Book Review: Becoming Buddha

Author: Robert Sachs
Publisher: Watkins/Sterling Publishing
Book Publication: 2010

In his newest book, author and teacher Robert Sachs (, explains in everyday language the practices and philosophy of Buddhist wisdom that can see us through challenging times.

Sachs tells us that the Buddha is not some distant figure.  Rather, the Buddha is 100% engaged; body, speech, and mind – all instruments of love and compassion 24/7. Buddhism is informed, intelligent, compassionate, and skillfully engaged activism. Its goal is peace, but it does not shy away from confrontation and conflict. Furthermore, the word “Buddha” itself is not as much a name as it is a state of mind. It means to be “awake” and all of the teachings of the Buddha are intended to do just that; to wake us up. Once awakened, we become Buddhas. And that is the purpose and point of his latest book, Becoming Buddha.

Becoming Buddha was first released in 2006 under the title, The Buddha at War. With its success, Sachs was asked by Michael Mann, editor-in-chief of Watkins and Duncan Baird, if he would interview Buddhist masters who followed the principles that he outlines in The Buddha at War and ask them to comment on some of today’s most challenging issues. Inspired by the depth and directness of such teachers as Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, Robert Thurman, and Geshe Michael Roach, Sachs wanted to expound and expand on some of the previous ideas he shared in The Buddha at War, as well as address larger collective issues on how we can build a more awakened society.

With candor, whit, and a willingness to not shy away from controversial perspectives about education, ecology, population, politics, religion, even the way Buddhism is practised in the West, Becoming Buddha makes it clear that we can no longer stay smug, indifferent, or asleep at the wheel of our destiny. We are all Buddhas in training, and if we align ourselves with the intention to wake up, the challenges we face with sickness, poverty, terrorism, wars, and economic and ecological uncertainty can all be met with the wisdom and compassion that are needed in these times.

Be prepared to read a book that is direct, thought provoking, and designed to arouse that very wisdom and compassion needed to change our world.

Becoming Buddha is published by Watkins and will be released through Sterling Publishing nationally on April 6, and available at all bookstores and major book distributors.


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