The Buddha from Brooklyn: A Tale of Spiritual Seduction Martha Sherrill has written a non-fiction book called  The Buddha From Brooklyn which is an interesting book about Tibetan Buddhism. It’s not a book about Buddhism in the sense that Introduction to Tantra is a book about Buddhism. But it is a true story about religious conversion and some of the dangers for Americans who explore Eastern religious traditions expecting some easy transformation.

It tells the story of a woman named Alyce Zeoli from Brooklyn who plays around in the New Age world, gathers some spiritual seekers around her, and then is told by a that she is a bodhisattva and the reincarnation of a Tibetan saint.

Sherrill met her seven years later when she was running the largest Tibetan Buddhist center in America and started a five-year investigation into the lives and practices of the group. What she found was, as she describes it, an “emotionally rich and troubling saga.”


I discovered Sherrill as a writer when I read that she was married to the writer William Powers whose first book, Hamlet’s BlackBerry, was one that I had read and enjoyed earlier.

It a plus and minus look at computers and mobile devices which do great things for us but also make it harder for us to focus, and perhaps affect our relationships in ways we don’t realize. The book offers one kind of way of thinking, a philosophy for living with screens and connectedness.

The Hamlet connection is in his look to past thinkers (Plato, Shakespeare, Thoreau) to discuss how we might balance digital connectedness with disconnectedness.

I’m assuming that Martha and William talked about their books over dinner or coffee sometimes. Is there some common ground in studying Buddhism with its here and now focus and the kind of always-connected “being in the moment” state of people in this digital age?  Is meditation a way to disconnect?

http://marthasherrill.com
And other books by Sherrill 
The Ruins of California (fiction)
My Last Movie Star: A Novel of Hollywood
Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain

Advertisements