WESTERN SEEKER, EASTERN PATHS: Exploring Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism & Tantra

David Pond, Author . Llewellyn $14.95 (220p) ISBN 978-1-56718-535-5

Pond (Chakras for Beginners), a professional astrologer, sets out to explore the benefits that practitioners of an emerging "new Western spirituality" might glean from established Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist and Tantric traditions. Unfortunately, the perspective of this new Western spirituality itself is weakly defined and proves to be a limited platform from which to investigate these Eastern religions. It a priori treats the traditions themselves as essentially interchangeable paths to the same conclusion, trivializes their genuine differences, and thereby fails to penetrate their depth and richness. The book devotes one chapter each to Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Tantra, first surveying the fundamental beliefs of each tradition, then providing specific suggestions for incorporating elements of that tradition's teachings—such as postures and breathing techniques—into the reader's own meditation practice. Pond also offers intermittent personal anecdotes to illustrate his own methods of assimilating these teachings into his spiritual life. He is clearly knowledgeable about these Eastern paths; the discussion of the seven Hindu chakras (spiritual power reservoirs aligned along the spine) is particularly accessible. Yet the material is not always well organized, and the style is frequently awkward. This book is best suited for those who are interested primarily in finding new techniques to enrich their own pastiche of spiritual practice; those who want to explore Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism or Tantra in any depth, however, will need to turn elsewhere. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 01/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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