Book Review: Saltwater Buddha

I have no idea how I stumbled across this book “Saltwater Buddha” but I’ve been watching it on for a few years and finally decided I needed to find something light and fun to read and this book was perfect.  Jaimal Yogis is living outside of Sacramento, CA and fed up with his teenage life, decides to take a cash advance from his mom’s credit card and head to Hawaii to be close to the ocean.

image from

image from

The book is cleverly written with short chapters that combine Jaimal’s experiences surfing with teaching of Zen Buddhism.  Jaimal’s quest to surf and to ‘find himself’ spiritually takes him from CA to Hawaii, France, Mexico and New York.  I enjoyed Jaimal’s first trip to Maui, where he had decided he would live and how he was trying to transport all of his luggage between Lahaina and Paia. . . . . literally from one side of the island to another.  I never grew up surfing (though I did bodyboard when I could get away from school and work) and really wish that I had taken more time skipping classes while at BYUH to hit the beach more often.  It was captivating to see Jaimal grow as a surfer and how his view of surfing and life in general changed along the way.

photo from Sarah Lee Photography

photo from the talented Sarah Lee Photography – find her on Facebook.

Even if you aren’t a surfer, or are ‘landlocked’ like I currently am, this is a great book to read.  I’m glad I read this book when I did.  I am very impatient and always question things in my life . . . I want to control everything and when I feel any sense of a ‘loss of control,’ it causes me a great amount of stress and anxiety.  One of the main reasons I love this book is not only because of Jaimal’s honesty and growth through the book, but his reminder that sometimes we need to let go.  Here’s are two excerpts that I’ve latched on to:

  • “but when I accept the fact that I can’t mark my place, can’t predict where I’m floating to, it becomes fun in a different way: completely intuitive.”
  • “I’ve learned that I’m not the things I do or don’t do; I’m not surfing or Buddhism or writing.  And yet all those things are.  And I am. . . as an ancient Zen master said, ‘Elements of the Self come and go like clouds without purpose.’  And it all goes more smoothly, I’ve come to see, if you just let those clouds come and go freely – accept yourself, accept this.

Thanks Jaimal for a great read and thoughtful insight!

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