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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree

Have you ever been curious about Buddhism?  I have.  Having been a rabid Oprah fan, I too read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, highlighting passages as I went.  A few years ago, a book club i was in read You Are Not Here and Other Works of Buddhist Fiction and we had a great discussion about it.  Then i read the charming novel Breakfast With Buddha, just for fun.  Recently, my friend Emily recommended The Tao of Pooh, so I gave that a whirl.  When I was a kid, my adopted Grandma practiced Shinto, complete with a little shrine on the living room wall, where she would place a perfect tangerine as a New Year offering.  She took us to the Byodo-In Temple at the foot of the Ko'olau Mountains.  We rang the sacred bell, removed our rubber slippers, lit incense and gazed at the giant golden Buddha.  And I wondered what it was all about . . . and I still wonder sometimes.  Although I remember liking You Are Not Here, I possibly like Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree better overall.  Both are collections of short stories, and both offer some excellent reads within.  There is a short story here and there in each of them that I wasn't fond of, but overall, I enjoyed them.  There is something alluring about the idea of Buddhism; the peace of acceptance, the heightened consciousness, the basic tenet of ahimsa (doing no harm), and living simply while allowing others to simply live.   Although I'm not a Buddhist, I am having fun dipping my toes in the awakened waters of Buddhist fiction, and you can too!

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