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I was surprised and sad to see this book show up as a recommended book on Amazon for me:http://tinyurl.com/yjsyazs
Has anyone read it yet?
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If that is all they can come up with in 2500 years I think we are doing fine. I find the motivation of the book suspect as well. From what I can read online he wants to say that all religions are equally bad.
The "monks" in Sri Lanka were obviously an embarrassment during the war with the Tamils. I'm sure he found ample ammunition there. He also says that Shoko Ashahara is Buddhist. That is news to me and Shoko Ashahara who claimed to be an emanation of Kalki and Shiva. The Fifth Dalai Lama makes an appearance and the Kalachackra will be shown in a very biased way to be sure.
Some windbag with an axe to grind is stirring up trouble to get tenure and media attention. Big deal.
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The book was actually quite balanced. The point was not to ridicule religion or put all the different traditions down (or Buddhism for that matter), but to show how Buddhist traditions are not completely peaceful and pacifistic in Asian history. According to Juergensmeyer and Jerryson, the reasons they did this was to rebuke Orientalist assertions that make Buddhism a two-dimensional caricature-- wholly mystical and other. It's not as much an attack on buddhism, but rather a defense of it.
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