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The Unexpected Way By Paul Williams Book Report

1019 words - 4 pages

Paul Williams, Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy at Bristol University in England and author of The Unexpected Way which is a focus on his conversion from Buddhism to Catholicism. The Unexpected Way deals with the arguments and reasoning behind Williams' decision to change religion; as well it opens Williams' inner self and the questions which moved him to his conversion to Catholicism. Paul Williams is a leading scholar of Buddhism and his choice to convert came to a huge surprise to many of his friends and colleagues as stated in his book.The Unexpected Way deals with critical issues in Williams' life; Buddhism does not answer the questions Williams seeks. In The Unexpected Way Williams objects to Buddhist teachings, but he does not state that they are incorrect. He uses the book to show why Catholicism is more acceptable in answering questions that have concerned him all his life. "Why is there something rather than nothing?" This question was first stated by St. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic thinker, and is something that has bothered Williams for years. Williams does not accept that things are just the way they are. Buddhism simply teaches that a person must accept this actuality. The world in Buddhist terms is a continual interaction with conditions that have a process of actions and consequences. Buddhism does not deal with how or why this all started, and it is pointless to ask why everything started. This stance of the Buddhist religion does not satisfy Williams, and he finds it important to know why things are the way they are. By entering into the Catholic religion, Williams finds an answer, God. God becomes the answer, a creator of the universe, of this world, man, and woman.Life after death is another issue Williams addresses which is important topic in the book and his reasoning to switching over to Catholicism. Buddhism does not offer Williams any comfort in his life when it concerns his death. Buddhist teachings are that the rebirth after your death is not in fact your rebirth; the death of one life is a birth of another. Williams puts it this way, "Unless I gained Enlightenment in this life, I - Williams - the person I am - would have no hope. For rebirth of Williams that follows from not attaining enlightenment would not be the same person as Williams... Thus Buddhism appeared to me hope-less." Williams is entering into the later years of his life and death has become an important element of his faith, to which Buddhism does not satisfy his view of life after death.The two issues discussed, why things are they way they are and life after death are topics that have become very important to Williams and allow him to reflect at the simplicity of Buddhism and see whether that is really what he believes. Again, Williams does not state that Buddhist teaching are false or unjust, but his arguments made against Buddhism are more to persuade himself to change over to Catholicism. Williams...

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