Profound and amusing, this book provides a viable approach to answering the perennial questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How can I live a meaningful life? For Asma, the answers are to be found in Buddhism.
There have been a lot of books that have made the case for Buddhism. What makes this book fresh and exciting is Asma's iconoclasm, irreverence, and hardheaded approach to the subject. He is distressed that much of what passes for Buddhism is really little more than "New Age mush." He loudly asserts that it is time to "take the California out of Buddhism." He presents a spiritual practice that does not require a belief in creeds or dogma. It is a practice that is psychologically sound, intellectually credible, and esthetically appealing. It is a practice that does not require a diet of brown rice, burning incense, and putting both your mind and your culture in deep storage.
In seven chapters, Asma builds the case for a spiritual practice that is authentic, and inclusive. This is Buddhism for everyone. This is Buddhism for people who are uncomfortable with religion but yearn for a spiritual practice.
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Buddhism for the real world
If you relate strongly to, or have an appreciation for Buddhism but are not ready to live like a monk then this could be the book for you. It helped me sort through the difference between the real teachings of the historical Buddha and the cultural baggage and new age nonsense that often gets lumped in and called Buddhism. The book is an entertaining and thought provoking read/listen with plenty of humorous anecdotes thrown in about the authors life, what led him to Buddhism and some of the ways it helps him navigate his own busy life.
Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop
The Logical Buddhist Wins Again
I found Why I Am a Buddhist to be a nice romp in the intellectual hay. As a comedic writer, I have long been looking for something to fill my spiritual hole (that may not be the scientific term for it) and this book was a good start. Asma compiles the teachings of Buddhism and offers them up with a piping-hot slice of experience while keeping it down-to-earth enough for the average-joe, like me, to understand. I enjoyed each facet of the different lessons and teachings as well as the insight given to off-shoots of Buddhism such as Zen Buddhism.
There is no ending, only new beginnings...okay, that's just not fair to you.
I really enjoyed the section about children and raising a family while remaining a practicing Buddhist. As the aspiring family man myself, I couldn't get enough of keeping the teachings true to your heart while still coming off as a sane parent.
Don't be a butt-hole and enjoy life!
Not only was I engaged and inspired by this book/reading, my girlfriend who accompanied me on a few road trips was enjoying the noggin expanding information presented. If you can keep my old lady in check with some good, old-fashioned knowledge; I submit. That's no easy feat but what great conversations it led to. Absolutely wonderful.