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Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea Paperback – May 1, 2009


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Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea + Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave + West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861715357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861715350
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A journalist, photographer, surfer and Zen Master, Yogis began the life of a roving seeker his junior year of high school, when he ran away from his Sacramento, Calif. home to learn how to surf in Hawaii. His subsequent travels include a handful of prime surfing spots, but Yogis's more arresting journey is spiritual, taking him to monasteries in France and Berkley, Calif., and deep into the living tradition of Zen Buddhism. Captured here in short chapters and wonderful, visual prose, Yogis's coming-of-age odyssey also takes readers into the culture of indigenous Hawaiians, who believe the gods were surfers. Yogis's long-time surfing mentor Rom provides insight into the science of surfing, ocean swells, the bathymetry of the continental shelf, deep water canyons and sea mounts. Even land lovers will find Yogis's lessons resonant and entertaining, but surfers will find this a quick, surprisingly deep tribute to the quest for surf and serenity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Jaimal's story is, in part, an adventure story in which the sea is a powerful antagonist, at once the siren and the ogre, irresistible and terrifying in its sheer, monstrous power. For this author, it's a voracious and demanding lover, and he is skilled at summoning its ever-changing presence." (The Huffington Post)

"A journalist, photographer, and surfer, Yogis began the life of a roving seeker his junior year of high school, when he ran away from his Sacramento, Calif. home to learn how to surf in Hawaii. His subsequent travels include a handful of prime surfing spots, but Yogis's more arresting journey is spiritual, taking him to monasteries in France and Berkley, Calif., and deep into the living tradition of Zen Buddhism. Captured here in short chapters and wonderful, visual prose, Yogis's coming-of-age odyssey also takes readers into the culture of indigenous Hawaiians, who believe the gods were surfers. Yogis's long-time surfing mentor Rom provides insight into the science of surfing, ocean swells, the bathymetry of the continental shelf, deep water canyons and sea mounts. Even land lovers will find Yogis's lessons resonant and entertaining, but surfers will find this a quick, surprisingly deep tribute to the quest for surf and serenity." (Publishers Weekly)

More About the Author

Jaimal Yogis is an author, journalist, and outdoors-man. His first book, a coming-of-age memoir called Saltwater Buddha, was praised by The Times of London, The Age, Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, and is currently being made into a film. Jaimal's second book, The Fear Project, is a personal and journalistic investigation into our most primal emotion. To report the story, Jaimal plunged into the water with great white sharks, surfed waves as tall four-story buildings, traveled to some of the world's most cutting edge neuroscience labs, and interviewed some of the top extreme athletes and psychologists in the country.

A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Jaimal's magazine reporting has won awards like the 2005 Leslie Rachel Sanders Award for Social Justice Reporting, a 2007 Maggie Award for "Best Magazine Feature," and two Scripps Howard reporting scholarships. In 2010, The Common Wealth Club voted him "The New Face of San Francisco Media" for his popular writing in San Francisco Magazine. His stories have also been published in ESPN Magazine, AFAR, Runner's World, The Surfers Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and many others. He has been a guest-lecturer at UC Berkeley, Columbia University, and San Francisco State.

Jaimal lives near San Francisco's Ocean Beach with his wife Amy and son Kaifas.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book has been a easy, fun and accessible read.
unstoppablemuaythairobot
Saltwater Buddha by Jaimal Yogis is an autobiography of his life's journey, as well as homage to his Buddhist beliefs and his love of surfing.
Lavish Bookshelf
I highly recommend this book for surfers and non-surfers alike.
John E. Henkes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By David on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I started surfing about 3 months ago. That was also around the same time I started seriously looking at Buddhism. It is amazing that I discovered Jamail Yogis's book while going through a vaguely parallel experience.

Coming from this perspective, Saltwater Buddha is an amazing book that blends personal memoir with spiritual insight. It is thoughtful, well-written, and an entertaining read. The last point is worth emphasizing - a spiritual journey may be very interesting to the person going through it, but it will not necessarily resonate with others. Yogis has accomplished the task of translating his inner journey into a narrative that holds the reader's attention and can speak to people from varied spiritual backgrounds.

