I have nothing to say about definitions of religion, or about the relative degree of the author's 'enlightenment'. What I will say is about this book. For the non-specialist, this is the best you can get for a NARRATIVE HISTORY of the development and spread of Buddhism. Forget the other esoteric references (which do indeed color the author's other books). THIS IS GOOD STRAIGHTUP HISTORY WRITING.
Buddhism is not a religion because it demands cultivation and realization. It is therefore essential to select only writings written by the enlightened; or one can be led astray. Master Nan has been a Buddhist practitioner almost all his life and is believed by many to have seen the path. This book reviews all the basic concepts in Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism. Being written by someone who really knows, it is very different.
Like all Master Ma's books, it is a book that you would like to keep for your whole life and then pass onto you children. For those who are interested in this area, you will never regret owning this book.