Book review : on Dharma in the West

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Book review : on Dharma in the West

Postby mindyourmind » Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:45 am

This brief little review relates to Adrian Konik's "Buddhism and Transgression", specific details of which can be found here :

http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=31375

As a Western practitioner of the Dharma I am particularly concerned with and interested in the progress of the Dharma here in the West, and it sometimes strikes me that most of the really important Dharma books are written by Eastern practitioners. While this is understandable and even desirable up to a certain point in the transmission of the Dharma, there must come a time when the Western practitioner stands up and shows her/his understanding of the contents and importance of the correct transmission of the Dharma. I have these last few years been heartened to see quite a few such books coming to the fore in the West, and Adrian Konik’s text is clearly one of these books.


In a concise, honest and searching manner this first-time Buddhist author and long-time practitioner asks some very pertinent questions about the transmission and application of the Dharma to the West, specifically how the Dharma is to remain relevant in the contemporary era. He confronts our own backgrounds, prejudices and goals when these meet the traditional Dharma teachings, and in the process deals with the works and ideas of people as divergent in approach as Michel Foucault, Lama Govinda, Donald Lopez, Blofeld and a host of others. This well-researched work addresses important questions (including some I have not even thought of!) and presents some positive, constructive ideas for the continued transmission of the authentic Dharma in the West; but there is also a pervasive hint of how things can go wrong in this process if we are not mindful of several pitfalls.


This is an important and timely work, and I predict that this book by Dr. Konik will become a valuable step in the Dharma finding a permanent, authentic home in the West.


If I have to make any suggestions as to the possible improvement of the book, I would suggest that future editions include more interviews with current senior Western Buddhist teachers, in which the practical applications of these important ideas are discussed.

:anjali:
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