From a purely descriptive perspective, the book is about a man's intellectual, emotional, and spiritual maturation. Yogis lived a life that many of us dream of. Several times during his life he followed his impulses and went to Hawai'i to pursue his passion for surfing. However, these excursions to Hawai'i were bracketed by emotional growth and learning to take responsibility. As easy as it would be to lose oneself in a tropical paradise, Yogis realized that he needed to balance his passion with the more mundane aspects of life. The book traces his journey back and forth between these twin forces.

At the same time, Yogis is going through significant spiritual growth. Whether it is through private meditation or a stint in a monastery, his spiritual education moved through both formal and informal channels. More significantly, much of his spiritual growth came out of his movement between passion and responsibility. Life is often the greatest spiritual guide. For him, it was surfing that had one of the largest impacts on his journey.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Ross on June 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are a new surfer, read this book.
If you are a master surfer, read this book.
Read it like you were a kid again and like you are discovering all this for the first time.
Give it to your non-surfer friends.
Give it to your buddies who have yet to realize the real gift of surfing despite their pro status on the waves.
Give it to your comrades who could have written it themselves.
Give it to your landlocked nephew in Montana.
Translating the wisdom of water and of Zen in his own life, Jaimal Yogis shares lessons that reach far beyond surfing.
Romantic and real, simple and deep, Saltwater Buddha reminds each of us that living with compassion and zeal each moment
is what makes a meaningful life.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bhavesh K. Patel on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My copy of the book has already had a taste of Saltwater itself... a couple of days ago, some strong island winds blew it into the Caribbean ocean when I put the book down for a second, and I saw it floating away. I was about halfway through the book and was just at the point where the author was wrestling with his fear about the big wave at Third Bay. Rom had already taken a wave.

I tried scooping up the book but couldn't reach it, and every second it just got farther and farther away. As I quickly went through my options I realized if I didn't get the book now, there was a good chance I wouldn't be able to finish the book this week. I'm in Jamaica right now for the week, so I'm guessing it would be hard to get the book through Amazon or Kindle. And my fiancee is already excited about reading the book, too. So I stripped down into my underwear and dove into the ocean to get it. Granted, I wasn't in deep water or anything, but it's not like jumping into a swimming pool.

I swam back with the book, both of us wet and salty. After some hair dryer action and half a day of island sun, the book was almost dried out and the pages didn't stick together. Fortunately, I was able to finish reading the book.

Considering this is the first time I've ever dropped a book into the ocean, I think it's funny and fitting that it happened to be Saltwater Buddha.

I'm not a surfer, and a lot of times philosophy feels like mental masturbation to me. However, I finished this book in two days and plan on reading it again (that's amazing for me). I find it impressive that the author is able to interject thousands of years of philosophy into a humorous, reflective, and honest narrative without being heavy-handed or dogmatic about it.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mags on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
Yes, the author knows how to write. The writing is smooth and very well done. And the author was lucky to have such an interesting childhood.

Otherwise, the whole tale seems shallow. The start of the adventure is when he steals $900 from his mother and takes off for Hawaii. We used to call this type of action "I'm running away from home, pack my lunch," except the author has taken it to another level. I don't know anyone who would steal from their parents like this, and it really gave me a bad feeling about the author.

There are endless quotes from various writers, thinkers and philosophers. OK, we get it. But it all comes across as shallow, and even phoney and self-serving. The SF Bay Area and parts of Southern California were full of these kinds of people at a certain point in time. There's nothing about this book that makes it any different.

There are countless surfers who love life, love the ocean, and love the waves. You rarely hear much from them, or hear much about them. This writer is not one of them.

I was going to give this to my child, but I changed my mind. Shallow self-justification and endless quotes of other people's thinking--almost like name-dropping, really--isn't something I want her to learn.
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