Western Lights

Western Lights is available on Amazon. Signed copies can be purchased at the store.

Western Lights

Western Lights

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.

Available on Amazon.com


Reviews of Western Lights

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher and author. She is the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, and has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West.
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.
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Eric Swanson – Co-Author of the New York Times  bestseller,The Joy of Living
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.)
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David Brazier – Pure Land Buddhist teacher, author, and founder of Zen Therapy
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.
This leads to a struggle. Can the Buddhist virtues be fitted into the Western perspective? Not easily. Can the Western perspective be jettisoned in order to get what Buddhism is offering? That’s hard for a Western person to do. Is a bridge possible between the two? This is an important open question.

There are many people these days struggling with questions of this kind. This book is one example. It is a series of essays in the original sense of the word: to essay is to attempt. These are one man’s attempts to build that bridge. I think the book is,therefore, best taken in that spirit, as a nicely written, easily accessible personal confession and progress report from one sincere person exploring this territory. It highlights all the kinds of common questions that arise in the Western person’s mind confronted with Buddhism, and Pure Land Buddhism at that: a faith in heaven through salvation that somehow cuts through all our worries and ultimately invites us to stop thrashing about in the water and learn to float.

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Braja Sorenson – Author | Lost & Found in India
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.

The book is a refreshing and welcoming introduction and guide to the practices of Buddhism: whether one’s desire is simply curiosity or to delve deeply into the philosophy and transcendent nature of the practices.

Breaking down terms like Faith, Vows, Meditation, Spirituality and Englightenment, and dispelling age-old prejudices and mental conditioning against such words with simplicity and obvious compassion, Andrew has managed to deliver a unique and open door to practices and traditions that should be, by now, the norm for everyone–no matter our choice of spiritual path.

Being a practitioner of mantra meditation for nearly 30 years, I particularly loved the section The Name That Calls, and the chapter that addressed the question (Ch 11) Buddhism: Religion, Belief System, or Philosophy. I particularly liked Andrew’s presentation of the concept of karma, a modern-day term that is often misunderstood and misapplied, and consequently cheapened. It is a complex and deep philosophy, and Andrew deals with it again with clarity and simplicity.

He even addresses politics and Darwinism, cats (yes, cats!), our relationship with God, anger, and healing. It’s pretty much got it all, this little pearl.

Seriously recommended reading for the practitioner of any form of spiritual process: if we can’t find something in all practices to apply to our own, we’re doing something wrong—and this book sets it right.

Benjamin Riggs – Featured Columnist on Elephant Journal
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. –

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