16 March 2013
The Accidental Buddhist
By: Dinty W. Moore
I’d never heard of this book before I started this class. I’ve always been interested in the nature and customs of different cultures in other countries. That may be one of the reasons why I took this class. I believe another reason is that I had already taken Western Religion and wanted to learn more. This book didn’t really spark my interest at first but after I got to reading it I seemed to keep going back to it and reading more.
In the book the author Dinty Moore takes a year and begins to ponder the shift to Buddhism. He does this along with a couple other Americans. Along with some other things that he does he got to a strict Zen Monastery and a loose Theravada Center. Moore also interviews experts and visits a pair of struggling cushion makers. The author gets the extreme honor and pleasure of being able to ask the Dalai Lama a question when he attends a talk at Indiana University. This inspires a little of his own quest for meaning after the God from his childhood left him for the most part but also left a sense of suffering.
His travels proved worth while and often modestly told exploration of one mans mid-life quest for something that was spiritually missing. This book moves more towards the less visible and un-promoted side of how Buddhism is starting to filter into today’s American life. For Moore this fits better than the shaved head, mantra chanting, and incense wreathed thought that most Westerners have associated with Dharma. The author looks for something or someway for him to replace what he lacked from his childhood faith. In the book, he seeks guidance towards confronting and being able to answer the big questions that leave us dissatisfied and wanting more information.
My favorite parts of this book were Chapters 6 “Catholic Boy Zen” and 9 “The Plain-Spoken Theravada.” In Chapter six the author talks to Fr. Robert Jinsen Kennedy...