In reassembling the pieces into a post-Green Gulch life, Richmond experienced “an ongoing inner tug-of-war” between the Buddhist values of his childhood and the consumerist culture of mainstream America. “I am not like most Westerners,” he declares at the outset, in what proves to be an understatement. Faced with conflicts—materialism versus nonmaterialism, violence versus nonviolence—Richmond makes fumbling attempts to resolve them via the Middle Way. How, he wonders, does a Buddhist ask a noisy, burly neighbor to turn down his music? How long should he wait for a girlfriend in a coffee shop? The result of his deliberations, we discover, is a low-key life informed by a karmic moral view.
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