Thomas Jefferson: Lessons from a Secret Buddha, A Review

Title: Thomas Jefferson: Lessons from a Secret Buddha
Author:  Suneel Dhand
Format: Paperback or eBook
Publisher: Mindstir Media
Pages: 134
ISBN: 978-0983677123
Buy NowPaperback  Kindle

Stars: 4

About the Book: “A Thomas Jefferson historical fiction mashup book to make you think…..”

Thomas Jefferson. Few in world history could claim such an astonishing array of talents and achievements. A true American legend, he played a pivotal role in the founding of a new nation. But one mysterious facet of his life has remained secret up till now, only recently uncovered from the archives thanks to a trusted friend. Timeless life and well-being lessons to treasure. An amazing story that intertwines the best of ancient Eastern philosophy with the spirit of the American Revolution….

The Review:   for FreeBOOKSY

I received a copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

I will admit that I adore history that focuses on the “how they got there” rather than the more mundane dates and places.  And I think that correspondence is one of the best ways to share that journey than just the dry facts that encompass a CV.  One of the intriguing figures for me has always been Thomas Jefferson: I wanted to try to understand how someone so erudite and learned on so many subjects, so eloquent and advanced for even the ‘well educated’ men of his time could so separate his beliefs to segregate by race, and maintain slaves. Not just maintain, but be one of the premier slave owners in the Virginia colony during his lifetime.

There have been many books about Jefferson, some purely conjecture, others pure fact. None quite attempted to address the questions I had in a book that was enjoyable and informative: until now.

Taken from a series of letters preserved through the years by a group of spiritually enlightened Buddhists; we are taken on a journey of Jefferson’s life that is highlighted in correspondence placed in context of the historical happenings in the burgeoning colonies that would soon comprise the United States of America.  This is a unique and enjoyable perspective on the influence that one man, serving as a mentor of health and spiritual well-being can have on the psyche and behavior of the author of the Declaration of Independence.

While we are well versed now (and think it a reasonably modern practice) on eating healthily and in moderation while exercising regularly: it was not a common practice or knowledge in Europe or the West in the early 18th century. Nor was meditation and finding a center point of calm. But Jefferson was introduced to all of these theories from his teacher and correspondent Buddha Bhai (meaning Learned brother).

Set in a series of vignettes each of which center around a principle or step in the Buddhist tradition, we see Jefferson through his early years: growing from troubled teen to voracious reader and learner, to sloth, to a reluctant if eminently eloquent spokesman for the revolution. We are given insight into his discomfort with a “primary” religious tradition becoming the norm for the new country, and his realization that slavery was inherently amoral.  We are allowed the opportunity to marvel at his curiosity and facility with languages and learning: be impressed with his willingness to embrace science and the scientific method.  This is an opportunity to review what you know about Jefferson, and gain some new insight.

All of the letters are shared within context of the day: we are told what is happening in the colonies, where Jefferson is in his studies, what events are surrounding the letter.  This places the words and the events into a rare perspective of witness to all of the information available to the letter’s recipient, at the time they opened the envelope.  And then, we are treated to Jefferson’s reactions: whether from letter or the multitude of ‘specialized’ notebooks he kept updated with near obsessive precision.

The writing is tight and informative, the author is a trained physician who realized early on in practice that “well-being” encompassed more than just physical health, but was often hindered by poor lifestyles of his patients that were solely dietary in nature.  And then he was introduced to a group of sages, or wise men, secluded in the Nepalese Himalayas.  It was they who shared the stories contained within.

If you are open to reading about Jefferson in a very different way than you have yet encountered, and you are open to the enlightenment provided by the Buddha Bhai, you will find this an easy and enjoyable read, one that gives a brief insight into the development of a character.

 

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One thought on “Thomas Jefferson: Lessons from a Secret Buddha, A Review

  1. Read this book and found it a pure delight, Jefferson is a wonderful character to read about, definitely a man of his era ‘The Age of Enlightenment’ and Suneel Dhanda does a wonderful job of imagining the random correspondences and subsequent influence of a Buddhist guru.

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