An ideal introduction to Buddhism for anyone who has unanswered questions about one of the world’s largest and most popular religions. A fascinating, short book that challenges us to strip away existing preconceptions we may have about Buddhism. Considers questions such as: Can we talk of Buddhism as a unified religion or are there many Buddhisms? Is Buddhism a religion of tolerance and pacifism as many people think? And is Buddhism a religion without god(s), or is it more of a philosophy than a religion? Traces the basic history, beliefs and nature of Buddhism in easy-to-understand language. Written by renowned Buddhist scholar, Bernard Faure, it is an ideal introduction for anyone who has unanswered questions about one of the world’s largest and most popular religions.
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Unmasking Buddhism by Bernard Faure
Book Review by A J Dines / High School Teacher of World History
Appropriate Grade Level: Collegiate
I would want to know if I could use this book at the grade level that I teach. If the vocabulary and content are at a level that my students could not comprehend, they would not understand the book’s message, thus there would be little use for it.
The book, Unmasking Buddhism, is a scholarly work that dissect and examines the History of Buddhism, the role it has in local Asian cultures, and their societies. Without some prior understanding and study of Buddhism, along with a solid vocabulary, this book would still offer a challenge to most college students. Yet, this book is an outstanding window to the complex nature of Buddhism and its interwoven nature that merges into diverse cultures and societies of Asia. The book offers a good glossary, which helps a great deal in understanding much of the text. It would be helpful if the reader would have some exposure to the teachings of western philosophers such as G.W.F. Hegel, Aristotle, and Nietzsche, as they are referenced throughout the book. I would use Unmasking Buddhism to further explain and guide my own understanding of the complex nature of the study Buddhism, but I would not ask my students to read it on their own.
I would give this book a 2 out of 5 stars for High School students.
I would give this book a 5 out 5 stars for educators.