Robert K. C. Forman, “Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be” (Changemakers Books, 2011)
In these times, when more and more people are looking for spiritual truth and engage in practices like meditation, it’s hard to know what to expect from attaining a lofty goal like Enlightenment. What does Enlightenment look like? What happens when we attain it? What does it mean in terms... Read More
Jane Iwamura, “Virtual Orientalism: Religion and Popular Culture in the U.S.” Oxford University Press, 2011
In popular perception, a certain image arises when we imagine eastern religions. Perhaps, we envision a wise old Asian man in traditional clothing sitting in a meditative state (maybe not). But why does this image emerge? Jane Iwamura, Chair of The Department of Religious Studies at the University of the... Read More
Stephen T. Asma, “Against Fairness” (University of Chicago, 2013)
Modern liberalism is built on the principle of equality and its corollary, the principle of fairness (treating equals equally). But have we taken the one and the other too far? Are we deceiving ourselves about our ability to treat each others equally, that is, to be “fair?” In his provocative... Read More
Kevin Gray Carr, “Plotting the Prince: Shotoku Cults and the Mapping of Medieval Japanese Buddhism” (University of Hawai’i Press, 2012)
Kevin Gray Carr‘s beautiful new book explores the figure of Prince Shotoku (573? – 622?) the focus of one of the most widespread visual cults in Japanese history. Introducing us to a range of stories materialized in both verbal and visual narratives, Plotting the Prince: Shotoku Cults and the Mapping... Read More
Carl S. Yamamoto, “Vision and Violence: Lama Zhang and the Politics of Charisma in Twelfth-Century Tibet” (Brill, 2012)
Lama Zhang, the controversial central figure in Carl S. Yamamoto‘s new book may or may not have participated in animal sacrifice, sneezed out a snake-like creature, and engaged in other acts of putative sorcery early in his life. What we can say about this fascinating character, however, is that he... Read More
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