Western Lights is a collection of essays from the viewpoint of a Western Buddhist teacher. It speaks about Eastern concepts like karma, hope, attachment, and emptiness from a personal perspective and in terms familiar to Americans. They’re grounded in familiar subjects like politics, science, psychology, heaven, and nature. I hope to help the reader find a personal connection to this ancient tradition and discover what it has to say about the challenges of contemporary life.
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Reviews of Western Lights
Western Lights has its basis in Pure Land Buddhism, but the author draws on many other traditions, from Christianity to Tibetan Buddhism, to modern science, to help elucidate the ideas and thoughts he seeks to share. Andrew Furst openly discusses many of the thorny questions that spark heated debates between people of differing views. Furst approaches the big questions — “Is there a God?”, “What happens when we die?”, “What about reincarnation?” — with an eye toward cultivating honest harmony in the midst of differing ideas. While the subject matter is profound, the book is brief enough to be called an easy read. Western lights is an interesting, thought provoking book.
Each of the short essays in this delightful book is a small jewel, discussing essential points of Pure Land (and other forms) of Buddhism in a very clear, accessible style. I would recommend this highly to anyone who is interested in learning about the fundamentals of Buddhist belief and practice–regardless of one’s religious background (or lack thereof.)
There are many people who have been caught by the attraction of Buddhism seeing in it a path of outer and inner peace, higher development of the mind, love, compassion and liberation. Then they encounter the fact that all these undoubted virtues are grounded in a completely different world view from that which as an educated Western person they have come to take for granted.
By far the best book on Buddhism’s practices, processes, & prejudices I’ve ever read.
The clarity and simplicity of Andrew’s writing in Western Lights struck me immediately — from the explanation of processes and practices, to the eradication of myths and misunderstandings inherent in the conditioned minds of anyone not fully versed in any one particular form of religion or practice.
Andrew Furst is an insightful and caring person with a unique and relevant perspective on the spiritual path that would be nothing less than a great addition to the marketplace of ideas. –