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by Christmas Humphreys

Buy the book: Christmas Humphreys. Buddhism

Release Date: December, 1990

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Christmas Humphreys. Buddhism

Good for it's Time, but....

Considered one of the original classic introductory level works on Buddhism, this book has been continually reprinted somewhere in the world for half a century. Humphreys writes with passion about the doctrines and beliefs that have become a living reality in his life, and it is this edge that draws readers in spite of the fact that, content-wise, it has been clearly surpassed by more recent introductions, such as Harvey's. The other reviews here tell you its strengths, so let me make a few warnings. First, a reader new to Buddhist thought needs to be aware that Humphrey's opinions about the subject are colored, sometimes deeply, by his exposure to a syncretistic religion called Theosophy, which attempted to bridge Eastern and Western religions. As such, he is not always clearly Buddhist, but reflects Theosophical beliefs, particularly in his discussions on Self and Oneness. Second, due to this bridging need, a number of comments and comparisons are drawn with Christianity that are either out of context or which disappear when the actual details are examined. Third, the book represents a rationalistic approach to Buddhism, typical of the times, and proceeds on such assumptions as that Buddhism contains no assumptions, which cannot be taken seriously at this point. Due to these issues, and its dated nature compared to recent introductions, I would recommend reading some of the later before trying this one.

From Amazon.com


Written in the 50's this was one of the first and the most comprehensive introduction on the subject at the popular level. I read it because a 98 year old English lady had become a Buddhist after reading it 35 years ago.

Humphries is extremely enthusiastic and his formulation is negatively biased towards certain schools of Buddhism but he is very hot on Buddhist art, Zen and trying to explain duality, multiplicity and unity.

It makes a good read as long as you don't swallow all of it and compare it with other more modern texts. C. Humphries own personal integrity shines through which is what makes the book a treasure.

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