Keen but graspable and usable insights
A primary allure of Buddhist teachings for me has been the practicality, the way that they counsel specific actions and intentions that are quite easy to see, at least intuitively, as likely leading to a more peaceful existence. Having been raised in a dogmatic religious tradition, I eventually grew to need more, and to value experience over blind faith. This presentation confirms what many of us know of the 12 steps -- that they would well serve anyone, chemically dependent or not. As the author notes, the Buddhist precepts would do likewise, even if only one of them were followed (preferably the fifth, abstaining from intoxicants, because missing the boat on that precept so easily leads to "violation" of others, through lying, stealing, and sexual misconduct.) The way the author deals with "belief" and "God" greatly lends itself to a practice that can be usefully implemented in our daily lives, without stridently leaping off the precipice into nihilism or atheism. As taught here, we can have faith that abiding the Eightfold Path will lead to less suffering and greater peace. We can turn our will and our lives over to that pragmatic faith. Weaving together the 12 steps and the basic Buddhist teachings provides a rich resource for better understanding both and, importantly, for realizing their value in our lives. We need to move beyond understanding, to realization. This book helps.