Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

Don't be put off by the fairly argumentative title of Robert Wright's Why Buddhism Is True. This fascinating book is not in any sense a polemic for the superiority of the Buddhist spiritual worldview over that of other faiths. Instead, it's a well-informed and thoughtful seeker's methodical and sometimes skeptical investigation of key aspects of Buddhist thought and practice--specifically meditation and mindfulness--and the value of those practices when illuminated by the insights of modern psychology and neuroscience.

Wright (journalist, scholar and author of Nonzero and The Evolution of God) first seriously encountered meditation at a one-week silent retreat in 2003. Since that time he's become a faithful practitioner, convinced of meditation's value as a "tool for examining our stories carefully, from the ground up, so that we can, if we choose, separate truth from fabrication."

Wright is at his most engaging and accessible when he's recounting his personal encounters with mindfulness practice. While this book is much more than a meditation "how-to" manual, Wright does offer practical advice to novice meditators. His description of some of his more challenging meditation experiences, like the one involving a snoring fellow meditator, display his dry wit.

Whether it's a deluge of smartphone apps, enthusiastic celebrity testimonials or the embrace by corporate leaders eager to improve employee productivity and satisfaction, meditation and mindfulness unquestionably are hot today. Regardless of their own religious or spiritual roots, many open-minded readers who accompany Wright on this journey can find insight here. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

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