Now, in his latest book, "Maybe We Need a New Religion", he relates his own personal odyssey, from his beginnings in a small town in the Midwest to filmmaker on the world stage, and his search for meaning along the way. At the heart of the book is the call for a new vision of America, and a new religion to go with it.
"Sometime ago, I read a report of a young ten-or-eleven year old boy, who, after being exposed to continuing newspaper and television reports about the fighting going on all over the Middel East, involving Christians, Musklims and Jews, remarked:
"Maybe we need a new religion."
What is this new religion? He finds it everywhere. It is a vision of a common humanity and of reverence for the sanctity of all of life - not just in theory or dogma, but - finally - in actuality.
He finds this new religion most completely expressed in the Buddhism of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist lay organization with 12,000,000 members now in 192 countries and territories around the globe.
The author finds the philosophy and practical application of the principles of Buddhism to be deeply at one with the spirit of America, past, present and future.
Going back to the early American Renaissance in the mid-nineteenth century, with such great writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman, Hilgendorf finds the spirit of Eastern thought and Buddhism implicit in all of their work.
"Maybe We Need a New Religion" is a no-holds-barred look at the current state of our mainline religions, and a call for a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, and a new religion for the world.
Intertwined with a discussion of many concepts of religion is the decades-long story of the author's own life, his personal transformation, and the transformation especially of the relationship with his wife and his family.
"Maybe We Need a New Religion" is available through bookstores, and in paperback and e-book format from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Scribd, and other online booksellers.
For more information on the author and his books, visit his website at http://www.jameshilgendorf.org or his blog at http://jimhilgendorf.net