The author was my professor at Johns Hopkins University. Before teaching, he served both as a Catholic missionary and a foreign diplomat. But his career is an understatement to his presence: he is a field of purified natural expression, for which the world seems to conspire around - it is always a pleasure to merely walk beside him. (The experience is difficult to describe, but I hope is clear to anyone who has spent some time with a saint.)
He is “Truth” in action. Like a modern Socrates, I have never known him to condescend to lofty words, leading instead by silent example, apparently unawares; never squeamish, adapting yet to the exigencies of circumstance. I daresay he is the only man I know who speaks broadly but to the point on any given subject, a lone voice of insight against the tides of popular discourse, that proves itself only years after the fact.
His approach to Buddhism must seem impertinent to a traditional Buddhist publisher. However, I would like to make a claim for its timeliness, given three problems that plague spiritual practice today: cultural fundamentalism, scientific skepticism, and superficial spirituality. Even within the sphere of Buddhism, the manifold sects, teachings, superstitions, and inextricability from academic, linguistic, historical, and egotistical trappings have obscured what is essential and true to the earnest practitioner. To adapt to the changing face of its audience, to expound the “science” of the Buddha’s teachings: is this not a solution appropriate to the practicality of true Buddhism?
Of course, the controversy of such a task lies in its inextricability to the authority of its author. Perhaps I am not the right person to convince you of this. I can only say, an acquaintance with a sage is so clear, so precious, and rare, that his is the most valuable association I’ve ever had, and it is to the world’s benefit that others can access it.
I hope it is a benefit that will be considered by your publishing house too.