In this delightful memoir, Bhante Walpola Piyananda, a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, shares his often amusing, often poignant experiences of life in America. Whether he's reasoning with a group of confrontational punks on Venice Beach, bridging the gap between a rebellious teenager and her traditional parents, explaining to an errant Buddhist that the concept of "non-attachment" does not justify irresponsibility, or dealing with a nude sunbather at a meditation retreat, no situation—no matter how sticky—manages to affect Bhante's unflappable calm or his phenomenal ability to find the right parable for the moment.
Bhante Walpola Piyananda, who is abbot of a Buddhist meditation center in L.A., has met and counseled a wide range of people—the disenfranchised of society, couples dealing with relationship issues, American Buddhists trying to reconcile their practice with their very Western lifestyles, recent immigrants struggling to assimilate but also maintain their traditional values. His stories reveal the complicated, joyous, painful, baffling, and inspiring aspects of the human condition and the power of true compassion.
"A storyteller gifted with great compassion, wisdom and humor . . . an unusual and charming glimpse into the life of one of those smiling men in saffron robes and his pastoral mission in the heart of a modern Western city."—L.A. Times
"In this pleasant collection of 20 stories about his experiences in the U.S., Bhante weaves narrative, sacred texts and cultural observations into a serviceable whole cloth. . . . They all have a wonderful, if sometimes bittersweet, flavor in this East-meets-West compilation."—Publishers Weekly
"Serene and friendly, Bhante Piyananda invites confidences, and he recounts many of these conversations with great delicacy, warmth, and purpose."— Booklist
"These charming stories embody the wise heart of a Buddhist elder. In a practical and warm way, Bhante inspires us to walk our talk as Buddhists in this world."—Jack Kornfield