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Paperback The Buddha Tree Book

ISBN: 0804832544

ISBN13: 9780804832540

The Buddha Tree

A glimpse at a hero gone wrong and the workings of the modern Buddhist church, this novel presents an insight into human weaknesses, sensitive sketches of the Japanese countryside, and revelatons of materialism suffusing the modern Buddhist churches.


Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Karma and Punishment

This was an incredible novel, really. The storyline meanders at a measured pace towards the conclusion in what is a well-crafted modern tale of human weakness and repentance; the possibility of redemption is suggested in a subtle manner but still left ambigious enough not to browbeat one like a religious tract. Dostoyevsky is the only other novelist I know of who can pull this off so well. The characters were complex and convincing...even the ones you think you have pegged as two-dimensional "types" will turn around later in the story and mildly surprise you. All of them come across as flawed, eliciting the reader's sympathy or disgust in turns but thereby gradually developing one's awareness that this is the human condition, warts and all; such a theme is 100% Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and could have come from the works of the founder Shinran himself, but Niwa has clearly made this worldview his own and skillfully evokes it in the hearts of his readers. Naturally "The Buddha Tree" will appeal to anyone who loves a good novel, but those interested in Japanese Buddhism would also profit immensely by reading this, as it realistically portrays what real hometown down-to-earth Buddhism really is in modern Japan like nothing else I've seen. Supposedly this guy has written a ton of other novels, stories, and essays. Why haven't these been translated? They need to be!

Thoughtful and Exciting

I picked up this book because I thought the cover was so beautiful. Now I'm in the middle of it and I am completely riveted. There are so many levels to the characters and to the story - that makes for a great read. I'm already buying it for friends.

Evocative period piece

The literature of post-war Japan is relatively unknown in the U.S. with the exception of Kawabata and Mishima. This book is really a fine example from those years, and both it and its author deserve to be better known. The pace of the writing is unhurried, self-assured, and the sense of time, and place, is breathtaking. The setting is a Buddhist temple in a small town, and the illicit relationship between the priest and his domineering mother-in-law. By the time you finish reading it, you feel you know the people and the town like an insider. I feel like I can see the temple and feel the hush enclosed by its wooden floors and halls. If you've ever been to Japan and visited a temple, you'll recognize the feeling, and this book captures it as well as any I know.

an amazing rollercoaster of scandal and intrigue

This is an amazing book, set in a peaceful temple in rural japan this book surprises and delights as the reader is drawn into the torment of guilt the priest of the temple suffers because of his illicit relationship with his mother-in-law.
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