Land of No Buddha
Reflections of a Sceptical Buddhist
Richard P Hayes
Log on to a Buddhist Internet discussion group – almost any one – and there is Richard Hayes: magisterial, knowledgeable, urbane, debating with all comers, ruminating on western Buddhism, reflecting on his life. The learned Professor of Buddhist Studies at McGill University must spend hours of his day so engaged, a virtual Bodhisattva for the cyber-Sangha. Land of No Buddha is vintage Hayes, comprising essays written in pre-Net days. He chews over his often painful experience of practising Buddhism in the us, and brings to his meditations his substantial knowledge of Buddhism and western culture.
Hayes’s core belief is a radical scepticism, on a bedrock of pared down, no-nonsense Buddhism. And he is an entertaining guide on a sometimes-agonising journey of discovery through the profundities and absurdities of American Zen, the New Age supermarket, encounters with lamas and all the rest. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes infuriating, Hayes is always worth reading.
Reviewed by Vishvapani, Dharma Life 10, Spring 1999