BLISTERED FEET BLISSFUL MIND
Author: Tim Price
Illustrations: Victor Lunn-Rockliffe
This is a book written by a Buddhist monk, about the experiences of two monks on “Tudong” (that is, an extended walk relying entirely on alms for food, shelter and survival) during a South of England summer.
It portrays life that is lived on the edge of society, by people who never touch money, and who undertake to embody the 2,500 year old teaching of the Buddha in modern England.
Each themed chapter is based on true events and depicts the poignant encounters of the robed travellers as they meet with some extraordinary and ordinary people of England- the “Everyman” of the 21st century. Each persons individual reaction to the monks- whether it be benign, threatening, generous, mean, compassionate, seductive, enchanting, friendly, hostile or indifferent- inevitably contributes to the learning and wisdom of the journeymen.
The stories combine to present a clear picture of Buddhism ‘working’ in 21st century Britain, yet, there is no attempt to convince, convert, or argue for the ‘rightness’ of a belief system.
The author has written the stories as they are remembered, without gloss, editing or deliberate crafting. This lack of sophistication gives his accounts a raw and sometimes startling authenticity of the mendicant way of life: with its dangers, hardships and surprises.
Throughout the book the, sometimes disquieting, often beautiful, illustrations bring life and colour to the author’s accounts.
Blistered Feet Blissful Mind may act as an ideal key-text for teachers and students of Religious Education; each chapter would make a useful theme and/ or accompaniment for an RE lessons, at GCSE through to degree level.
The book would sit well alongside GCSE syllabuses as its exploration of Buddhism, meditation and ‘faith’ is uniquely contextualised by a Buddhist monk, within the contemporary world. It could also be a beneficial learning tool for the student in further/ higher education as it offers great insight, and opportunity for greater in-depth analysis, into Theravada Buddhism’s actions, values and beliefs.
This book should be in every school, college and university library- the living essence of Buddhism has never been explained so clearly in a modern work.
The author currently lives in a Theravadan Buddhist monastery in the UK.