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Book Review #3: On Amidism, To Be Born In A Lotus, A Buddhist Goal That Can Be Achieved in a Life


This, as the title suggests, is technically three books in one. However, given the two facts that: 1. These essays are very short, and 2. They’re all in the same very small booklet.

I picked up this booklet at a Book Fair I attended (and technically was in) in 2018 Los Angeles. There was a small tent set up by a local Buddhist community. The book was free, but also intriguing as I love to learn and don’t really know anything about Buddhism other than what my Western lifestyle (incorrectly) brought me up to assume about the belief.

Of course, it seems odd to have never even open a book for over a year, and I admit I feel a little silly about that.

Anyway, why am I reviewing a religious text? Well for one, does that matter? A book is a book, there is important information in every text, even if you don’t adhere to the text’s answers to the questions it presents.

I am not a Buddhist convert, however there really are some fantastic lessons to be learned in this little book, and those lessons were after meditating on several of the points it makes. I don’t necessarily believe reciting Budda’s name grants you access to a wonderful realm after death, however there is a different point to be made within the original point being made. One of the essays (A Buddhist Goal That Can Be Achieved In One’s Present Life) brings up the fact that there are many hours in a day, and details just about how much time you have left in a day to recite Budda’s name. Like I mentioned, I’m not going to start doing that, however to dissect that initial point: there are many hours in a day...what are you doing with them? Of course, despite one of the three author’s telling you to use those extra hours in the day to chant “Amitabha Buddah” I began to think about what it means to have those extra hours in the day, and began to think what am I currently doing with those hours?

Another important lesson to take away from all three essays is the concept of being “pure”. Now what does that mean exactly? Are we really, in 2020, expected to all act like some monk did in some odd thousand or so years ago? Obviously no (although I suppose if you desired to you could do that, probably be very happy too) however to think of the rules laid out in “To Be Born In A Lotus”, would you really be happier and perhaps more productive and fulfilled if you didn’t engage in rude language or thoughts? If you didn’t constantly consume things that you know are either harmful or don’t grant you any gain at all? At first glance it’s easy to laugh at say “okay prude”, but it really does beg some thought toward “maybe there’s a reason I’m so unhappy?”

And of course I’m not suggesting swearing at the guy that cut you off in traffic is why you have depression, that would be both silly and rather insensitive. But is there a connection to negativity toward others and negativity within ourselves?

I didn’t learn the answer to that in this book, but this book did make me open my mind toward thinking and living more positively toward not just others, but also myself as well.

If you are to take any lesson from this book review, let it be to look into things you may initially disagree with, you might find some interesting lessons in between the lessons presented.

Check back here for more reviews and stories, and as always, remember to #ReadOutsideTheBox.

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