Blue Jean Buddha: Voices of Young Buddhists

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In an age when the Dalai Lama's image has been used to sell computers, rock stars have used tantra to enhance their image, and for many, Nirvana calls to mind a a favorite band, what does Buddhism mean to twenty-somethings?

Blue Jean Buddha offers real stories about young Buddhists in their own words that affirm and inform the young adult Buddhist experience. This one-of-a-kind book is about the experiences of young people in America-from their late teens to early thirties-who have embraced Buddhism. Thirty-three first-person narratives reflect on a broad range of life-stories, lessons, and livelihood issues, such as growing up in a Zen center, struggling with relationships, caring for the dying, and using marathon running as meditation. Throughout, up-and-coming author Sumi Loundon provides an illuminating context for the tremendous variety of experiences shared in the book.

Blue Jean Buddha was named a finalist in the 2002 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Multicultural Non-Fiction - Young Adult) as well in NAPRA's Nautilus Awards, in the Personal Journey/Memoir/Biography category.
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About the author

Rev. Sumi Loundon Kim is the Buddhist chaplain at Duke University and minister for the Buddhist Families of Durham. She has published two anthologies, Blue Jean Buddha: Voices of Young Buddhists and The Buddha's Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists. Following a master's degree in Buddhist studies and Sanskrit from the Harvard Divinity School, she was the associate director for the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband and two children.

Jack Kornfield co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Feb 8, 2013
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780861718009
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Religious
Literary Collections / Essays
Philosophy / Buddhist
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Deeply involving, instructive, and capable of touching any reader who cares about the search for meaning."—Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America

"In being so frank about his own struggles and fantasies, Greg's personal tale becomes something more universal."—David R. Loy, author of Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution

In 1971, when Greg Shepherd was in his early twenties, he left New Jersey and joined the Koko An Zendo community in Hawaii. What began as a quest for enlightenment became Greg's confrontation with his own inner demons: his need for approval, his distrust of authority, and his ego-driven fixation on achieving the profound spiritual breakthrough of kensho ("the Big K"). Later, in Japan, he struggled with prejudice and cultural rigidity and found his deeper meditations leading to actual panic attacks over fear of losing himself. Ultimately, he broke with Zen and his teachers to pursue a career in music.

This frank memoir traces Greg Shepherd's meandering path from seeker to disillusionment, and, over a decade later, his way back to Zen and inner peace. We experience Zen practice in Japan and Hawaii and meet Zen masters Yamada Koun Roshi and Robert Aitken, the "dean of American Buddhism" (who had once pegged Greg as his successor). And we understand why Zen was so appealing to the American counterculture and how its profound lessons of focus and detachment remain insightful and important.

Gregory Shepherd has studied Zen since the early 1970s in Hawaii and Japan. He is associate professor of music at Kauai Community College.

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