear, very easy to read. But this book gives the impression the author's study is only there to say : "hey, there are more and more Buddhists on earth, and I... Read morePublished on November 19, 2010 by Bibic
Not bad, not too exciting either. It's a nice read that has a lot of information on the history of Buddhism. Read morePublished on October 11, 2010 by BraMaster
Travelling in Buddha's footsteps, Garfinkel pursues "engaged" followers who apply dharma to heal the world. Read morePublished on September 10, 2009 by John L Murphy