THE ESSENCE OF BUDDHA: The Path to Enlightenment

Ryuho Okawa, Author . Time Warner Books UK $15 (101p) ISBN 978-0-316-85935-6

Claiming that he possesses "the same transcendental powers as Shakyamuni" Buddha himself, Okawa, founder of The Institute for Research in Human Happiness, offers his unique perspective on several core Buddhist concepts. He begins by briefly reviewing pivotal moments in the life of the historical Buddha. He then describes and comments on the Eightfold Path and the Six Paramitas, specific disciplines—such as diligent meditation and the giving of offerings—designed to activate the believer's latent inner wisdom and hasten enlightenment. The remainder of the book is devoted to Okawa's take on such Buddhist concepts as the void, the law of causality and reincarnation. Unfortunately, Okawa's distinctly religious, even sectarian, perspective makes his explanations something of a curiosity. With the steadfast conviction of a true believer, he grounds his discussion in an esoteric cosmology where seekers of truth are beset by evil spirits and devils, a "science of the spirit . . . goes beyond Einstein's theory of relativity" and powerful spirit beings inhabit multiple dimensions, overseeing the development of beings on many planets, including Earth, over tens of millions of years. The writing itself, though pleasantly formal, at times becomes sentimental, even oddly evangelical (exceptional seekers can gain quicker spiritual progress if they "allow tears of repentance... to stream down their cheeks"). Though some readers will find this book informative, more will finish it with questions regarding Okawa's personal beliefs than with a deeper understanding of the essence of Buddha. (Apr. 15)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Show other formats
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-86204-836-2
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-0-7515-3355-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.