When asked why my main characters in Blue Moon Bench are American born Tibetan Buddhist’s, the answer is because we write what we know. I am an American born Tibetan Buddhist and I was interested in making the idea of that less scary for the average reader who might have been brought up Christian, and is uncertain about the whole idea. And for those who find the idea appealing, I hoped they would enjoy reading how other American Buddhist’s live.
Being a Vajrayana practitioner is such a special thing, I also wanted to show how it can work it’s way into a daily life, and how it’s really not completely different than other beliefs that believe thinking of others and compassion as the practice of truth. Jessica and Alex are simple people who use meditation, mantra and practice as a way to reduce stress, and to turn to something higher when you become fearful or things are out of your control and dangerous.
The story is built around Jessica and Alex’s relationship, how they interact as two people very much in love, and how their day to day living turns to something very uncertain very quickly. Woven within the context of this story is the beauty of the Buddha dharma. I really hesitate to mention prayer, or faith, or religion – because this isn’t a book about religion with a storyline, it’s a book about a story with some religion tucked in.
One thing about the cave at the end (not to much detail here because I don’t want to spoil the story), is that it’s based on a true story. When I first conceived the book, I created a website with the name Blue Moon Bench, a young man contacted me and told me his father was treasure hunter. More about that later, but one of the interesting things this young man shared was the story in the Phoenix Gazette about his father and his adventures did actually say ‘Buddha’ like images were found in this cave in the middle of Arizona! So it was a perfect fit for my story so I wrote it in.
If you’d like to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism and what it’s about, I’d suggest you visit http://www.tibetanbuddhistaltar.org, a website with content written by Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo, a very high tulku (recognized high Lama choosing to take rebirth in a specific place in the world) and my Root Lama. It’s got some really beautiful and profound teachings, and is rooted in Tibetan Buddhism in the Palyul tradition.
I’m not a teacher, nor did I try to even begin to convey that in the book, and that’s why I kept their practice and beliefs very basic and simple – based on the four basic truths of Buddhism, things that I know the Buddha taught. I hope when you finish reading the book, the idea of being a Buddhist will feel more comfortable for those who might find it odd, or not American. And for those who have an interest, don’t stop exploring and asking questions. It can change your life. It did mine.
Eh ma ho!