Trying on Robes

Memoirs of an Ex-Monk

Dan Zigmond

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Turtle Feet: The Making And Unmaking Of A Buddist Monk
By Nikolai Grozni
New York: Riverhead Books, 2008
336 pp., $24.95 (cloth)

Trying on Robes Nikolai GrozniTHE ROLE OF monasticism in Buddhist life is a great challenge in the West. To many converts here, the 227 rules for Therevada monks (and 331 rules for nuns) seem rigid and inflexible, exactly the sort of stuffiness they had rejected when embracing Buddhism. To others, shaved heads and funny robes can seem cultish or just plain weird.

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