This new book by David Loy could have also been given the title Buddhism for a Post-Axial Age, with a subtitle like Enlightenment and Earthly Engagement. Loy, Buddhist philosopher and Zen master, suggests that recent Buddhist encounters with the West—and vice versa—have opened up new horizons and possibilities that are profoundly transformative for both cultures. A New Buddhist Path charts out some of these directions, outlining key features of a contemporary Buddhism that is both “faithful to its most important traditional teachings and also compatible with modernity.”

Like other religions that arose during the Axial Age, Buddhism envisioned ultimate human destiny as involving a passage to a realm beyond this one, in a heaven, paradise, pure land, or some ideally conceived realm of the afterlife. These religions thus exhibit world-denying characteristics and tend to deemphasize the value of efforts to make this...

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