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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Buddhism isn't just for baby boomers anymore. As the spiritual marketplace continues to broaden in North America, Buddhism is emerging as a popular religious alternative among the young. Sumi Loundon, a practicing Buddhist and graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, has gathered a group of Generation X-ers and even younger Generation Y-ers around a virtual campfire to swap stories about what it means to be Buddhist. These are more than just your average tales of pious conversion or blissful living. Loundon's cadres find the relevance of Buddhism atop a sheer cliff face; in the throbbing heart of New York City; strung out on crack; in relationships good and bad; in tragic accidents; and in social activism. Some are monks, others punks; some meditate, others chant; some teach the dharma, others just live it. In this group, Buddhism is neither exotic nor a panacea. For many, it is a feeling of coming home and a proven method of coping while remaining open to the vicissitudes of life. Anyone who has felt the pull of Buddhism--the compelling arguments of its philosophy or the quiet expansiveness of it practices--will quickly identify with the personal experiences in this collection. Like Douglas Coupland's Generation X, Blue Jean Buddha could well become a book that defines and binds a group growing in self-awareness. --Brian Bruya

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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