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Buddha in Your Backpack opens by telling the life story of Buddha in a style any teen will easily identify with--Buddha as a young man questioned who he was and who he wanted, to become. He rebelled against his parents, rejecting the identity they tried to force upon him, and went off in search of himself and the truth. Then the author explores the difficulties of teen life today by relating the concerns raised with him by real teenagers. Using the teen's own words and stories, he shows how their issues echo those faced by Buddha in the opening section. Next, Buddha in Your Backpack describes typical troubles and dilemmas of teen life, applying Buddhist wisdom. Paying special attention to those things that matter, to teens--school, image, identity, sex, friends--the book shows how adopting a Buddhist perspective and applying Buddha's wisdom is easy and can help teenagers be happier and more positive. The next section delves deeper into Buddha's specific teachings, It explains concepts like mindfulness and the importance of wisdom ane compassion. It offers some Buddhist practices that can tried in private and some strategies to employ in public. Keeping it real, as they say, the next part of the book shows that Buddhism is t an escape from reality. It is an escape to reality and realty isn't always easy It talks about facing problems, both within oneself and with others. Again using the words of teens the author has interviewed, in includes advice and tips from teens already practicing Buddhism. Finally, the book tells how to go further along a Buddhist path, it reviews resources for learning more about Buddhism, including books, magazines and websites, and describes ways to meet other Buddhists and places to get in-person Buddhist guidance.
Franz Metcalf teaches comparative religions at California State University in Los Angeles.