One of America's most respected Buddhist teachers distills a lifetime of practice and teaching in this groundbreaking exploration of the new Buddhist tradition taking root on American soil.
As cofounder and resident guiding teacher of Insight Meditation Society, Goldstein is one of the most influential Buddhist teachers in America; his many books, including Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and The Experience of Insight, have done much to strengthen Buddhism's foothold on our shores. Nothing Goldstein has written to date, though, has carried as much potential for impact as this brilliant new title. "A genuine Western Buddhism is now taking birth," writes Goldstein. "Its defining characteristic.... is an allegiance to a very simple question: 'What works?' " Goldstein sees Western Buddhism as arising from the current interaction in the West of Buddhist traditions previously isolated for centuries, with Westerners "willing to take what is useful and beneficial from different traditions and add it to our own practice experience." The essence of Western Buddhism, he declares, is One Dharma: "experiencing the essential point common to all the teachings." After setting up this premise, Goldstein offers a history of Buddhism and an exploration of its basic principles, notably drawing on all the major traditions, as well as on his own personal experience (often salted with considerable humor), all the while moving toward the synthesis that is One Dharma. Thus the book serves as a clear, concise and rigorous primer on Buddhism, as well as a vehicle for exploring Goldstein's premise. "The One Dharma of Western Buddhism," Goldstein concludes, "emerges as a grand tapestry of teachings, weaving together from different traditions the methods of mindfulness, the motivation of compassion, and the liberating wisdom of non-clinging." In so saying, Goldstein is emphatically not advocating the dissolution of the various Buddhist traditions into a Westernized blend, but rather a spectrum of Buddhist engagements, ranging from those who adhere strictly to one tradition to those who wish to explore One Dharma. Even so, this is a revolutionary contribution to Buddhist thinking that is going to make big waves within Buddhist communities. Likely, it will be accepted by many as the road map for Western Buddhism. Expect high interest and brisk sales.