Shopping for Buddhas
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Shopping for Buddhas

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  178 ratings  ·  24 reviews
There was a need for non-attachment, to be sure; but also a prerequisite of knife-like resolve. Here in this exotic land, we were compelled to raise the art of shopping to an experience that was, on the other hand, tinged with desperation, like shopping at Macy's during a one-day-only White Sale.

Shopping for Buddhas is Jeff Greenwald's story of his obsessive search for the...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Lonely Planet Publications (first published 1990)
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I bought and read this during a recent trip to Kathmandu (seemed appropriate), but was very disappointed – certainly with author Jeff Greenwald, but also with Lonely Planet for publishing such nonsense. I had hoped that the nominal theme of hunting for a perfect Buddha statue would serve as a vehicle for Greenwald to riff on a variety of religious and cultural themes; and while it did, these riffs were generally immature, poorly-developed and awkwardly written, (“my tongue flopped around in my m...more
This book passed the time while idling in Nepal, but I found it oddly pointless.
Sep 18, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: free
This entire book is worth it for the description of the mall escalator.
A pass-along from my mom, I picked up this book over the weekend & finished it up last night.

Greenwald discusses his travels in Nepal from the 60's to the late 80's, looking not only for enlightenment, but for the perfect Buddha statue. He spends most of his time exploring the marketplaces of Kathmandu, but also visits far flung lamaseries and holy spots. Filtered through the psyche of a neurotic, Jewish-American, the experience is both humorous and at times, magical. Greenwald's Western ar...more
Greenwald's book begins as a spiritual tourist's romp through Nepal, and becomes something more thoughtful. Humorous throughout, and yet, really, quite deep, as Jeff returns again and again to this puzzling, ironic country, seeking the perfect statuette of the Buddha. He does not realize at first that people just like him are virtually robbing the country of its religious artifacts through the small wayside shops of Kathmandu. And then he discovers the truth, that the people of Nepal are being r...more
Lynn Cao
I bought Shopping for Buddhas while I was in Nepal. Thought it was humourous but a bit strange towards the end. The story is principally about the author's spiritual journey as he searches for the perfect Buddha statue in the busy streets of Kathmandu. Wasn't what I was expecting given that it won an award in travel journalism but it was an entertaining read all the same. Jeff Greenwald is an inexcusably slappable douche and I think he knows it.
Dan Tasse
He hung around in Kathmandu for a while. He went shopping for a perfect Buddha statue. He did some things and thought some things. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, this is worth a read. If not, well, it's not. But I enjoyed it.
(I recommend first, "The Size of the World" - if you liked that, this is by the same guy.)
Jan 18, 2009 Alma added it
I am enjoying this travel log describing the search for statues of buddha and other dieties. The book has a lot of lore around hindu gods and goddesses and also current reflection of the touristy and the not so touristy aspects of Nepal - i.e. there are treasures to look at and buy; however, the treasures and relics are being taken from various sites and sold off. It's a double edge sword of preserving history and the desire of the art collector and also the financial rewards that come from sell...more
How amusing! Great for a used book bin find! Though I have just been shopping in Thailand for whatever I could find, it was great fun to be considering all the amulets and plastic statues of the gods. And Buddha can't be dismissed! Enjoyed having having Jeff along with me as I toured the markets of Thailand, cynical and wise cracking, thoughtful and foolish. Not many pages, I took my time reading the book. The spirit of Asia lives large. As another reviewer has stated the scene on the escalator...more
Definitely a fun and humorous book. I love the way how Jeff describes his surroundings, with wit and a cunning feeling for self-ridicule. It's a fast paced, fun book that would appeal to both spiritually minded people and those who simply like travel books, especially Asian-based ones.

Shopping for Buddha's starts with the quest for the perfect Buddha, and ends with a need to give up all material wants in order to get closer to enlightenment.
Solid, entertaining read about the author's experiences living in Nepal and trying to find the perfect Buddha statue. In the intro he describes how this was originally conceived of and performed as a one man show for the stage. It suffers a bit because of that, with sentences that feel like punchlines rather than part of a narrative. But it has great sections about Nepal, religion, and culture.
Dec 13, 2012 Sheila added it
My neighbor passed this on for me to read and I enjoyed the book and read it in a couple of and evenings as it was a fast read, funny at times. Greenwald is a good story teller! This is a good travelog for anyone interested in the culture and the people and politics of Nepal.I enjoyed the way he wove culture and history into his travels.
Andrew Pritchard
In my opinion if you are shopping for Buddhas then you are missing the whole point of Buddhism. There are a few interesting descriptions of Kathmandu, but over all the book and the journey therein is rather pointless.
An easy read about shopping for Buddhas in Kathmandu--I learned much about the art of Buddha shopping and the politics of Napal. I appreciate the authors candid, honest, and often humorous writing style.
Recommended for anyone who wants to buy a buddha from Nepal. I know I did and wish I had read the book before.

Read the full review at OurBookClub
katen moore
not a great writer, but good story teller. fun, fast and interesting -- what did I know about nepal prior to reading this book? nothing. I liked it's personalness... if that's a word.
I love this book. It's quirky, humorous and has some wonderful stories. The image of the monks on the escalator always makes me smile.
Read this book during my trip to Nepal. It was indeed related to Nepal, but the book is really about nothing
Dennis C.
Aug 28, 2007 Dennis C. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who search for Buddhas
I was never really cheering for anyone in this book. I found the author bothersome.
Rereading this interesting spiritual travel book for my trip.
Funny, very real. A must read before going to Nepal
What can I say, I am moving to Bangkok soon.
Irreverent. Funny. Strangely engaging.
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“Far below, making their way through the swinging glass doors, a retinue of Buddhist monks entered the Shopping Center. They approached in single file, heads shaven, their robes flowing behind them like a flood of freshly squeezed Florida orange juice.

The crowd melted, parting like a biblical sea to allow them through. The guard abashedly lowered his nightstick and stepped hastily aside. And the monks, without pause or ceremony, simply mounted the escalator and rode it to the next level.
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