I am not convinced of all Chapman says, but this is an interesting review of what is an unquestionably important book..


David L. McMahan’s The Making of Buddhist Modernism has changed the way I think about Buddhism more than any book I’ve read in years. I think it’s destined to be an influential classic.

It’s a history of how and why “Western Buddhism” came to be what it is. That casts new light on what “Western Buddhism” is, and raises new questions about whether that’s what we want.

My understanding of this book is the main basis for this blog series. (Of course, I use other sources too, and of course McMahan might disagree with everything I say.) This is not a general review. Instead, I will explain some parts of the book that are relevant to my own project.

Traditional Buddhism is very unlike Western Buddhism

Most Western Buddhists don’t realize how different even the most traditional and “authentic” forms found in the West are from traditional Asian Buddhism. Once…

View original post 1,067 more words

2 thoughts on “

  1. Hi David

    Thank you very much for this!

    I’ve read through your site with great interest. I’m not sure whether you’ve found some writing I’ve done that is more directly relevant to your project than my WordPress blog is. It’s at meaningness.com (rather than meaningness.wordpress.com—an unfortunate confusion). I’ve written about the bogosity of SBNR and various similar “spiritual” movements.

    I’m hoping to get back to that work soon (after a too-long diversion through Buddhism). Specifically, to explain exactly what’s wrong with “All Is One” and “Everything is connected” and “Your true self is God.”

    Best wishes,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s