Shopping for Buddhas (Lonely Planet Travel Literature Series)

Shopping for Buddhas (Lonely Planet Travel Literature Series)

by Jeff Greenwald
     
 

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There was a need for non-attachment, to be sure; but also a prerequisite of knife-like resolve. Here in this exotic land, we were compelled to raise the art of shopping to an experience that was, on the other hand, tinged with desperation, like shopping at Macy's during a one-day-only White Sale.

Shopping for Buddhas is Jeff Greenwald's story of his

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Overview

There was a need for non-attachment, to be sure; but also a prerequisite of knife-like resolve. Here in this exotic land, we were compelled to raise the art of shopping to an experience that was, on the other hand, tinged with desperation, like shopping at Macy's during a one-day-only White Sale.

Shopping for Buddhas is Jeff Greenwald's story of his obsessive search for the perfect Buddha statue. In the backstreets of Kathmandu, he discovers more than he bargained for...and his souvenir-hunting turns into an ironic metaphor for the clash between spiritual riches and material greed. Politics, religion and serious shopping collide in Jeff Greenwald's witty, thought-provoking account of his experiences in Nepal.

Jeff Greenwald is the author of the best-selling travelogue The Size of the World.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Waist-high snow, a flying lama and the first escalator in Kathmandu are among the many attractions Greenwald experienced during his stays in Nepal. His often flip tone belies a serious purpose, and his account of shopping for just the right statue of Buddha illuminates various aspects of Nepalese culture. He discusses some of the gods and beliefs of Hinduism and proposes his own list of possible bodhisattvas, whom he describes as people who ``recognize . . . their peculiar function'' in life (including Mother Teresa and John Lennon). He learns of the Nepalese concept of perfect art, seeks the advice of a guru who wears Ray-Bans and faces the maneuverings of shopkeepers who cater to foreign buyers. Nor does Greenwald overlook the darker side of this country, now undergoing political upheavals. Nepal has been the site of documented human rights abuses, its royal family exploits the country's resources and may be central to promoting drug trafficking there, foreign aid to this impoverished country is distributed among a small number of people, and valuable works of art from temples are being smuggled out of the country. Greenwald is a contributing editor to SF Magazine. Author tour. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Greenwald (Mr. Raja's Neighborhood: Letters from Nepal, John Daniel, 1987) returns to Nepal, specifically Kathmandu, in search of the perfect Buddha statue. He details why he chose the Buddha among the panoply of gods in this spiritually infused country, the specifics of what he perceives as the "perfect" Buddha, and his dealings with various shopkeepers as he searches for that elusive statue. When not shopping, he elaborates on daily life in his favorite Hindu kingdom. He discusses human rights abuses, problems of smuggled art, an ineffectual monarchy and bureaucracy, and mundane things like avoiding eggs because they taste like fish (the chickens are fed fish meal). The spiritual topics he touches on include the many Hindu and Buddhist gods and their powers and role in Nepalese life and the various mystics he meets. This personal account of a favorite Hindu kingdom is an excellent choice for public libraries and a good complement to other guide books on Nepal.-David Schau, Kanawha Cty. P.L., Charleston, W.Va.
School Library Journal
YA-- While sounding like a shopping guide for Nepal at the beginning, this book leads readers into some strange, appalling, and extremely uplifting experiences. This true account of Greenwald's various Nepal trips--the last in 1989--shows an outstanding way with words, as the author keeps readers entertained and aghast at a Tibetan flying through the air, Nepalese having a first escalator ascent, the back alleys of Kathmandu, an electrified crow, and the looting of Nepalese treasures. For those wanting a good adventure and a little religion and philosophy, it is an enlightening account. For those needing more multicultural materials, it's a godsend.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780864424716
Publisher:
Lonely Planet Publications
Publication date:
09/28/1996
Series:
Lonely Planet Travel Literature Series
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.48(d)

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