Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ayya Khema

I finished reading Ayya Khema's autobiography I Give You My Life.

Here's some reviews and summaries.

She led a pretty interesting life, from fleeing Nazi Germany, to living in Glasgow and Singapore. She got married and moved to San Diego. She got divorced and met another man and traveled all over the world. It is only about half way through the book that she discovers Buddhism.

The second half doesn't really resemble a spiritual memoir. It's more like summaries and bullets. She writes like a journalist, and there's very little reflection. She doesn't debunk the German stereo type. She's a sort of Buddhist Albert Ellis, at times.

She has done some good things organizationally and she's obviously a charismatic person to be able to give so many talks, teach so many people. She falls within the Theravadan tradition.

While I won't recommend the book as an autobiography or as a spiritual memoir, I did find it an easy and agreeable read. For those who are interested in the history of Western Buddhism and famous Buddhist women's experience, it helps to flesh out the story of Buddhism in the West.

I've read Being Nobody, Going Nowhere, which I recommend as solid dharma, and I've ordered another book. Supposedly she has over 25 books which are edited from her talks, like so many Buddhists.

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