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Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha
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Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha

by Stephen T. Asma
 

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Buddhism, Booze, and the Four Noble Truths

Overview

Buddhism, Booze, and the Four Noble Truths

Editorial Reviews

Shambhala Sun
“Gods is a raw, heartbreaking confluence of religion and adventure rarely encountered in works of nonfiction these days.”
Dallas Morning News
“This may be an account of the ultimate intellectual hippie road trip.”
Booklist
“Intense and revelatory . . . an electrifying and frank mix of hair-rising anecdotes and expert analysis.”
Seattle Times
“A must-read for anyone with spiritual stirrings who finds organized religion wanting and Buddhism, American-style, deeply flawed.”
Beliefnet.com
“Candid, funny, and insightful . . . an enjoyable read for both the practicing Buddhist and the casual seeker.”
Beliefnet Editors
“Candid, funny, and insightful . . . an enjoyable read for both the practicing Buddhist and the casual seeker.”
Publishers Weekly
Asma opens this memoirish spiritual travel guide with a central purpose: by journeying to Cambodia to see the collective manifestations of Theravada Buddhism, the tradition closest to that avowed by the historical Buddha, he will disabuse Western readers of the widespread misconceptions so prevalent in a privatized, narcissistic and consumerist Buddhist mentality. Asma, professor of philosophy and a practicing Buddhist who taught Buddhism in Cambodia in 2003, dispels the basic falsehoods common to all schools of Buddhism, e.g., that nirvana is heavenly bliss, that austere detachment from one's deepest feelings is par for the course or that karmic merit can be acquired by magical or superstitious practices. Curiously, he scarcely discusses the most basic schism between Theravada and Mahayana (the other great school of Buddhism), namely, the consequential difference between an arhat and a bodhisattva. Nor does he, in the field of practice, explain how the magical shamanism pervading Cambodian Buddhism is different from Western practices that also use, for instance, fortune-telling or individualized mantras as magical panaceas. Nonetheless, Asma's descriptions are skillfully interwoven with firsthand encounters from his time in Cambodia. His forays into Southeast Asian politics, violence and globalizing trends, colorfully entertaining as travel writing, illuminate the ways in which Buddhism plays a primary role in the collective welfare of the region. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Asma (Buddha for Beginners) is a philosophy professor in Chicago with a sharp pen, a sharper sense of humor, and a deep interest in Buddhism. The latter led to his invitation to teach Buddhism to Cambodians in Phnom Penh, where years of Khmer Rouge rule had outlawed the practice. Thus, in the mysterious ways of today's globalization, he was bringing Buddhism back to its source by way of America. While remaining thoroughly American himself (including overindulging in the ex-pat pleasures of the region), Asma here treats readers to his amusing accounts of two cultures rubbing up against each other. While claiming to "take the California out of Buddhism"-and to disdain those who make superficial encounters with this religion-Asma never really quite achieves this objective. He does, however, convey his deep fascination with Buddhism, offering ruminations both revealing and provocative. He also provides an illuminating look into rapidly changing Southeast Asia. A good selection for public libraries and for academic libraries whose inquisitive students also want to be entertained.-Harold M. Otness, formerly with Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060834500
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/25/2006
Series:
Plus Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
333,316
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.73(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen T. Asma is a professor of Buddhism at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of the illustrated, bestselling Buddha for Beginners and the highly acclaimed Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.

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