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Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk

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Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk Cover

ISBN13: 9781594489846
ISBN10: 159448984x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Nikolai Grozni was a music prodigy, a jazz pianist training at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, when suddenly he decided to transform his life. He moved to India to become a Buddhist monk — shaving his head, learning Tibetan, and donning long traditional robes. In the Himalayas — living in a hut a stone's throw from the Dalai Lama's compound — Grozni became entrenched in a sometimes comical, sometimes reverent, always intriguing community comprised of feisty nuns, bossy monks, violent chess players, demanding teachers, and a spectacular friend called Tsar, a fallen monk from Bosnia.

Grozni went to India in search of knowledge, but learns that the people who can teach him the most are not wearing uniforms and following special diets, but rather those who, like him, struggle with doubts and cannot accept an established system of faith. Instead, he journeys with his colorful cast of friends to a new understanding of himself and his place in the world.

Like Anne Lamott or Elizabeth Gilbert, Nikolai Grozni offers the insights of a religious pilgrim from the insidein his case, from a male, Buddhist perspective. Thoughtful, funny, and elegantly written, Turtle Feet details the reality of a world much mythologized in the West and tells a wonderfully bittersweet story of a spiritual journey.

Review:

"This book about Tibetan monkhood certainly fits the description of the 'extreme' memoir. Written by a Bulgarian novelist who was educated in the United States (Brown University) and India (down the street from the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala), this book takes a long time to get good, but it does get there. The most fascinating character is not the narrator, an archetypal youthful apprentice figure. That honor is reserved for a fallen, stateless monk from Bosnia who is a Zorba figure, enticing the narrator not to lusty appreciation of the world's wonders but to what Buddhists call seeing things as they are-enlightenment that is ultimately no big deal. There are passages of beauty about the nature of the mind and existence that few books about Buddhism can rival, because few books about Buddhism are written by authors with creative training. But a good editor should have reined in the author's disproportionate focus on the main character's excesses; it would have helped pacing and made a shorter and more convincing read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The spiritualist memoir becomes a rollicking buddy narrative, as the lusty Slav seduces and brawls his way through mountain villages and evades the Indian secret service. Some of the anecdotes... seem to have sprung from frat-house legend. The descriptions of India’s daily grind, however, are intimate and precise." Amy Finnerty, New York Times

Review:

"This is a rare and wonderful book, unlike anything I've ever read before. Rich in detail and humor, with a quirky and exotic cast of characters, it's an exquisitely written journey through life in a Tibetan monastery and village, where a brilliant young Western monk encounters discipline, freedom, Buddhism and himself." Anne Lamott

Review:

"Turtle Feet is a remarkable book. Yes, it's a spiritual journey filled with beautiful insights — but it's also a funny and gritty tale of dysentery, stoner roommates, cranky monks and flirty nuns. I felt enlightened for having read it." A. J. Jacobs

Review:

"The hyper, loopy yin to Grozni's mellow (or at least attempting to be mellow) yang, Tsar helps turn what could have been a staid memoir into something original and special. Zen and the art of writing a pretty cool book." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

A brilliantly colorful memoir of becoming a monk and a young man's spiritual journey in India.

Nikolai Grozni, a Boston jazz piano prodigy struck by spiritual ennui, suddenly abandoned 15 years of music studies to seek out the Dalai Lama's university in India, where he began his quest for the ultimate truth. Instead of finding answers, Grozni fell in with an unusual cast of characters, and struggled with Buddhist logic and with the many small challenges to life as a monk in a community of Tibetan refugees. Turtle Feet is his bittersweet and funny memoir about the search for higher power, and the discovery of oneself amidst teeming, chaotic, and glorious humanity.

 

About the Author

Nikolai Grozni was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and educated in the United States and India. In previous incarnations, he has been a piano prodigy, jazz musician, Buddhist monk, and, most recently, the author of three novels published in Bulgaria. Grozni holds an MFA from Brown University. Turtle Feet is his first book of nonfiction.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Marilyn Stachenfeld, July 22, 2008 (view all comments by Marilyn Stachenfeld)
In a way this book reminds me of the novel about another young man on a quest, Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge," and, interestingly, the narrator in that novel claims it's not a novel but a true story. Notable in each book is a worldly, brawling man who introduces the seeker to spiritual life and broadens his vision. The Zen aspect of this tale (though far more wordy than any Zen manual) is important in today's world to show that spirituality is not something to be isolated and labeled, but lived.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594489846
Author:
Grozni, Nikolai
Publisher:
Riverhead Trade
Subject:
Spiritual biography
Subject:
Buddhists
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Buddhism - General
Subject:
Grozni, Nikolai
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20090505
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.23x6.13x1.17 in. 1.14 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » Religious
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » General

Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Riverhead Hardcover - English 9781594489846 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This book about Tibetan monkhood certainly fits the description of the 'extreme' memoir. Written by a Bulgarian novelist who was educated in the United States (Brown University) and India (down the street from the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala), this book takes a long time to get good, but it does get there. The most fascinating character is not the narrator, an archetypal youthful apprentice figure. That honor is reserved for a fallen, stateless monk from Bosnia who is a Zorba figure, enticing the narrator not to lusty appreciation of the world's wonders but to what Buddhists call seeing things as they are-enlightenment that is ultimately no big deal. There are passages of beauty about the nature of the mind and existence that few books about Buddhism can rival, because few books about Buddhism are written by authors with creative training. But a good editor should have reined in the author's disproportionate focus on the main character's excesses; it would have helped pacing and made a shorter and more convincing read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The spiritualist memoir becomes a rollicking buddy narrative, as the lusty Slav seduces and brawls his way through mountain villages and evades the Indian secret service. Some of the anecdotes... seem to have sprung from frat-house legend. The descriptions of India’s daily grind, however, are intimate and precise."
"Review" by , "This is a rare and wonderful book, unlike anything I've ever read before. Rich in detail and humor, with a quirky and exotic cast of characters, it's an exquisitely written journey through life in a Tibetan monastery and village, where a brilliant young Western monk encounters discipline, freedom, Buddhism and himself."
"Review" by , "Turtle Feet is a remarkable book. Yes, it's a spiritual journey filled with beautiful insights — but it's also a funny and gritty tale of dysentery, stoner roommates, cranky monks and flirty nuns. I felt enlightened for having read it."
"Review" by , "The hyper, loopy yin to Grozni's mellow (or at least attempting to be mellow) yang, Tsar helps turn what could have been a staid memoir into something original and special. Zen and the art of writing a pretty cool book."
"Synopsis" by ,
A brilliantly colorful memoir of becoming a monk and a young man's spiritual journey in India.

Nikolai Grozni, a Boston jazz piano prodigy struck by spiritual ennui, suddenly abandoned 15 years of music studies to seek out the Dalai Lama's university in India, where he began his quest for the ultimate truth. Instead of finding answers, Grozni fell in with an unusual cast of characters, and struggled with Buddhist logic and with the many small challenges to life as a monk in a community of Tibetan refugees. Turtle Feet is his bittersweet and funny memoir about the search for higher power, and the discovery of oneself amidst teeming, chaotic, and glorious humanity.

 

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