September 13, 2010 by Reader's Connection
In addition to being a Monday morning Reader´s Connection post, this is the first post that will go out as part of our new IMCPL Newsletter.
There may be a post in the works about The Tibetan Book of the Dead, but my newsletter posts have to be succinct, so I’m going to look at a shorter, more fast-paced Buddhist text. Buddha on the Backstretch: The Spiritual Wisdom of Driving 200 MPH was written by Arlynda Lee Boyer, who is a fanatical NASCAR fan, an ex-grant-writer for the American Shakespeare Center, and a Buddhist. This woman is toying with my stereotypes.
She gives us a brief introduction to NASCAR, a brief introduction to Buddhism, and spends the rest of the book explaining how the two are intertwined. Dale Earnhardt and other drivers are offered as figures who engage (or engaged) in Buddhist practices such as mindfulness, one-pointed concentration, and awareness of the impermanence of life.
The Buddha wasn’t a god-figure, just a man who attained enlightenment, and Boyer doesn’t think Buddhism should necessarily be seen as competing with other religions. So this may be the book for NASCAR fans who want to appreciate their favorite drivers in a new light–and also for Buddhists who have a secret love for race cars.