Friday, February 13, 2009
Popular Buddhist Texts from Nepal: Narratives and Rituals of Newar Buddhism - Todd Thornton Lewis
Although the book is geared toward scholarly readers, it uses a limited amount of jargon and carefully explains the background of all of the texts provided, making it accessible to any reader with an interest in this subject. Despite the popularity of Nepal as a destination for tourists, the religions of Nepal are very poorly understood by most Westerners. This book, by presenting texts which are actually popular among modern Newar Buddhists gives an excellent feeling for how the religion is understood by the people who live and practice it. On the more scholarly side, his discussion of the "domestication" of texts and the role of stories and ritual in culture is insightful, though there is clearly room for his argument to be taken further.