By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Dr. Stephen Asma, who teaches philosophy and humanities at Columbia College in Chicago. Asma has an interesting (and often funny) new book out; it's called "Why I Am a Buddhist: No-Nonsense Buddhism with Red Meat and Whiskey." In this work, he presents a well-written and deliberately demystified history of Buddhism --- that is, as a cultural, social, philosophical, and religious phenomenon. As a critic for Library Journal has written of Asma's book: "[This is] a new vade mecum about Buddhism that is at once acute, innovative, and refreshing. As a student of philosophy, Asma tries to distance the best of Buddhism --- and us --- from the mystical, regimented, or dogmatic tendencies of many of the forms of Buddhism that have become popular in the West; he is interested in the rigor of the noncreedal Buddhism the Buddha taught. For him, Buddhism does not require giving up one's passions but recognizing their impact. Asma writes with vigor and humor; he is at his strongest applying his insights to personal and social life. . . . Unlike the stream of books promoting Mahayana Buddhism and its rituals, texts, and temples, Asma's well-written work translates the Buddha's oldest ideas directly for modern readers. An eye-opener for experienced and innocent Buddhists alike."