September 16, 2011

Book: Dharma Road

Wow, what a book. I would probably say this is the best, most simple explanation of Buddhism I have ever come across. Simply amazing. I would recommend it to everyone, but especially non-Buddhists who are just curious. It's simple to read, to understand and so down to earth it makes you laugh.

Order Dharma Road: A Short Cab Ride to Self Discovery by Brian Haycock

Brian Haycock was a cabdriver--who happened to be a Buddhist. During the course of his career as a cabdriver, he learned that each fare provided an opportunity to learn the life lessons of the Buddha.

So, hop in and buckle up; we’ll be making several stops on this trip. We’re off on our journey to self-discovery, passing through the precepts, the four noble truths, taking a hard left to stop and get coffee--where we’ll learn a few breathing techniques to bolster our patience—all the while watching for ambulances and bikers, focusing our attention and awareness so that we can arrive at our destination in good time and in one piece.

Here are stories from everyday life that demonstrate how we can all benefit from a little Buddhist philosophy or practice. With each chapter focusing on a specific topic, readers will learn to coast their way to building a life routine, focusing the mind, calming themselves with breathing exercises, and much much more.

Brian Haycock is a writer and former cab driver residing in Austin, TX. He currently works for a non-profit and secretly misses driving a cab. This is his first book.

"With wry humor and unflinching honesty, Brian Haycock steers the reader through the ups and downs of modern life with the teachings of the Buddha as his road map. An engagingly written, no-frills introduction to Zen, the Dharma and just sitting at the wheel." -Stephen Batchelor, author of Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

"...compassionate and entertaining..." -David Brazier (aka Dharmavidya), author of The Feeling Buddha

"In Dharma Road, Haycock has achieved that rare balance of humor and wisdom. His sense of Buddhism runs deep, born out of his own fascinating experience as a taxi driver. Haycock, the Buddhist cabbie, can take you where you want to go, but more importantly he can take you to the most important landmarks of the dharma. The characters he encounters and the insights he uncovers are well worth the modest fare. His experience demonstrates the Buddhist idea that wisdom doesn't need a temple to live in, but manifests in every sort of reflective life." -Stephen Asma, author of Why I Am A Buddhist

"When I came back from the monastery, I drove a cab for Checker in Boston and can tell you this is the real deal: good taxi and straight dharma." -Jack Kornfield

"If the point of life is the journey, travel it via Dharma Road. It's accessible, amusing and wise, with a few surprising forks along the way." -Arthur Jeon, author of City Dharma and Sex, Love, and Dharma: Finding Love Without Losing Your Way

"This book is wise and witty and direct: very Zen. Also, fun to read." -Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job and That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, Haycock draws on his years as a taxi driver in Austin, Texas for this "introduction to Zen practice for people who live in the real world." In his persona of cab driver he takes the reader into his former world of congested streets, rookie and veteran taxi drivers, and unpredictable passengers, punctuated by moments of grace. Haycock skillfully weaves into this story of 12- to 16-hour shifts some basic tenets of Buddhism-such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the paramitas (perfections)-with an emphasis on the Zen of Korean master Seung Sahn. Most importantly, he shows how Buddhism can inform choices about attitudes and behavior in daily life. This report from the mean streets is told with humor, self-deprecation, and an assured voice; by addressing the reader directly Haycock adds to the immediacy of his spare writing. Besides providing reassurance that monasteries and mountaintops aren't necessary for the practice of Buddhism, Haycock shows how Zen principles can be applied to even gritty and mundane jobs.