Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Fascinating and riveting stuff
on 13 July 2009
I'm not entirely sure how I came across this book; to emulate Jaimal's use of analagies, my memory on the subject is like the many waves of the sprawling ocean, rising and falling with no clear definite beginning. But I'm pretty sure Jaimal Yogis (the author of this wonderful book) added me on Facebook, probably through the many Buddhist-related facebook groups I am a member of (and yet fail to contribute to...). I had no idea who he was. I went on his profile, curious as to who this strange, Hawaiian-looking guy with long curly hair was. Turned out he was a journalist who had just written a book called Saltwater Buddha. Now, I am no surfer; I live in Surrey, which is not exactly surfing territory (the lack of a coast line probably contributing towards that fact). I've never surfed in my life. But I am a Buddhist (well, I say that, I'm really just extremely interested in Buddhism and try to follow its key tenets. In fact, I'm probably a lot like Jaimal was at my age in terms of my spirituality-intrigued, excited, but not too keen on sticking to one thing for longer than a few months!).
To cut a long, pointless story short, I eventually bought Jaimal's book (it was, and is right now, my summer holidays, and I had completely exhausted every single book, film and video game in my house. I needed something new and different) and I am glad I did. It's a very small book, split into absolutely tiny sections which each act as an individual pearl of wisdom. However, these often self-contained reasonings on the relationship between Zen and Surfing, or on turbulent or important times in Jaimal's life all come together to form a fascinating coming-of-age story about a young guy who didn't know who he was, what he wanted to do, or what he believed in. What he did know is that he was not going to spend his life in the neverending cycle of suffering that is ordinary, suburban living. (Of course, I think he eventually realised that there is only one escape from that cycle of suffering, and running away to Hawaii certainly isn't it!).
It's an easy-to-read book; it's written in a very conversational way, as if Jaimal himself were sitting there chatting to you about his life. It's constantly funny and, at times, absolutely laugh-out-loud hilarious. It oozes with unbelievable passion for both meditation and surfing and, by the end of the book, I got the impression that if I ever had the chance to meet Jaimal, he would be a lovely guy. He's done the sorts of things in his life that many of us have dreamt of doing, but he had the chutzpah to actually go ahead and do it-he followed his dreams, regardless of the consequences.
If I can level any criticism at this book, it would be that I wanted it to be a bit longer. Although I understand that that isn't the point of this book, I felt that it sometimes skimped on the more minor details which, personally, I relish in. But then, I'm used to reading absolute epics; if you are someone who doesn't read much, this book will be perfect. I also felt like, because I didn't surf, some of the descriptions of surfing went a bit over my head. I think if you are a surfer, you will enjoy this book even more than I did (and I absolutely loved it!)
This book is an excellent introduction to Zen and its relationship with surfing, and also how to apply some Buddhist principles to your everyday life. It's also a wonderful coming-of-age story and a compelling read. Thoroughly recommended!