(Reprinted with permission from Publisher's Weekly.)
In The Accidental Buddhist, Dinty W. Moore (The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes: The Naked Truth About Internet Culture) offers a lighthearted account of how, in 1995, he set out to find out why Buddhism seemed to be taking America by storm. Along the way, he becomes a practicing Buddhist. With good humor and a penchant for not taking life too seriously, Moore travels to a variety of locations in the U.S. where Buddhism has thrived and become a part of the culture. In a chapter titled “Buddha 101: Stumbling Up Monkey Mind Mountain,” Moore describes his weekend at a Zen monastery in upstate New York where he and other participants learn the basic lessons of mindfulness and sitting meditation. Other chapters find Moore discovering key principles of Buddhism, such as the struggle to give up attachment to material things (“Why Do Tibetan Buddhists Have Such Trouble with Their Vacuum Cleaners?: They Lack Attachments”) and zazen, or sitting meditation (“Eat Your Rice, Wash Your Bowl, and Just Sit: Studying with the Seven-Year-Old Master”). In a final chapter, Moore remarks that his Buddhism, even though he calls himself a “fairly lousy Buddhist,” has made him aware that he should “live my life according to the principles of kindness, compassion, and awareness.” Moore’s hilarious and sometimes irreverent look at Buddhism is a perfect primer for the budding Buddhist.
This unsigned review first appeared in Publisher’s Weekly. Reprinted with permission.