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Introduction: review of The Reluctant Buddhist

William Woollard has built up his reputation over the years as one of our leading writers and presenters in the fields of science and technology. In programmes like Tomorrow’s World in it’s golden years, and Horizon, his greatest strengths perhaps have been his enthusiasm and his clarity. He has been able to take difficult and often immensely obscure bits of science, or engineering invention, and find the ordinary everyday words and phrases that would make them not just understandable, but interesting and entertaining television. He clearly has the common touch. What is even more important, he is also immensely believable. His integrity is apparent; he is not carried away by his own enthusiasms. Indeed he always seeks to show both sides of an argument, so that we can exercise our own judgement.

In The Reluctant Buddhist he has done very much the same job for Buddhism.  The language is in no way religious or other worldly; it is by contrast very matter of fact and down to earth. He follows a clear path, so that we gain a very considerable understanding of the territory that Buddhism maps out. But over and above that he places Buddhist teachings and principles in the context of our daily lives so that we get a very clear understanding of how those teachings might impact upon our values and our behaviour in everyday situations.

It is an excellent primer for anyone even vaguely interested in Buddhist beliefs.