A riveting journey from Thelonious to monk and back
“But this is India...Things happen again and again for absolutely no reason,” laments Lodro Chosang (Nikolai Grozni).
Having fled his piano-jazz studies at the Berklee College of Music in
Boston for Dharamsala, India, the author is ordained as a Buddhist monk
and studies at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. This book charts
Turtle Feet careens along like one of the
government busses Lodro and his friends ride between Himalayan frontier
towns. The narrative bounces from minutiae (shopping lists, the
particulars of lighting kerosene stoves) to sermonizing (“It had also
taken me a while to see if there was a truth square enough to support
the sprawling edifice of a particular doctrine...”). Best are the
hilarious and often disturbing romps with Tsar, a lapsed monk who seems
hell-bent on getting Lodro disrobed.
Grozni’s journey and his
eventual “unmaking” is an honest glimpse into Buddhism and the meaning
of everything. He’s no Siddhartha, but Turtle Feet is most enlightening.