A Scientist named Buddha
I always enjoy Bob’s spirited talks on Buddhadharma. This one is at some Deepak Chopra gathering. His TED talk on Buddhism is quite inspiring as well. At any rate, this talk I think would serve as a good introduction to the subject, clarifying how the Buddhist approach to spirituality is very grounded in direct experience (like science) and rather shuns the idea of blind faith.
Buddhism gets lumped in with other religions because from outside looking in it looks more like a religion than it does anything else, (it has monks with robes and rosaries!) and we do have a strong tendency to place things in their proper categories. It may be time to push back a little against this categorization and place Buddhadharma in among the sciences, which as Bob explains, is a much better fit.
I used to think of Alan Watts as the one most skilled in Intro to Buddhism type talks, but Thurman has stepped up to fill that role nicely. Some people will do better receiving this view shifting information much more easily from a Westerner in a suit than a robed fellow with a thick Tibetan accent. There’s a lot of proper suspicion in the West also about the Vajrayana mentoring system which looks to us more like a cult of personality type of situation, which is okay. Skepticism is good. The Buddha Himself prescribed it to guard us against wandering down blind alleys. You should be very wary of anyone who wants to be your guru.
Here’s Bob again speaking at Google on the subject of ethics. There is no reason to be ethical other than it is intrinsically good. He will convince you!