Buddhish: A Guide to the 20 Most Important Buddhist Ideas for the Curious and Skeptical

Beacon. Mar. 2022. 192p. ISBN 9780807064566. pap. $18. REL
Salguero (Asian history, medicine, and religion, Abington Coll. at Penn State Univ.; Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China) presents straightforward discussions of 20 key Buddhist ideas in his latest book. He has a unique lens, as a transdisciplinary humanities scholar with more than three decades of focused research in Buddhism, including experiential learning in Buddhist monasteries and across the Asian continent. The author is not a Buddhist himself; here states that his approach is skeptical of aspects of Buddhist philosophy. (This book is intended as a layperson’s introduction to basic Buddhist concepts, rather than a guide to meditation or how to be Buddhist.) Salguero organizes the book logically, introducing formative Buddhist ideas that will be built upon to discuss more complex ideologies, which are then explained within a practical context; a guide to terminology and a list of further reading conclude the volume.
VERDICT Salguero’s is not a work for academic researchers or readers already versed in Buddhist philosophy; in fact, he dissuades such readers in the introduction. It will most suit niche readers with a skeptic’s mindset who are seeking basic information about Buddhism. Not a necessary acquisition.
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