"Silicon Valley Monk" is a memoir of one man's attempt to wake up amid the reality distortion field of Silicon Valley - and his own mind. More
For over 2,000 years, the area of India that is today western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh has served as the destination for devout Buddhist pilgrims from all over Asia. In 2010, James Kempf and his wife Renate undertook a pilgrimage to the Buddhist sacred sites together with 28 other Western pilgrims. Led by the renowned British meditation teacher Stephen Batchelor, the group visited the area where the Buddha walked and taught, an area untouched by the Indian high tech revolution yet rich in cultural treasures. In this frank memoir, Kempf tells the story of that pilgrimage, interwoven with the story of his 40 years of meditation training and his career as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Follow Kempf as he ordains as a Zen priest and negotiates his way through the maze of the Silicon Valley reality distortion field, trying to find wisdom and compassion in the midst of greed, hatred, and confusion, and experiences the benefits and dangers of a hard core meditation practice. The path of pilgrimage and the path of practice unite in a realization that the Buddha’s teaching wasn’t about mysticism and meditation experiences, but rather about a rational, realistic blueprint for reducing suffering.