I sent off the final page proofs of my forthcoming book to the publisher earlier this month. I assume that means it’s all said and done, that’s all she wrote, whatever mistakes were made and not caught will just go to press, and I’ll have to live to this thing for the rest of my life (or, buddha willing, I get the chance to write a second edition). In honor of that, here are some reflections on the book.
Things that happened during the writing of the book:
- Ruth Dennison passed away.
- A bunch of Buddhists went to Washington.
- A different bunch of Buddhists crashed a Google conference.
- Shambhala Sun went and changed their name on me.
Things that happened/I discovered/changed after I finished writing (or finished proofing) and couldn’t do a damn thing about:
- Jamba Juice relocated to Texas. They are no longer a “California-based fruit-juice smoothie franchise.”
- The magazine Buddhadharma published a whole goddamn issue devoted to race. Might have changed what I wrote in chapter 10. (Then again, maybe it wouldn’t’ve.)
- New research is being published about Jewish Buddhists. Wish I’d written more about that.
- Roshi Zenkei Blanche Hartman passed away.
Things that I love about this book:
- The line “In short, the government is not concerned with anatman when it passes legislation.”
- The figure titled “Jizo, Budai, and meditating elephant statues for sale at Pier One.”
- I got to talk about Oakland.
Things I considered putting in the index but chickened out:
- cheese, royal with 242
- cats, pictures of 165
- flag, do you have a 1
If I had to sum the book up (my elevator pitch):
It’s about Buddhism in America, “best viewed as a broad set of locally specific traditions with connections to all parts of Asia, an active participant in and recipient of modern global Buddhist discourses expressed in various local contexts.”