Monday, January 19, 2009

Saltwater Buddha

All this time I had thought that “I” was doing the thinking, that I was perfectly in control. But just like the sea doesn’t control the waves, my thoughts seemed to move on their own. A Zen meditation book I read in a bookstore instructed, “Simply observe your thoughts like water in a river, like clouds passing in an empty sky.” That sounded nice—but watching my scattered thoughts was more like being an amateur stenographer during a Congressional debate: “Um, excuse me, people, yeah, could you just slow down a lit—Excuse me! Please!

(An extract from the forthcoming book Saltwater Buddha, by Jaimal Yogis)

Jaimal Yogis, the author of the soon-to-be-published book Saltwater Buddha, sent me an electronic copy of the work for me to review. I was very impressed with what I read (which was the whole book). Jaimal has managed to fuse two apparently entirely different interests – Buddhism & surfing – into a wonderful account of his journey of awakening. The book has an engaging narrative that weaves through the author’s adventures rather like a surfer navigating ferocious waves, describing how as an idealistic teenager he ran away to Hawaii, and gradually cultivated skill in both surfing and meditation.

Along with Jaimal’s own life story, he also recites the major events in the life of the Buddha, as well as the essential teachings that have shaped the Buddhdharma over the past two and a half millennia. He manages to do this with a large dollop of panache, making the book a real joy to read, all the while encouraging the reader to want to find out just how it all works out for Jaimal. And how does it all work out? You’ll have to get the book to find out! All in all, Saltwater Buddha comes with a big thumbs-up from me; it is entertaining and thought-provoking, even if you’re a meditating land lubber like me!

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea, by Jaimal Yogis, will be available in May 2009, from Wisdom Publications.

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