Title: The Best Buddhist Writing 2011
Author: Melvin McLeod
Pub: Shambhala, 2011
Genre: Non Fiction, Religion, Essays, Buddhism
Etc.: via Netgalley
I fancy myself a bit of a collector of religions. Growing up I was exposed to various Christian churches (Adventist, Non Denominational, Baptist, Lutheran), Catholicism, a Jewish temple, and Spirituality. The first few selections are pretty acceptable, so let me explain just a wee bit about the Spirituality. Being a Florida Native, I'm a hop-skip-and-jump away from Cassadaga, which, if you are unaware, is the Spiritual Community of the state. Seriously. Driving into this town every house has signs hanging sharing their specialty (medium, palmist, plain ole psychic). Mom and I would go there a handful of times, and even in my early 20's had attended a few services in their town hall.
At this point in my life, I associate more with Agnosticism. The idea of religion makes sense for me, I can see how Man needs to feel a spiritual support "out there", but the realistic side of me just can't buy into this godly figure, no matter how cool he might be. (Shout out to Jesus, man. No disrespect intended. Seriously.)
BUT if I had to find a religion that met my personal criteria, Buddhism would be just that. As Agnostic, I believe that there is a purpose (although I did go through an existential atheist period) Ultimately, I believe that everything is interconnected. I buy into the idea of karma, but hate how trendy and hippie-ish the term is associated with now. I have even found a Buddhist temple locally that I have attended for mediation.
And that's sorta where this collection of essays comes in. It helps me understand more of what leading a Buddhist lifestyle looks like. I mean, let's face it. I could go to a church this weekend and the pastor or preacher or minister or whomever could illustrate what Christianity looks like in the everyday world. It's DIFFICULT to find that for Buddhism, unless your reading it from some esoteric monk. I wanna no what the regular Joe looks like. And this book did it.
I read it slowly and sporadically. So, unfortunately I cannot go into much detail about specific essays. But I can tell you that it covers everything from marriage to death. And it's all real. This people are people that I could be sitting next to in the local Starbucks. And for that alone, I give a two thumbs up.