cover image Living Buddhism

Living Buddhism

Andrew Powell. University of California Press, $27.5 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-520-20410-2

This clearly written and attractively produced book explores the presence of Buddhism today in Tibet, China, Sri Lanka, South-East Asia and Japan, as well as of Buddhist enclaves in the religion's originating country, India. Powell concentrates on describing, often passionately, the contemporary landscape and all-too-frequently perilous position of Buddhism in those places. Perhaps unavoidably, therefore, specifics and even some generalizations about differing practices, beliefs and religious expressions in each nation are too vague; and one is left more with a feeling for the religious expression in each country than with a clear understanding of the Buddhist tradition within each. This feeling is confirmed by a tendency of the photographs to be more evocative than illustrative. Nevertheless, this is certainly more than a coffee-table book: Powell's introduction to the basic tenets and life of the Buddha is excellent and the book more than adequately conveys the richness of Buddhism's heritage. Full color photos. (Nov.)