Review: “The Lotus and the Rose”

by ggeurs

This is a review of the book The Lotus and the Rose by Lama Tsomo and Rev. Matthew Fox.

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I approached The Lotus and the Rose knowing a little bit about Rev. Fox and quite a bit about Christianity. I know nothing about pretty much nothing about Buddhism, and less than that about Lama Tsomo. After going through this book, I am not sure whether that is a benefit or a detriment to my comprehension of the material in the book.

The concept for The Lotus and the Rose is pretty straightforward. Friends religious spiritualists Matthew Fox and Lama Tsomo -Christian and Buddhist, respectively- sat down for a series of conversations in different contexts and settings. The transcripts of their dialogues were collected, arranged by theme, and published as one volume. What jumped out about me, what I appreciated about this book, was how each of the two, Fox and Tsomo, overflow with love for their beliefs and for each other. Their mutual respect and friendship as well as their deep expertise appears evident in the words they speak. The topics they cover are vast, from meditation to transcendence, from spirituality to science, there are few stones Tsomo and Fox do not unturn.

Some of what they discuss does get pretty dense, and if the reader knows little to nothing about either Christianity or Buddhism -as is the case with me and the latter- it can be relatively easy for the eyes to glaze over and the reader to zone out. Especially since I was not familiar with the vocabulary of Buddhism, it was hard for me to follow Tsomo at times. Be prepared for that.

Overall, The Lotus and the Rose is a conversation between two people who model how to learn from each other. That is something that our society needs right now, and if there is one bright spot -regardless of the things either Fox or Tsomo says that I disagree with- in this book, I would say it is that. Prepare for information, insight, and things that make you think. If you feel like your brain is starting to check out, pause, and reengage later. This is not one you want to read passively. Read it with a critical eye prepared to question any and everything on the page.

I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for publishing a review of it it. I was not obligated to post a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.

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