I have not read more than a handful of texts on any religion. Most seemed to focus on a straighforward educational approach to the religion and its history. This is a refreshing departure. Instead of the typical classroom text approach, class is dismissed. Instead we walk with Naynasobhano through the seasons, through nature as this playright describes how he as a Buddhist lives Buddhism. Suddenly he'll pause, admiring a bird in the distance. This triggers a flashback on some tenet of Buddhism or a snippet from Buddha. (It seemed to me at times like one of Grasshopper's flashbacks in the Kung Fu show.) Trite though this may seem, the book really worked for me. I really appreciated visiting the religion directly. Staying in the native's hut as it were. And having the native be as eloquent as this is a certain boon. While this may serve as a good introduction for some, perhaps it would be better to read something like Lama Suryam Dass's "Awakening the Buddha Within" and then this to see how principles are wedded to life.
I have read many Buddhist books, but this one is definately unique. It is hard to put down once you start. The author takes us through forests and hills to point how the Buddhist Dhamma is all around and can be realized if we only put forth the effort. This book really makes me want to further my own understanding of Buddhism on a personal level.
I enjoyed this book very much, and paused often along the way to ponder the many great little insights tucked in among the mindful observations of nature. I must admit that I agree with the Amazon.com review that notes the "occasional... creeping pedantry," but perhaps that's inevitable in a work like this. The writing style and appreciation of the details of nature can sometimes call to mind Thoreau (or perhaps Barry Lopez or Annie Dillard), but at heart this is a didactic book, a presentation of the basic understandings of Buddhism. When those philosophical and practical explanations occasionally become a little more explicit or overt, it can create that "pedantic" effect. All in all, though, this is a very creative and literate presentation of the Buddhist teachings, and certainly gives the reader plenty to contemplate.