The Buddha from Brooklyn by Martha Sherrill

This week, I’ve been reading Martha Sherrill‘s The Buddha from Brooklyn.

I borrowed the hardcover version which does not include the subtitle from the paperback version (cover shown here): A Tale of Spiritual Seduction.

Last night, I finished The Buddha from Brooklyn and the subtitle seems appropriate.

When I picked up the book I was hopeful that this would be an inspirational story of a Jewish-Italian girl from Brooklyn, NY who’d had a rough childhood in Miami, FL, had a tough young-adult life that led to two divorces but was somehow all along practicing Buddhism.

The Buddha from Brooklyn was an interesting book but not in the way I had hoped.

Forty-something year old “Jetsunma” left her third husband for her female personal trainer who became one of her students and later a nun, then became involved with one of her twenty-six year old students who became a monk (the sangha — the community — paid for their honeymoon to Hawaii), and then married one of her twenty-three year old students!

She gave herself the title “Jetsunma” though in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition titles are given to lamas and are usually downplayed and the sangha voted to give her a $100,000 annual salary (half of the temple budget).

Monks and nuns must pay rent at “Jetsunma’s” temple center Kunzang Palyul Chöling (traditionally temples support the monks and nuns not the other way around)!

And that’s not even half of the scandal!

I hate to use this word but it sounds like a cult and not a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.


2 responses to “The Buddha from Brooklyn by Martha Sherrill

  1. Thanks for sharing. May I suggest ‘Soul Wisdom’ by Dr. Zhi Gang Sha (Atria Books, July 2008)? It’s not like any other spiritual book I’ve read. Fascinating teachings and practical techniques to advance on our spiritual journeys. Thanks for listening. Keep up the great work and service!

  2. Thanks! Any other recommended spiritual books?

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