Buddhism, as Gerry Stribling reminds us in his book ‘Buddhism for Dudes’ is not a religion but a moral philosophy – which came as a slight shock to him when he entered a temple in Sri Lanka and found monks in fervent worship.
Having spent a little time with his Buddhist teachers, as well as a great deal more time spent chanting, Stribling eventually discovered for himself that Buddhism as a spiritual process does not impose fixed notions about life and how we should experience it.
As he points out early on in his book, you can be both a Christian and a Buddhist at the same time if you so wish for the two, at their heart, do not contradict one another.
In his own irrepressible and light-hearted style the author peels apart the core concepts and ideas that underpin the fabric of the Buddhist faith by first looking at one of its founding principles, ‘The Four Noble Truths’ and then the ‘Five Precepts’.
Later on he explores other topics that are central to the Buddhist tenets but about which a newcomer to the subject may know little. This includes explanations on such topics as karma and rebirth, the Noble Eight Paths, meditation and last of all the often-challenging concept of no-self.
And thats it – short, quick, concise and to the point – just the way most dudes like their spirituality served up.
Buddhism for Dudes offers a simple, clean, straightforward and cut-down examination of Buddhism – one that is easily digestible alongside whilst eating a your pizza or enjoying a beer.
Does spirituality have to be any more complex than that? I suspect not but sadly I feel that many will fail to see the humour in this book and end up being overly critical of its slightly irreverent style.
This would be a mistake for in writing the book Gerry Stribling has clearly brought the essential grace and beauty of Buddhist philosophy into the lives of those who might ordinarily reject it out of hand for being too mystical and unapproachable.
The sense of humour that pervades this book this book is not disrespectful in any way but I feel does add greatly to its overall richness of character – as does the inclusion of the beautifully drawn cartoons that appear in its pages.
Anyway, I am quite sure that the Buddha enjoys a chuckle from time to time and would probably enjoy watching the stuffiness being knocked out of his followers.
Buddhism for Dudes is a clever and highly entertaining book – one that will make you think deeply about life whilst chuckling through its insightful narrative and irreverent illustrations. For those reasons alone you should rush out and grab a copy of this uplifting little gem.