Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea” as Want to Read:
Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,335 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Fed up with teenage life in the suburbs, Jaimal Yogis ran off to Hawaii with little more than a copy of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha and enough cash for a surfboard. His journey is a coming-of-age saga that takes him from communes to monasteries, from the warm Pacific to the icy New York shore. Equal parts spiritual memoir and surfer's tale, this is a chronicle of finding me ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Wisdom Publications (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Saltwater Buddha, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jocelyn Yes. He does mention taking off to do his own thing, explore his own journey, but if you're ok with that, then absolutely give your child the honour…moreYes. He does mention taking off to do his own thing, explore his own journey, but if you're ok with that, then absolutely give your child the honour of reading this book. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Stephen Hadley
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As a longtime surfer, I've often been floating happily atop the ocean, the buzz from my last wave making me feel as though I was in a dreamy, half-state, completely oblivious to life's problems, lost in bliss. That's why Jaimal Yogis' book Saltwater Buddha resonated so much with me. He gets that connection and captures the spirit of surfing and its inevitable ties to complete, unfettered happiness so brilliantly.

While many have written about surfing, this book is the first I've read that really
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best one i've read in a while....totally jealous of the author, wish i was ballsy enough to run off to Hawaii with only $800. Also wish i could be as mellow, but in my defense, its tough to be Zen when you work retail in the south......i can actually feel my IQ dropping, and it hurts....
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Jaimal Yogis's voice is as fluid and inviting as the waves he describes with vividness and eloquence. Saltwater Buddha draws you into itself immediately the way the surf pulls at your heels at the shore. As a collector and connoisseur of metaphors, I was inspired by the transcendent life lessons provided by water, waves, and the sea. It's the most enjoyable book I've read in years. What's more you will learn everything you need to know about Buddhism from reading this accessible work. While livi ...more
Sean Reidy
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Saltwater Buddha and it is probably the most enlightening book I have ever read. Jaimal Yogis provided helpful answers to questions I have recently been struggling with. I am finishing my sophomore year in high school and have been starting to discuss college with my parents. I have been considering not going to college which understandably makes my parents very nervous. Many of my friends and high schoolers around the country are stressing themselves out and wigging out ...more
Erik Blair
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reading "Saltwater Buddha" made me want to explore the world to find myself. In the middle of the book, I found myself wanting to run away and do something I'm passionate about and meet new people in interesting places.

This passage made me think. Deeply.

“Surfing is kind of a good metaphor for the rest of life.
The extremely good stuff - chocolate and great sex and weddings and hilarious jokes - fills a minute portion of an adult lifespan.
The rest of life is the paddling: work, paying bills, f
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: surfers, zen practitioners, people who like good stories
This is a fun and enjoyable book. Yogis is a great storyteller and I liked the parallels he drew between surfing and zen principles/practice. His courageous indomitable spirit is inspiring and the book left me with a ready-for-adventure feeling.

I was hoping the book would have more emotional depth, however. There were places where he talked about his surfing experience as metaphor for his emotional struggle. Although these were very interesting stories, I felt like Yogis was using the stories t
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book. A hands-down favorite. I actually have no idea how to review it, except to say that he says things that I've thought: about the ocean, surfing, and the ebbs and flows of life. It's amazing to read a book in which someone else articulates feelings that I haven't been able to, in such a thoughtful and simple way. Not just a surfing book or a Zen book, but a sweet journey ~ recommended for anyone who has connected with the rhythms of nature, or who longs to.
Trina Brown
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the stories of this writer. I also appreciated how he didn't get bogged down in every detail but gave us the big picture of what he learned. The book could have been 500 more pages, however he got his story and point across in a very easy to read and easy to understand way. Any of you love the ocean and adventure, this is a fun and enlightening read!
Greg Hills
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting memoir of a guy whose teens and twenties focused on buddhism (joining monasteries, etc.) and surfing (repeated snap decisions to drop everything and move to Hawaii). The connection between buddhism and surfing is pretty tight; doesn't seem forced. Waves are a recurring analogy in a lot of buddhist texts & commentaries. I enjoyed it.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Slow start, strong finish here. Good read overall though. How his editor let them publish Rockaway being part of Brooklyn is beyond me, though.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just can't put into words how much I loved this book. I just can't. The only thing I can say is: "Thank you, Jaimal, for being absolutely awesome and inspiring".
David Rooker
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
A fun summer read with a simple inspirational message - just be happy being yourself.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Saltwater Buddha is the memoir of Jaimal Yogis starting with the first time he runs away to learn to surf the Hawaiian waves - at 16! - and onward as he moves towards a career in journalism. For me the book was at its best when Jaimal was describing his experiences learning to surf and the energy and vitality of his sport, "I was suddenly staring at a beautiful emerald green wall of water with white foam, towering above me. It had come from nowhere: a sleeper - a rouge. There was nothing I could ...more
This book changed my life. The most concise, enlightening and easily understood/read book on Zen Buddhism, via my favourite, and most life changing sport, surfing. This is the 2000's Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but better. I carry this book with e every time I travel and refer to it on aq constant basis. Jaimal not only conveys Zen Buddhism in an easy to understand an connect with way, he shares his brave life story that so many of us have dreamed of. He is unapologetic in who he ...more
Cash Cherry
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought that this book was a great story about how Jaimal went from a kid on an island in the Atlantic, to surfing Hawaii and meditating. He became a surfer through his passion for the ocean, after running away to Hawaii as a teenager. His journey, from studying to be a monk, to living a life ruled by surfing in Hawaii, then leaving it all to study in New York, illustrates clearly that it is impossible for him to give up surfing or Zen, in fact, they rule his life. He attempted to become enlig ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book in one day (I had a lot of spare time) so that being said, it was quite easy to read. I enjoyed hearing the authors varied attempts at finding himself and the organic route he has taken in life - easy for me to relate to. I enjoyed his stories from surfing and traveling and how they shaped him as a person. I think relating all of these stories to Buddhism and the art of Zen was a stretch at sometimes and in parts of the book, it felt like I was just reading his journal rather th ...more
Aisling Scott
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick read. This memoir focuses on the links between Buddhism and surfing, but watching the author connect them is great for anyone even those not interested in both subjects. I really enjoyed his journey, it exemplifies the very real struggles from a young person's perspective. The afterword was probably the best part; I love the metaphor of life and the ocean.
Leon Hermanson
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! A book a read a while ago, but I still remember and think about parts of it. It's not just a surf book, you can read it for its attitude to life and the development of the protagonist (the author himself).
Elena Valentina
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sommer-2017
Storia di un giovane americano figlio di hippy che viaggia per il mondo in cerca della pace interiore e la trova nel surf. Lettura noiosa, infarcita di gergo da surfisti e citazioni dalle filosofie orientali.
Len Edgerly
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic memoir by a wonderful new writer.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply one of the best books I have read in ages. (And not just the first time) Thought provoking, and something that every surfer and searcher can relate to.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A breezy read with a light touch about the details and fundamentals of zen and the pleasures of surfing.
Jennifer D Cram
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: forever-books
This book was and stays incredibly important to me. It's gotten me through multiple tough times in my life. I highly recommend it.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This book isn't out until May so customers haven't gotten a chance to review it yet, but here are some of the early reviews.

