Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Blue Jean Buddha - Praise

Voices of Young Buddhists

“From the Buddhist-born babes of boomers comes this inspiring collection of writings that shows us ‘what the next breath of Buddhism will be.’ It is comforting to realize that the hippie quest toward Eastern wisdom was much more than a fad; these 20- and 30-somethings really get it, in a way that perhaps their parents did not, for they are living it earlier, experiencing it deeper, and questioning more. They write of finding peace and practice in New York City; of taking vows of celibacy while continuing to be a punk rocker. They teach meditation to incarcerated teens or counsel families in hospice. They seek, investigate, question, retreat, sit zazen, or chant as part of their practice—the new American Buddhism. These are wonderful first-hand accounts of how young people are incorporating a Buddhist practice into their lives. There is wisdom here for all ages; I’m impressed with Loundon’s perceptiveness in recognizing this voice.”—NAPRA ReVIEW

“Those who might have been concerned about the ‘graying’ of the Western dharma community can relax. Here are the voices of younger people who are walking the path, bringing their own generational concerns and cultural spin to the Buddha’s teaching. Blue Jean Buddha includes a story about growing up in a Zen center, another about marathon running as a meditation practice, and several tales of encounters with self-judgment and depression. This book is a testimony to the timelessness of the dharma, as well as to the vitality of a new generation that is taking it to heart.”—Inquiring Mind

“A bellwether anthology.”—The New York Review of Books

“Buddhists in twenty-first-century America face many conundrums, and many books about the struggle to fit the dharma into daily life (or daily life into the dharma) are available, but most are by Buddhists in their forties or older. What about the challenges facing practitioners in their twenties? Editor Loundon, a young Buddhist born into a Zen community, wanted to know how her peers were coping, and her quest for men and women from diverse backgrounds willing to share their experiences yielded nearly 30 frank and thoughtful essays. Loundon’s smart, committed, and articulate contributors include activists, health-care workers, students, teachers, monks, and a nun, and they cover the essentials in their tales of striving to reconcile Buddhist practice with the demands of school, work, family, and relationships. As contributors muse on the rewards and challenges of meditation, the great gap between theoretical and active Buddhism, and bending tradition to accommodate contemporary mores regarding sex, drugs, depression, recreation, and material security, they illuminate an evolving spirituality that is enriching American life.”—Booklist

“These young people offer all of something extremely precious. They embody a deep desire to love and are practicing-successfully¡ to bring the dharma to every aspect of life. We need their insight and experience for the tree of Buddhism to grow and take root in the West.”—Thich Nhat Hanh, author of The Miracle of Mindfulness

“A bracingly fresh set of visions of how spiritual life emerges. Blue Jean Buddha shines both as a documentation of the forces that shape spirituality and as a testament to Buddhism as it exists today.”—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“These young voices speak straight from their good hearts and have a mind to awaken us all.”—Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within

“A collection of thoughtful and oftentimes touching personal experiences of youthful bodhisattvas coming from the rich and variegated traditions of Buddhism—Soto Zen and Korean Son, Jodo Shinshu and Nichiren Buddhism, Theravada and Tibetan, fruits of meditative experience in prisons and in marathons. A refreshing and needed addition to the growing literature on American Buddhism.”—Taitetsu Unno, Smith College, author of River of Fire, River of Water

“A fascinating, timely, book. Human and lively, its many voices raise a forest of questions, all the hope and perplexity that the honest search for truth always brings. The world is changing so very quickly, and the Dharma’s form must also change, and no one knows exactly how. In the pages of Blue Jean Buddha you will meet the generation that is going to be in the thick of it.”—Zoketsu Norman Fischer, poet and Zen teacher, former abbot, San Francisco Zen Center, Teacher, Everyday Zen Foundation

With sensitivity and insight, Blue Jean Buddha shares with us the inspiring stories of young Americans who draw wisdom and hope from the compassionate heart of Buddhism.”—Daisaku Ikeda, author, The Way of Youth: Buddhist Common Sense for Handling Life's Questions

“The emerging face of Buddhism is revealed in this thoughtful presentation of the voices of young practitioners. Poignant and provocative, honest and heartfelt, the stories are diverse expressions of our shared longing for a wise and compassionate life.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

“A down to earth collection about Buddhism as practiced by young people in the West. These are stories that resonate, regardless of the spiritual path with which we struggle...At times the essays in Blue Jean Buddha read like impressive spiritual resumes: the paths taken, the teachers found, the journeys made, the time spent gleaning insights. The contributors’ frankness is inviting, as is the sheer power of so many voices celebrating their practice during their teens and twenties, a time in life when many walk the spiritual path alone.”—Shambhala Sun

“This is an idea whose time has come: Loundon gathers essays from 28 young practicing Buddhists, most of whom are 20-somethings. Some of the contributions are quite powerful: Vietnamese-American nun Sister Kristine reflects upon her decision to shave her head and enter monastic life; Amy Darling eloquently discusses what Buddhism and hospice work have taught her about the impermanence of human existence; and Seth Castleman writes about combining Buddhism with the social activism of his Jewish upbringing by teaching meditation to teens in prison. Other writers engage issues pertinent to young readers, such as sexuality, identity formation, education, depression and drugs. A memorable, accomplished anthology.”—Publishers Weekly

Blue Jean Buddha takes an honest and fascinating look at what Buddhism is like from the perspective of our generation. Each author shares their struggle to integrate their spiritual practice with their self-identities, their relationships, and their work-and their stories are not at all what you’re used to hearing.”—Angela Watrous, editor of Bare Your Soul: The Thinking Girls Guide to Enlightenment

Blue Jean Buddha offers fascinating glimpses of Buddhist practice in motion, acculturating and shifting as it takes root and shape in the experiences of the next generation of U.S. Buddhists. In some essays, one can hear the voices of emerging Dharma teachers.”—Turning Wheel: The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism

“Intrigued by the name’s similarity with our magazine's, I curled up in my hotel room and started flipping through the pages. Blue Jean Buddha is filled with captivating essays by Buddhists ranging in age from their late teens to their early 30s. Their stories are all rooted in Buddhist practice, but the topics are eclectic, ranging from life as a Vietnamese Nun to ‘A Dharma Punx Path’ by Noah Levine and ‘The Perfect Buddhist Boyfriend’ by Lillian Guild. I highly recommend this book as an excellent resource for anyone who was raised Buddhist, is currently building a Buddhist practice, or even someone who is just considering her spiritual options.”—Blue Jean Magazine

“Of great importance. Covering all Buddhist traditions, there is plenty within these pages for all to enjoy and learn from. I found these essays to be often poignant and always honesty, speaking as they do of failure as well as success in lifestories that are inextricably entwined with dharma practice. All are eminently readable and concise, and left me wanting to read more. All of the contributors are to be praised for the clarity with which they tell their stories, the wisdom which comes shining through them, and the compassion with which they do it.”—the roof of hell: a website of Shin Buddhism (UK)

Blue Jean Buddha is the perfect book for anyone who's been wondering where all the other young Buddhists are. The book is alive with the voices of youth, and you can’t help but notice that so many of these young authors are truly extraordinary people in their own right. These stories reach into the ways that many young Buddhists transform their day to day rituals into opportunities for practice and reflection. In spite of the competition of school, relationships, work and family, these authors have each managed to cultivate a beautiful and personally meaningful practice.”—Sagara: Newsletter of the Southern California University Buddhist Association