A raucous, irreverent look into the Buddhist and Martial Arts worlds
Can we be martial arts practitioners and Buddhists at the same time? Can these practices actually complement each other, in mindfulness? How do we reconcile Buddhist concepts like non-violence with a fighting practice like judo, karate or jiu jitsu? Long-standing martial arts instructor and meditator Jeff Eisenberg addresses these and other questions in his own inimitable style, employing autobiographical anecdotes, along with martial arts fighting strategies, koan and sutra teachings, and Buddhist folk stories. Fighting Buddha outlines why the true test of a martial artist’s skill and of a Buddhist’s application of mindfulness is during a situation that is the least conducive for it--usually not inside the Dojo or Zendo. Challenging the belief that fighting martial arts styles are not conducive to a meditative practice, the book discusses the difference between violence and the use of force as it relates to the Buddha’s teaching of “cause no harm”, exploring the common misunderstanding that meditative moments are exclusive to only select activities. Further topics are the struggles of beginning training and practice, the importance of identifying goals, choosing a teacher and training in support of these goals. And, far from being the often-perceived ending, Jeff concludes that enlightenment and the black belt are really only a beginning.
Jeff Eisenberg is a Grand Master level martial arts and meditation teacher with over 40 years of training and 25 years of teaching experience. He has run his own Dojo for nearly fifteen years and trained thousands of children and adults in the martial arts. He has also worked as a bodyguard, investigator, and director of crisis response in the emergency and psychiatric ward of a major hospital. Author of the bestselling book Fighting Buddha, he lives in Long Branch, New Jersey.
"Jeff Eisenberg has written a down-to-earth, informative investigation of the converging values and practices of martial arts training and the Buddhist path. His insights and reflections are honest and easy to follow, elucidating a wide variety of spiritual insights. You'll enjoy these reflections; they may even point you towards black belt enlightenment."
– Josh Korda, Buddhist writer for Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, and Wisdom Publications
"Mr. Eisenberg has had bad experiences. He’s been led astray by teachers, seen disgusting martial-arts snake oil sold as legitimate self-defense, and watched Buddhist leaders acting badly, practicing the opposite of what they preach. He doesn’t call anyone out by name, but he writes extensively of the misdeeds and charlatanism he’s witnessed over the years."
– Brent R Oliver, The Tattooed Buddha
"Fighting Buddha: A Story of Martial Arts, Buddhism, Kicking Ass and Saving It is Jeff Eisenberg's personal memoir and details his forty year journey in martial arts and meditation training, as well as some 25 years of Buddhist practice. Using autobiographical anecdotes, along with martial art fighting strategies, Buddhist folk stories, and koan and sutra teachings, Eisenberg explores both the benefits and detriments of each practice, as well as how they complement each other as a singular practice. An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented read from beginning to end."