Title: Opening the Lotus: A Woman's Guide to Buddhism
Author: Sandy Boucher
Summary: When I first saw this book at my favorite used bookstore in Boulder Colorado (the Bookworm) I was intrigued. The inside jacket begins the summary of the book by asking the question… “Do women take a unique approach to spirituality?” I read the question closed the book and thought…”Well sure… don’t they?” Wanting to explore the topic of female spirituality more I picked it up and finally after months of having the book in my possession I read it last weekend.
Boucher’s book is set up as a general guidebook and a personal journal. Inserted into the chapters are Boucher’s own experiences that lead her to the theories and ideas she often writes about in her books. Many of the stories are of her first experience with Buddhism and her female spiritual teacher. Mixed throughout is feminist theory and insight. From history to a guide on Buddhist practices Boucher’s book generally covers a large scope.
"Imagine a great net spread across the universe. Each juncture is a “being,” and if we imagine that consciousness as a drop of dew, we can see that in each shining drop resides the reflection of every other drop on the net."
Rating: Well… first I would have to you if have any interest in Buddhism. If you do not, don’t bother with the book. There is a lot of history and description of Buddhist practices and temples that I found intriguing, but to the unwilling reader it will be boring. The personal narratives are not compelling enough to appeal to any reader and the feminist theory is dated and somewhat biased (the book was first published in 1997).
Now if you have an interest in Buddhist history or practice you may consider this book. It is written as a general outline and for those who are unfamiliar, yet interested it is written clearly and concisely. I personally enjoyed the chapter on Buddhist meditation halls. As a Zen Buddhist I was unfamiliar with the Theravada and Varayana practices. Boucher offers a nice overview of the meditation hall differences.
Because of the nice overview of the different types of Buddhism I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. As I mentioned the personal narrative is not compelling and the question that intrigued me in the first place, was never really answered. If you liked this view please be sure to use my Amazon links. You can buy Opening the Lotus here...