eal-life snowboarder, Lenz, takes us on what may be the most hilarious spiritual quest since Candide, on a most excellent pilgrimage through the mountains of Nepal.
Although there is every indication that Lenz has written with a straight face, his sequel -- which he dedicates to his dog -- reads for all the world like a '90's parody of Gurdjieff or The Razor's Edge. In an introduction, Lenz makes it clear that he is merely fictionalizing his own experiences as a California jock abroad, and anyone who has hung out in Tibetan youth hostels -- or simply fantasized over a Lonely Planet guidebook -- will recognize the scene. The narrator is a young and not very bright American who comes to the East in search of the perfect mountain to surf and falls under the spell of Master Fwap, a Buddhist monk. Our hero is not particularly given to introspection, but Fwap makes him understand why snowboarding is his destiny and how it will lead him to spiritual completion. Under Fwap's guidance he progresses along the way of purification and enlightenment and improves his snowboarding technique at the same time. He also meets Nadia, a Danish tourist who's spent years mastering Zen Buddhism. Nadia introduces him to Tantric sex, and though he makes good progress under her and Fwap's lead, he eventually rebels: 'While I loved both Master Fwap and Nadia, they just weren't like me. My world was competitive athletics, and theirs was enlightenment.' So he goes home to Santa Monica, but he finds that he just can't take up his old life as a surfer anymore: Too much has changed, there's too much he still doesn't understand. Finally, he decides that he has to go back to Fwap to 'solve the riddle of the missing dimensions.'
Lenz has written a comic masterpiece"
- Kirkus Reviews
February 15, 1997
- Dr. Massimo Introvigne
CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions)
"Snowboarding to Nirvana by Frederick Lenz was very interesting and made you think about life differently. It was an eye opening book."
- Mark Pedersen
# 1 Ranked Professional Windsurfer in Australia
"Last year I visited Tibet, where, despite the oppression of the Tibetans, I sensed the amazing spiritual energy of the dazzling Himalayan mountains. With humour and a lively style of writing, Frederick Lenz conveys the spiritual enlightenment to be found in Tantric Buddhism and helps a Western reader to enter easily into that tradition.
The book is an enjoyable and illuminating read."
- Rev. Marcus Braybrooke
World Congress of Faiths
"I loved the book. It was a quick and easy read, smooth plot, interesting characters, and timeless theme. I have since bought Surfing the Himalayas to check out Dr. Lenz's first novel. Thank you for the opportunity to read this great book."
- Jack Copeland
Ski & Snowboard School Director
Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort
"Having taught skiing, snowboarding and windsurfing professionally for over 20 years, I especially enjoyed learning about, and practicing meditation through Dr. Lenz's inserts in: 'The Handbook for Enlightenment' [in Snowboarding to Nirvana]. Frederick Lenz provides a useful and easy to understand, step-by-step approach to the re-charging effects of meditation. I enjoyed the book so much, I immediately went out and purchased Surfing the Himalayas."
- David R. Precit
Director of Ski and Snowboarding School
PSIA-W Snowboard Examiner Clinician
Squaw Valley Ski School
"I own Lenz's first book and enjoyed the continuation [with Snowboarding to Nirvana]. Lenz's idea of being one with your snowboard is something I express to my students. As Lenz puts it, there is nothing like the feeling of making effortless turns without having to think about what is physically happening. An experience that all should have the chance to fulfill."
- Travis Thelan
PSIA National Snowboard Team
Certified Ski, Snowboard, Telemark Instructor
Sun Valley Ski Resort
"This book [Snowboarding to Nirvana] changed my perspective on life and snowboarding. After reading Surfing the Himalayas I was hooked. It is neat how Frederick ties snowboarding to meditation, life and love. I have never thought too much about meditation and achieving higher awareness until these books. Now I find myself relaxing, breathing and feeling even more spiritual than ever. I truly enjoyed this book and hope I can get a chance to read more of his material. I have passed both books [Snowboarding to Nirvana, Surfing the Himalayas] on for friends to read."
- Scott Noble
"This is one novel with a message that, unlike many others, really works on both levels, as fiction and as fact. That is because it doesn't take itself too seriously, but has enough lightness to let the light through. Snowboarding is a good basic image. The first and most important thing Snowboarding to Nirvana tells us is that the spiritual life is meant to be a joyous, rollicking adventure. If it isn't fun and exciting on a deep level, it isn't the real thing. The second point is that things of the spirit go very well with other adventures, like sports and earthly human love complete with Tantric sex. If that's the way you take your spiritual life, this is the book for you."
- Robert Ellwood
Professor of Religion
University of Southern California
"Frederick Lenz's first book was an imaginative and lucid introduction to the teachings of Buddhism. This second installment proceeds to practice, and with the verve of its predecessor illuminates the Buddhist outlook for uninitiated Westerners. Its interpretation of Tantric spiritual sex is especially well wrought.
Lenz's Snowboarding to Nirvana is reminiscent of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, using a snowboard rather than a motorcycle as a vehicle, and of the Don Juan books in which a master clarifies arcane wisdom for an earnest Western seeker. It is definitely not your average American-goes-to-the-Himalayas-for-enlightenment book."
- Professor Tim Miller
Department of Religious Studies
University of Kansas