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The Essence of Buddha: The Path to Enlightenment Hardcover – September 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Claiming that he possesses "the same transcendental powers as Shakyamuni" Buddha himself, Okawa, founder of The Institute for Research in Human Happiness, offers his unique perspective on several core Buddhist concepts. He begins by briefly reviewing pivotal moments in the life of the historical Buddha. He then describes and comments on the Eightfold Path and the Six Paramitas, specific disciplines-such as diligent meditation and the giving of offerings-designed to activate the believer's latent inner wisdom and hasten enlightenment. The remainder of the book is devoted to Okawa's take on such Buddhist concepts as the void, the law of causality and reincarnation. Unfortunately, Okawa's distinctly religious, even sectarian, perspective makes his explanations something of a curiosity. With the steadfast conviction of a true believer, he grounds his discussion in an esoteric cosmology where seekers of truth are beset by evil spirits and devils, a "science of the spirit . . . goes beyond Einstein's theory of relativity" and powerful spirit beings inhabit multiple dimensions, overseeing the development of beings on many planets, including Earth, over tens of millions of years. The writing itself, though pleasantly formal, at times becomes sentimental, even oddly evangelical (exceptional seekers can gain quicker spiritual progress if they "allow tears of repentance... to stream down their cheeks"). Though some readers will find this book informative, more will finish it with questions regarding Okawa's personal beliefs than with a deeper understanding of the essence of Buddha.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Publisher
The Essence of Buddha: The Path to Enlightenment is about living life with meaning and purpose. The Eightfold Path, the Six Paramitas, and the Laws of Causality are clearly explained in today’s language, along with the need for self–reflection, the nature of karma and reincarnation, and other tenets of the Buddhist understanding of life. Enlightenment, it is believed, is potentially achievable for every sentient being; its path leads towards an expansion of consciousness, moving from material concerns to a cosmic awareness of the unseen spiritual reality. This and the practice of a love that gives is the way to happiness and a better world. Ryuho Okawa designs spiritual workshops for people from all walks of life; among his previous books are The Laws of the Sun and Love, Nurture and Forgive.
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Top customer reviews
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I would highly recommend this book to people of all ages, who are in search of an enlightening experience!
However, the history about the founder of Buddhism is pretty much what you already know if you had bought other books on Buddhism. The other talk about other dimension is pretty unheard of to me.
Overall, if you did not understand about what is the meaning behind the void and emptiness, buy this book. Although buying this book for that only is really not worth it. There are other book about Buddhism better than what is written by the author in this book.
However, it wasn't long before I had serious misgivings.
If you've read enough books on Buddhism, listened to enough Dharma talks, etc, then you'll probably, like me, end up knowing at least some basic facts about the Dharma and stories from the Buddha's life, etc.
I quickly noticed that some of Okawa's accounts of stories from the Buddha's life seemed quite a lot different to what I remember coming across before. I began to wonder how good Okawa's grip on the basic facts really is.
It soon became apparent that Ryuho Okawa's version of many things often errs way off from the norm.
His book is liberally peppered with other, stranger stuff - he frequently writes about extra-dimensional worlds, ninth dimensional Grand Tathagatas and other similarly unconventional concepts. Not only that, but it's all described pretty matter-of-factly, the way that most of us would talk about mundane objects like tables and chairs.
I was quite soon pretty disillusioned with the book, but carried on the end (it's quite a short book), just to see what other things he would come up with. "Mumbo jumbo" is a term that crossed my mind to describe much of it.
The author does claim that he "possesses the same transcendental powers as Shakyamuni", so perhaps he really does know what he's talking about.
On the other hand, from my perspective as a mere mortal wandering through samsara, I have serious doubts.
If you want to read a good book about Buddhism, then I'd advise avoid this one - there are plenty of excellent alternatives available out there.
If you're looking for a book about Buddhism combined with a good dose of, er, mumbo jumbo thrown in, then this is it.
I love this book because it has changed my life, enlightened me to the essence of Buddhism and given more meaning to living a life of making efforts, becoming a better person and helping others in the world. From my understanding of the essence of Buddhism, it is simply taking suffering that exists in life and changing it into serenity, bliss and happiness through the light of enlightenment: understanding the Truth of existence and why we live. We can only do this through deeply exploring our true nature within. So, Buddha gave us the Eightfold Path that leads to that natural state that resides in all of us. This book guides us onto that path in simple terms. If you are open-minded, are willing to learn more about Buddhism, and wish to transform your life from one of suffering into one of serenity, then I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to you.
...with love, light and happiness,