måndag 25 november 2013

Bookreview: The accidental Buddhist


In reading this book, you get the feeling of being a passenger on the Dinty W. Moore journey of Discovery, this trip: Buddhism!
By being allowed to come along the journey we get to experience a variety of sights and shows as we are bussed/driven/ferrried/flown along to see different locations and people in the various paths of the American Buddhist scene.
And what a journey it is. 
Moore learns to sit and count his breaths at a Zen retreat, sets up a Buddhist altar in his home, visits a Tibetan Buddhist community, meets a Jesuit priest who teaches Zen, Meets a woman who runs a business that makes meditation cushions, studies a copy of Mindfulness in Plain English at a Theravada retreat led by its author, and meets His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 
And thats just some of the things we encounter in his travelogue.

The Writing, throughout the book is easy to read, conversational with loads of observations that are humourous, honest, selfrevealing and insightful. 
Add to that that it is an good surfacesurvey of the landscape, and you have yourself a book worth reading.

But as to all chartertravelling theres an downside.
Yes, there is sights, shows and whatnot, but if you are looking for something more look elsewhere.
This is a quiet journey towards insight. 
Perhaps too low-key for eager inquirers as it is a bit shallow at times.
Moore might have a very witty writingsstyle, and i must confess i laughed out loud more than a couple of times, some of the jokes are more of insidejokes.
The depth he goes in to each stop on the journey is sometimes not enough time even to get to the bathroom..
That being said, Moore's journeyjournal is valuable on an entirely different, perhaps unintended, account: as a travelogue detailing the tremendous diversity that is American Buddhism.

In the last chapter, a real nugget, he discusses the landscape of Buddhism and how we and it can coexist and benefit from each other .
He shows us the geography of Buddhism, American style, and discusses it in short bursts, Moorestyle. 
And its this Moorestyle that makes this book a good book. There is numerous books on ”innerjourneys” and the like, but there is only a few good men, and Moore has the rare ability to be both sincere about religion and good-humored about the human condition.
Moore concludes, as i'd like to too, as i'm coming to a close that, concerning God's existence, he's not going to worry. "If there is a God, I should live my life according to principles of kindness, compassion, and awareness, and if there is no God, well then i should live my life according to principles of kindness, compassion and awareness anyway. How wonderfully simple. How Buddhist.”

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