“Dharma Road…” is easily, hands down, one of the most down to earth books on Zen/ Buddhism I’ve read. Yes, there is a “/” there because although it is obvious Brian is a Zen guy, I don’t think you have to be a follower of the Zen tradition to enjoy this book. He does makes references to other traditions as well, especially when talking about death and reincarnation.
Brian brings us into his world as a cab driver and contrasts that life with his practice. I appreciate his analogy here, I drove a cab for a summer and laughed numerous times while reading “Dharma Road..” We’ve read this kind of book before, even I compared my love of metal with Buddhist practice. But, what I truly loved about “Dharma Road” is just how practical the advice based on the comparisons are.
The chapters titled “Clean-Up Time” and Blue Monday” offer us a glimpse into the life of a simple, practical man who struggles just like the rest of us. In his words, “I’ve read a lot of books about Buddhism. The authors traveled to Nepal at twenty, learned to speak five languages fluently, including ancient Sanskrit, and attained full enlightenment in a Himalayan cave at twenty-three. I didn’t. That’s alright too. I did some other things, lived the way I wanted most of the time. I’ve had some good times and some bad times, like anyone. It’s today that matters. We’re all here right now, and the past is just a sideshow. On these streets, I’m a bodhisattva in a Hawaiian shirt and a ball cap, driving down the Eightfold Freeway in a spotless Yellow Cab, trying to get through these blues without giving into them.”
If there were a book on Buddhism for the “working class heroes” of our time, this would be the one. Like a wood carver whittles away until he gets the result he is looking for, Brian has whittled away a lot of the hub bub in Buddhism and made it functional for anyone and everyone.
Hop in, enjoy the ride, and see where this Yellow Cab can take you on your travels down “Dharma Road.”