April 01, 2009
I've just started reading Jaimal Yogis's new book, Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea. Yogis recently wrote an article for Tricycle on his life as a young Zen practitioner searching for meaning, and Saltwater Buddha picks up along the same lines.
In reading the first few pages, I was reminded of a piece in The New Yorker last summer about the unemployed surfer/physicist Garrett Lisi, who has attracted considerable attention for his nascent "Theory of Everything," described as the Holy Grail of physics. Of course, his work is highly controversial, and while some well-known physicists hail Lisi as the next Einstein, many more readily dismiss him.
I've never heard the dharma described as a Theory of Everything (Ken Wilber's attempts are something else entirely). But religions do lend themselves to similarly grand claims (think God), and Buddhism has no shortage of followers with admirably high expectations. I'm not in a position to bridge any theoretical ground between Zen and physics, but check out Adam Frank's reflections for more on this. In the meantime, to the beach!