Illusions on the Path, by Stan B. Martin

Buddhist Thought for Modern Times

Buddhism is often touted as a religion that is a perfect fit for modern times offering valuable insights that can relieve much of the stress and problems we face in our busy lives. If however we scrutinise some of the more traditional Buddhist practices and beliefs the common depiction of Buddhism as a rational or even scientific path can seem quite untenable. Far from being a path ideal for current times you may find yourself experiencing difficulties integrating teachings and ideas into your normal life. You may encounter aspects of Buddhist thought that don’t sit comfortably with your modern sensibilities or may even seem regressive. In this situation how can we proceed with confidence and discern a path that is acceptable and safe for us to travel on? How can we, for example, avoid getting drawn into personality cults that have left many sincere followers open to abuse? Do we have to believe in ideas like reincarnation and assent to faith in supernatural beings to be real Buddhists? Is becoming a Buddhist even necessary?

In ILLUSIONS ON THE PATH, these questions and more are examined in a critical way that uncovers how some traditional Buddhist practices and ideas have evolved in ways that are clearly at odds with modern western values and at times even with the original word of the Buddha. Cutting through these obstacles the author reveals a pragmatic approach that invites the reader to come and see for themselves the value if any in the Buddha’s insights. Illusions on the Path clears away superfluous beliefs and reveals a path that invites scepticism, rational thought and self discovery. It provides valuable insights that help us avoid the problems and confusion that afflicts both newcomers to Buddhism and long-term practitioners alike.

ILLUSIONS ON THE PATH examines the cultural add-ons, removes all unnecessary jargon, cuts through the mysticism and leaves you with a practical and pragmatic approach to Buddhism. It will be a breath of fresh air to everyone confused about what they should believe, what they should be doing and what can be left to one side. Highlighting the many pitfalls, misunderstandings and obstacles you may encounter on the path, it is a must read for any serious Western Buddhist practitioner.”
– from the foreword by Karma Yeshe Rabgye