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Buddhadharma : Fall 2014
FALL 2014 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 65 Nearly forty years ago, at a meditation course I attended in Nashville, Indiana, Lama Thubten Yeshe was asked by a Christian woman in the audience, “Are God and dharmakaya the same?” Lama remained silent for several minutes, rocking back and forth on his cushion, pondering, as we sat in suspense. Finally, he simply said, “Yes.” I have never known quite what to make of his answer, but it has remained a sort of interreligious koan for me in the years since as I’ve tried to puzzle out how my identity as a Buddhist did or did not intersect with the identities, ideas, and practices of people in other religious groups. Not every modern Buddhist is interested in such questions. Indeed, if recent debates in the Shambhala Sun and elsewhere are an indication, nowadays many Buddhists think they practice not a religion but a form of “spirituality” or “mind science.” One’s view of the matter, of course, hinges on the meaning of various big words, most crucially “reli- gion.” Many people who deny they are “religious” associate religion with blind faith, ritualism, and dogmatism. Confident that Buddhism is free from these, Buddhists believe REVIEWS THE BUDDHA AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY By J. Abraham Vélez de Cea Routledge, 2013 245 pages; $135 WAS THE BUDDHA ECUMENICAL? Reviewed by Roger Jackson ROGER JACKSON is a professor of South Asian studies and religion at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and coeditor of Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars.