Review of Why Buddhism is True


Wow wow wow this book covers a lot. Another recommendation to me by Jake. I suppose I have a passing interest in anthropology as whenever the anthropology of medicine, culture, or particular nieche cultures (especially online ones) is examined- I am hooked. Robert Wright does a fantastic job of his central argument of Buddhism being "true." I should I guess give fair warning in the beginning of this that as I understand it- Buddhism is an excessively decentralized religion. There are many sects and variations and different types of practiced Buddhism in the world but the central believes that are used in this book to "prove" Buddhism's truths are: mindfulness (usually through meditation), there is no self, and we are constantly going through a spectrum of illusions in life that is the main cause of our unhappiness. I had never heard the term "modular mind theory" before this book but it resonated so completely for me. Something to note for Wright's motivations- I think Wright as an evolutionary psychologist greatly sees Tribalism as one of humanity's greatest current deterrent to progress. So a lot of his interest and what Wright will draw attention to and praise will be attributes he thinks that could combat the problems that arise with tribalism. I genuinely tried meditation for a bit after this book and I want to get back into it. However dedicating a good portion of your time to doing nothing isn't the easiest thing to find justification towards- so I allocate the time I would have spent meditating to reading which is just as comforting and slow for my R&R but I also learn in the meantime. I absolutely love the ideas suggested in this book- each one gripping in its own way. I listened to it in the audiobook format and frequently would have to pause and just think about what Wright just said. Modular mind theory of psychology just explains so much of human behavior to me. I currently am about to enroll in psych 101 but I have always found it very interesting but also disappointing in it's inability to explain the deviations in patterns we frequently see. Modular mind doesn't have these deviations. Wright is essentially translating the non-supernatual aspects of Buddhism to a modern interpretation through the lens of evolutionary psychology. Not only does this book make me appreciate the aspects of another culture but in general it encouraged empathy to a ridiculous degree. It does this through two methods: #1-being able to better understand the reasons behind other's actions even if they seem crazy, and #2- being able to put your biases and constant urge to want a "simple coherent story" past you. Rarely does a book deliver as fantastic as a message drenched in current psychological understanding while also just encouraging and equipping people to be better to one another as well as this book does. Fantastic and memorable.


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