PEOPLES OF THE BUDDHIST WORLD: A CHRISTIAN PRAYER GUIDEWritten by Paul Hattaway Reviewed By David Burnett
In this volume Paul Hattaway has collected together a wealth of information on the major Buddhist peoples in the world. The book contains one-page profiles of 238 societies from the Aiton of north-east India to the Zhaba of western China. Alongside a map for each group there is a statistics box giving information about the population and state of evangelism. The book is well illustrated by coloured pictures and provides an invaluable reference source for Christians to pray for the peoples for the Buddhist world.
One criticism that could be levelled at the book is the rigid use of the people group concept. The reader should not be led to think that all these groups see themselves as unique distinct identities. Their identity often depends upon the particular context. Tibetans see themselves as distinct from the Han Chinese, Amdo distinguish themselves from the Kham Tibetans, and the Amdo recognise they have many smaller dialects and communities. Even so, this is a unique encyclopaedia of Buddhist peoples and the notes to the profiles provide a good basis for further research.
An additional resource is the many articles on key themes. I especially appreciated the eight-page article by Hugh Kemp on ‘The Church in Mongolia Today’, and Bryan Lurry’s article on teaching English to Buddhist monks, and ‘A Tibetan Monk’s Story’ by Nyima Chothar. This book is already essential reading for students on my courses on Buddhist Studies and I hope more Christians will use it as an important tool for prayer.
All Nations Christian College, Ware