SURFING THE HIMALAYAS: A Spiritual Adventure by Frederick Lenz

SURFING THE HIMALAYAS: A Spiritual Adventure

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Controversial guru Lenz (Lifetimes: True Accounts of Reincarnation, not reviewed) uses snowboarding as a metaphor for the path to enlightenment in this slick, how-to guide to Tibetan Buddhism--another hybrid of a novel originally self-published. Giving a fictional presentation to supposedly real experiences, Lenz portrays himself as a spiritually naive, all-American boy who has come to Katmandu simply to find the ultimate snowboarding challenge. One day he literally runs into a mysterious Tantric Buddhist monk, Master Fwap, who, apart from being able to fly and read minds, turns out to be the last surviving member of an esoteric Tibetan order. The Master makes our author his disciple, informing him that he will attain enlightenment at age 29 on account of his having been enlightened in former lives. Fwap then discourses on such topics as the nature of Samadhi, the interplay between free will and karma, and the importance of developing a higher, intuitive mind. Happiness and enlightenment are available within us if only we learn to meditate and to open the Third Eye. Fwap's advice, which often sounds more like Zen than Tantra, makes no reference to the fierce struggles and renunciation that the tradition envisages for those who would attain enlightenment in a single lifetime, nor to the fact that the usual metaphor for this heroic endeavor is the ascent of a mountain. Instead, our snowboarding author is exhorted to ""become the board"" and, having thus learnt the principle of perfect action, to go on and become rich and famous--which in fact Lenz has done. Recent allegations of cult activity and sexual impropriety by Lenz have been reported in Wired magazine and the New York Times. As a result, Warner, the author's original publisher, dropped the book, for which a 100,000-copy first printing had been announced. Students of Buddhism will find nothing new here, while the general reader will be disconcerted by the absence of boundaries between fact and fiction.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: St. Martin's