Buddhism Goes to the Laundromat

[This is my four-star Amazon review of Robert Miller’s Buddhist Existentialism: From Anxiety to Authenticity and Freedom.]

This is a great read for anyone interested in what Buddhism has to offer but is put off by its ridiculous addiction to jargon and vast profundity. Siddhartha himself would probably prefer this book to all the sutras that purport to speak in his name. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for religion, then you’d best look elsewhere. Buddhist Existentialism is the antithesis of religion, which is to say, it walks the shunyata talk.

Still, one sometimes does get a whiff of essentialist stink when Miller goes on about Existence Itself, “original mind”, “original purity”, a definitive “cure” for the human predicament, and the like. One wonders if sometimes he has skipped the final rinse. But again, this is hardly fair since he makes clear that voidance is a never ending process, while words have to stop somewhere. Perhaps a final word would have been helpful—something like: Now burn this book.

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