Karma: Dimensions of Asian Spirituality

In researching my (upcoming) book about Karma, I brushed up my knowledge on the topic. One of the books I turned to was Karma: Dimensions of Asian Spirituality by Johannes Bronkhorst. My teachers at Leiden University whisper his name with awe. Professor Bronkhorst is a living legend in the study of India and Buddhism. From the perspective of the (semi) scholar however, this book is a disappointment: where are the footnotes? On the other hand, this book does not skimp on philosophical details either. If you ever wanted to learn about the differences between the Buddhist philosophical schools – summarized in a paragraph – this book is for you. However, that does mean that for the lay reader, the main advice is: skip what you don’t understand. And there will be a lot of it. Usually books written for non-specialists skip controversy, or announce it loud and clear. Bronkhorst does neither. He slips in his controversial opinions as fluently as if they were self evident, no doubt because to him they are just that. All in all this book is a good introduction to the topic of Karma in pan-Indian historical perspective, for the intelligent reader. It may not have footnotes, but it does have a few general notes and source reference which will give the persevering reader all the sources they need. However, to fully check Bronkhorst requires becoming a specialist in Indian history and languages yourself. I read the Kindle edition.

  • Karma: Dimensions of Asian Spirituality, Johannes Bronkhorst
  • Series: Dimensions of Asian Spirituality
  • Hardcover: 154 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (August 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824835700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824835705
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches