Snowmelt wrote:To put Daniel Ingram's utterances into perspective: it is like a Christian saying that the Bible is nonsense, or like a Muslim saying that the Koran is nonsense. Such an assertion would make it clear that the speaker belonged to neither religion.
I think that just letting your mind wander where it wants is highly detrimental to advancement on the Path, and reading endless texts purporting to be about Buddhism, particularly those whose authors contradict the most basic tenets of the Pali Canon, involves allowing your mind to do just that. I think the reason why people do this is because they haven't the wisdom to stay with the Pali Canon; in the best Western tradition, they want endlessly to leap to the next shiny bauble, hopelessly and desultorily searching for a magic bullet that will make them fully Enlightened without effort ("Quick, give me an Enlightenment pill, I've only got five minutes before the match starts on TV!") This is proliferation and distraction and delusion; it will *never* lead to Enlightenment. Or, they are like water boatmen: skating across the surface of Buddhism, never diving in; this is a complete waste of time and effort. I think the only people who can expose themselves to this kind of stuff without risking ill effects are those monastics who have thoroughly digested and comprehended the Canon and its implications over many years, and who live it every day, all day. "Books, books, books. Too many, too many, too many. Dustbin, dustbin, dustbin."
You assume several things i don't agree with in your post;
the first one is that a person who attains arahatship must by definition be 'Buddhist', that is, defines oneself as Buddhist.
Remember, arahatship is complete liberation from ignorance isn't it? therefore, it is not bound up in these terms, specifically 'religion', 'buddhism', etc.
and second, you are assuming that the Buddha taught a religion, by using the analogy of Christianity, Islam, etc, and the Buddha actually taught a non-sectarian path to liberation and enlightenment which is not bound up in these worldly terms.
and lastly, the book in question is actually a guide to help people who are walking on this path..
Basically it concentrates on the three trainings, Sila, Samadhi, Panna, and it also contains advice for more advanced practitioners (sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami).
I recommend it to anyone walking on the path of Dhamma. besides being a source of inspiration, it is a very practical guide, specifically to those practicing in the Burmese tradition (importance on vedana, sensations)
all the best!