I’m not a religious person, but because, post-layoff, I’ve found myself feeling utterly lost in the midst of middle age, I decided I’d start exploring meditation and Buddhism.
So I scanned my shelves, and sure enough, Moore’s “The Accidental Buddhist,” had been on my shelves for years, not-yet-read, so its moment had finally arrived. (I had met Moore just a few years after the book’s release, since he taught creative writing at Penn State Altoona, and I was working toward an MFA in fiction at the State College campus.)
Like me, Moore – who’s charmingly witty and honest – was feeling restless and unsatisfied in his 40s, so getting the chance to follow him on his quest to learn about Buddhism was exactly the kind of take-me-by-the-hand book I was looking for. He explores three different types of Buddhism, gives some basic background, visits a retreat in the tradition of each, and chronicles his struggles, failures, and successes within the practice.
In a way, the book is like your best friend going on a quest for you, and then giving you the no-holds-barred low-down over coffee upon his return. I got some good, rudimentary info about Buddhism, including basic terminology, and I also took away ideas for which books to seek out next (in addition to a local zendo or meditation group). A great, accessible primer for those looking to take their first step on the path to Buddhism. (Follow me at goodreads.com/criticaljenn!)