Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: If the Buddha Dated

If The Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path is a relationship and dating book by Charlotte Kasl that was published in 1999. 

And I know you're probably wondering why The Unlaced Librarian is reviewing a Buddhist dating book from 1999. Not exactly my porn/kink/polyamory fare, certainly, but hear me out. 

This is a great book.

I've been on a search to find books that bridge the gap between our spiritualities and our sexual selves. While New Age and Tantric teachings provide one way of meeting my goal, most people are looking toward other spiritual teachings. This book offers a really fantastic blend of Christian, Sufi, and Buddhist teachings.

I found this book offered three wonderful takes on dating. The first was sociological and psychological theory explained in a way that is accessible to general readers. The second is anecdotal advice the author gives from her personal experience and that of friends. The third is inspiration and nurturing knowledge in the form of poetry and lines from sacred texts.

While there were a few places that read a bit dated (the book was published in 1999 after all), I was surprised at how fresh and relevant most of the book is. I've read things in here I had not really seen even in this age of blog posts and lifestyle websites.

I was also so happy to read that this book was open to LGBT and ethically non-monogamous folks, though the writing does lean toward an audience seeking a primary relationship. She also lends an importance to love that remains companionate or does not blossom into a sexual relationship.

While the author addresses issues in getting along and working together, most of the book focuses on building your own fortitude and investing in yourself in the contexts of relationships.

The author has written a few other books under the same premise: If the Buddha had Kids, If the Buddha Got Stuck, and If the Buddha Married. So if you read this and really connect with the author and the style of the book you can look into the other titles to continue your journey. I will likely look into these titles in the future.

Overall I found I really enjoyed spending time with this book. Of course, not absolutely everything she had to say resonated with my spiritual life, but a lot of it did. I took what was valuable and helpful for me. I recommend this book to those who have perhaps found their spirituality is at war with dating or sexuality. I hope for some, this book might be the first step to bring the two worlds together.  

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