BUDDHISM OR COMMUNISM by Ernst Benz

BUDDHISM OR COMMUNISM

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Which,"" asks the subtitle, ""Holds the Future of Asia?"" At first glance this may seem to be scarcely a serious question; Buddhism, so far as most informed Western observers have seen, is moribund. Yet Dr. Benz has a most persuasive, fascinating, and quite possibly very important case to make here for the new forms that Buddhism has been taking throughout the Far East, and for the far-reaching influence it has had and may yet have upon the political and social directions taken by Burma, Ceylon, Thailand, and even India and Red China. The Chinese People's Republic, we may be surprised to learn, has earnestly courted Buddhist approval, to the extent of posing as ""the champion of Buddhist cultural and artistic traditions."" Modern Buddhism has an ecumenical aspect it never had before, and consciously aims at a welfare state which would make possible, after the ""gratification of material needs,"" the attainment of Nirvana. The danger, recognized as such by the Buddhist leaders and intellectuals themselves, is a confusion of means with ends, or in other words that Buddhist ""will confound their own variety of Communism with the Marxist brand."" In all, this is a serious, stimulating book with many original points to make about the future course of Asia.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1965
Publisher: Doubleday