Jay’s Books

From Christ to Buddha: Reflections on Christianity, Buddhism, and Spirituality

Who was the better teacher, Christ or Buddha?

I had studied Zen Buddhism prior to my crisis of faith, and had been practicing Zen meditation. It was from this background I came to see that, just like Jesus, the Buddha was also just a man and just a teacher. And then on April 11, 2011, I asked the ultimate question, “Who was the better teacher, Christ or Buddha?” There was really no question in my mind – the Buddha was the better teacher. He taught me what to do, not just what to believe. As a result, I converted to Buddhism. But since then, I have become more skeptical of some elements of Buddhism, such as karma and rebirth. I have come to see Spiritual Naturalism as the best option for me.

Paperback – 2017
(220 pages)

Secular Buddhism: An Introduction

Secular Buddhism is not a religion, but a wisdom path centered in practice. It is skeptical of any teachings that are not supported by scientific and psychological evidence.

There is no scientific proof of rebirth. There are rational explanations, but they all rest on unprovable assumptions. Hence, secular Buddhists don’t believe in a literal rebirth after death or the supernatural (such as heavens and hells). It views the Sutras as a mix of tradition and authentic teachings of the Buddha, and should be studied critically.

Secular Buddhism is one way to think about the Buddhist way of life beyond the confines of traditional Buddhist religion. I believe that the Buddha Dharma is evolving and adapting itself to modern secular culture. The new emerging face of the Dharma is secular Buddhism, the fourth vehicle of Buddhism.

Paperback – 2016
(100 pages)

Humanism, God, and the Bible: An Ex-Pastor Examines the Evidence

We should believe what we have good reasons to believe. As Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Well, the unexamined belief is not worth believing either. If we really value the truth, we should want to know whether what we believe is true or not. If we really love the truth, then we will not be afraid to honestly look at the evidence in an objective and unbiased way.

I want to encourage you to question what you believe, examine the evidence, and reach your own conclusion. If after examining the evidence you find it lacking, I encourage you to explore Humanism. There is a non-religious life that is worth living. It is the examined life – a life dedicated to reason, compassion, fairness, equality, and human flourishing. And it is called Humanism.

Philip K. Dick one said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” When Western civilization stopped believing in Zeus, Zeus went away. The same is true of a hundred gods before. Jesus and Jehovah will be no different. As belief in them fades, they will also fade away. I no longer encourage people to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but rather, a personal relationship with reality. Reality will not go away.

Paperback – 2016
(134 pages)

Practical Buddhism: Wisdom for Everyday Life

This book is a collection of over 100 short Dharma talks on a wide range of topics. They were originally broadcast on the 5 Minute Dharma Buddhist Podcast. The podcast consists of short five minute talks that seek to apply practical Buddhist wisdom to everyday life.

Here is what listeners on Stitcher have said:

“The 5 Minute Dharma podcast is simple with topics that are covered succinctly and with a smooth delivery. If you need simple advice, this is great to clear your mind and help put you down the path you know you need to take.”

“This show condenses the best Buddhist thought into brief, but intensely packed 5 minute blocks. Thus, it is an excellent prelude to meditation and to daily practice.”

“I listen to this podcast regularly, and when faced with an issue I go back to listen to the show related to the area of life I am struggling with – be it food, relationships, work. I find that it helps a lot to put things into perspective. I highly recommend it!”

“I really like the concise, direct approach to each podcast message.”

Paperback – 2015
(346 pages)

Jay as Contributed Author

The Routledge Handbook of Religious Naturalism

This is a collection of essays on Religious Naturalism by a number of authors, including Jay N. Forrest. Jay’s essay is on Buddhism and Religious Naturalism. The book is scheduled to be released on May 8, 2018.

Paperback – 2018
(480 pages)


Exploring Spiritual Naturalism, Year 3: An Anthology of Articles from the Spiritual Naturalist Society (Volume 3)

The Spiritual Naturalist Society continues exploration of Spiritual Naturalist thought and practice through its courses, podcast, discussions, growing community, and publications. This anthology of articles comes from Society writers and guest authors – some of the most thoughtful and important contributors to naturalistic religion and spirituality today.

For readers interested in a transformative Spiritual Naturalist practice inspired by traditions around the world, this volume is intended to continue inspiring the path toward a more flourishing life.

Paperback – 2016
(276 pages)