Press & Media

The Mystery of 49 Buddhas

How do we know our perceptions are real?

How does a detective determine which clue to chase, and which to ignore?

How can anyone learn the lessons of the Six Realms without breaking out of our normal way of perceiving the world?


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Jim Ringeljim ringel author

I thought of writing 49 Buddhas, my first Buddhist detective novel, after a session of Analytical Meditation. Analytical Meditation asks the meditator to focus on an object—a sound, a thing, or a mantra. Focus on something long enough, and eventually you experience its emptiness. A can of soda pop dissolves into an oddly shaped blur. Silence erupts into a cacophony of tiny sounds. The mantra we recite dissolves into wordless rhythm.

All things are empty of self. That sounds like a contradiction. A Buddhist detective novel, that sounds like a contradiction too. Yet Buddhists and detectives, and everyone really, struggles to experience the world as it exists. Outside the shadow of preconception. That is the contradiction I am exploring in the Lama Rinzen Mysteries. So I and my readers can better understand what it means to be simultaneously both existent and empty of self.
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