Paul Williams has written a masterful account of his conversion to Catholicism. From a unique perspective of being a world authority on Mahayana Buddhism, he compares key aspects of the two religions and offers solid rationale for his choice. The book represents his journey of faith and records his thoughts and experiences as he (re)discovers the Church. The clarity of his thinking and his willingness to offer personal anecdotes and insights make this journey with Dr. Williams extremely rewarding. He includes much relevant philosophy and theology without his writing ever becoming dry or losing the reader's interest. For myself, as a former Buddhist using this book during RCIA, its greatest value is as a work of apologetics -- a coherent, rational, original, convincing, and not to mention quite beautiful argument for and defense of the Christian and Catholic faith, warmly and lovingly written. One need not start from a Buddhist perspective to benefit from Williams' well-reasoned arguments. Anyone who seeks Truth, considers "religious" questions or enjoys theological or philosophical writing should read this book. Hopefully, that doesn't leave anyone out.
After reading the book, one would likely have the following impressions: Williams' dissatisfaction with Buddhism is its self-generated individualism; its failure to resolve the issue of something or nothing as lying behind belief where God is dispensable; the turning away from community its practice generates; its rampant subjectivism; reincarnation undermines the uniqueness of a person in one life; and the self-made experiences generated through meditation stand close to egoism.
But obviously, as any good Buddhist practitioner would definitely comment: none of the above is true in Buddhism! It is simply because 'individualims, egoism, subjectivism, etc.' are, on the contrary, what a good practitioner practises to let go. If egoism may arise by practising Buddhism, why would there imply a 'denial of a person's uniqueness'? 'Withdrawn from community' is only true for some individual monks but similarly, there are also Catholic monasteries or convents parallel to this aspect in Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism which is the prevalent form of Buddhism certainly does not turn away from the community! It is actually a well-known fact that excelling in Buddhism academically, does not necessarily make a good Buddhist practitioner. But how unfortunate this book would convey so many misunderstandings in Buddhism to the Catholics.