Whilst reading this book one should always bear in mind that although published in 1990, the text is taken from a series of lectures delivered in 1968 shortly before Sangharakshita went on to found the FWBO (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order)and so there is necessarily some emphasis on certain points more applicable to that era. However, once the reader has accepted this and come to terms with Sangharakshita's style and insistence on precise translations and definition of terms, the 'dry' lists of traditional Buddhist doctrine are explained and brought to life in a manner that has relevance to both men and women today seeking an introduction to a core Buddhist teaching. I highly recommend it.
A friend was asking about good books on the Noble Eightfold Path, so I bought several to send to her, reading each one first. This is by far the worst, although I'm afraid it will appeal greatly to a certain type of seeker who doesn't like his or her Dharma straight. My initial objection to this book was that it was just another one of those books, all too common and all too poorly done, that is merely a reworking of a series of talks the author once gave. The more I read through this book, though, the more disturbing I found it. Within a framework of traditional Dharma teachings the author has offered up quite a mish mash of pop psychology, New Age nonsense and the tired old bashing of Christianity and Western culture which is unfortunately so chic among many of those attracted to Buddhism. I daresay, this is NOT what the Buddha taught, and the matter should simply rest there. Puzzled by this man's distortion of teachings I hold dear, I went to Yahoo to do a search about him, his background, his tradition: I suggest you do that as well.