June 24, 2009

More Buddhist Memoirs

The Christian Science Monitor reviews Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk.
For four years, Grozni studied Tibetan texts at the Institute of Buddhist Dialects, which is part of the Dalai Lama’s headquarters. There, he lived in chastity and squalor, memorizing texts, gazing from afar at the “prettiest Tibetan prostitute in town,” and taking classes with Buddhist masters. For a time, renouncing relations with the opposite sex and general participation in the material world seemed worth it.

But slowly, over time, Grozni began to question his decision. He wondered if “dropping out of school, giving up piano after 15 years of practice, ending friendships, destroying my parents’ hopes, changing my name and identity – to be humiliated by some belligerent old monk who hated Westerners and couldn’t talk to people unless he was debating” was really providing him with the spiritual answers he sought.

I don’t think I’ll be reading this memoir. I feel the emergence of a new school of Buddhist practice: quit your job, spend all your money, write a book, hit the circuit.

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