“Jaimal Yogis has done, in this terrific first book, what every artist
and writer strives to do: he has made something beautiful and
universal from the particulars of his own life. He writes well about
surfing; he writes well about Buddhism; he writes well about what it
feels like to be a person; but mostly, he just writes well. Yogis’s
sentence are clean, clear, and disciplined
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I started surfing about 3 months ago. That was also around the same time I started seriously looking at Buddhism. It is amazing that I discovered Jamail Yogis's book while going through a vaguely parallel experience.

Coming from this perspective, Saltwater Buddha is an amazing book that blends personal memoir with spiritual insight. It is thoughtful, well-written, and an entertaining read. The last point is worth emphasizing - a spiritual journey may be very interesting to the person going throug
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a Kindle Daily Deal at .99c, and since I love memoirs about spirituality and travel (and also water) I was all over this. Easily, without thinking about it too much, this is the best $1 I spent on a book this year.

Saltwater Buddha is Yogis' memoir of his leaving home in high school, and his intention to pick up surfing, and how he evolved as a surfer and a practitioner of Zen meditation at the same time. A few things saved this book from being a navel-gazing ode to privilege and g
Melissa Mullins
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lighthearted. I loved reading this in order to take a break from heavier stuff
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Saltwater Buddha by Jaimal Yogis is an autobiography of his life’s journey, as well as homage to his Buddhist beliefs and his love of surfing. Jaimal Yogis was a troubled teen, with a wandering spirit that was drawn to adventure. Leaving home his junior year of high school, Yogis learned to surf and fend for himself on the shores of Hawaii. Once his parents tracked him down, Yogis’ path lead him physically to several diverse places such as France, Northern California and Long Island. Spiritually ...more
Deborah New
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book, and I don't even surf!

Jaimal Yogis' coming of age story, Saltwater Buddha, captures the essence of that sense of connectedness that many of us feel when we commune with water. Humbly spoken, as if it were a tale being told around a campfire with friends, we accompany Yogis through the highs and lows of following his dream to surf big waves and therein find a more meaningful life. We learn about the ocean, we learn about surfing, and we learn about Buddhism and meditation. Bec
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave
  • West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief
  • In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road
  • Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast Duane, Daniel ( Author ) Apr-10-1997 Paperback
  • Surf Is Where You Find It
  • The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing
  • Surf For Your Life: Mick Fanning
  • All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora
  • Eddie Would Go: The Story of Eddie Aikau, Hawaiian Hero and Pioneer of Big Wave Surfing
  • Butter Tea at Sunrise: A Year in the Bhutan Himalaya
  • Kelly Slater: For the Love
  • East Wind Melts the Ice: A Memoir through the Seasons
  • Ten Points
  • Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After
  • Meeting Mr Kim: Or How I Went to Korea and Learned to Love Kimchi
  • The Battersea Park Road to Paradise
  • Love Always, Petra: A Story of Courage and the Discovery of Life's Hidden Gifts
  • Living Yoga: Creating a Life Practice
Jaimal Yogis is a writer, Buddhist meditation teacher, and outdoorsman with a special love of surfing. His most recent book, All Our Waves Are Water, is a Harper Collins memoir that The BBC called “Best Beach Read of 2017,” Spirituality and Health Magazine called a "Best Book of the Year" and The San Francisco Chronicle called “evocative…articulate, and genuinely funny.” Jaimal is also the author ...more
More about Jaimal Yogis...
“I guess even the prettiest things eventually end up stinking. Everything does. We all will die and rot and decay and be reborn as dirt or flowers or worms, or polar bears who will drown because their ice is all melting, or presidents of war-torn countries, or whales swimming around acidifying seas. And then we will rot and decay again. And so it goes.” 4 likes
“The body moves naturally, automatically, unconsciously, without any personal intervention or awareness. But if we begin to use our faculty of reasoning, our actions become slow and hesitant.” 4 likes
More quotes…