My Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and America
by Helen Tworkov
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Pub Date 16 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2024
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Essentials
From one of the central figures in Buddhism's introduction to the West and the founder of Tricycle magazine comes a brilliant memoir of forging one’s own path that Pico Iyer calls "unflinching" and "indispensable."
The daughter of an artist, Helen Tworkov grew up in the heady climate of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism; yet from an early age, she questioned the value of Western cultural norms. Her life was forever changed when she saw the iconic photo of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese monk who, seated in meditation, set himself on fire to protest his government’s crackdown on the Buddhist clergy. Tworkov realized that radically different states of mind truly existed and were worth exploring. At the age of twenty-two, she set off for Japan, then traveled through Cambodia, India, and eventually to Tibetan refugee camps in Nepal.
Set against the arresting cultural backdrop of the sixties and their legacy, this intimate self-portrait depicts Tworkov's search for a true home as she interacts with renowned artists and spiritual luminaries including the Dalai Lama, Pema Chödrön, Joseph Goldstein, Bernie Glassman, Charles Mingus, Elizabeth Murray and Richard Serra.
Interweaving experience, research, and revelation, Helen Tworkov explores the relationship between Buddhist wisdom and American values, presenting a wholly unique look at the developing landscape of Buddhism in the West. Lotus Girl offers insight not only into Tworkov's own search for the truth, but into the ways each of us can better understand and transform ourselves.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
Fascinating biography of the founder of the Tricycle magazine, a leading nonsectarian American Buddhist magazine. Describes her Jewish upbringing,: the Greenwich beat scene, her tripd to Japan. India. Vietnam. Nepal and Paris, involvement with Tibetan and zen Buddhist communitire, and the drinking of Tricycle.
Fascinating account of a woman who has been all over. She experiences so much and the stories shared are worth reading. I didn’t connect to everything the author wrote about but bits and pieces captured my attention and overall I am giving it three stars. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.