Robert Wright’s book, Why Buddhism is True, is the latest in a growing number of works authored by prominent Western intellectuals promoting a Buddhism stripped of supernatural trappings and recommending meditation. I support both of these causes. As I’ve remarked elsewhere, I think Buddhism is the only ‘religion’ which still makes sense when considered apart from its supernatural elements, and when so considered, no longer even qualifies as a religion. Meditation is also a worthwhile venture with many practical benefits, especially when the mystical and new age dimensions have been pruned.
Although the initial premises as I have outlined them above are beneficial and ‘true’, in my opinion the central themes of Why Buddhism is True are less so. As the title suggests, Wright’s central argument is that Buddhism provides the tools which allow us to pierce the illusions our naturally selected brains create for us, see things as they really are, and thereby, alleviate suffering. I will argue against this. But before going on the offensive it is definitely worth dwelling on what is good about WBIT.