this is just to let you know that six years after starting to write my book on Buddhism and personal development, I have signed a deal with Rider Books, the ‘mind body spirit’ arm of Penguin Random House. I want to thank all of you, my big-hearted readers, for your support, encouragement, comments and questions. To thank you for your generous spirit in reaching out to create a dialogue with me. As I am a completely unknown author (compared to Penguin Random House’s other writers such as The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Russell Brand…) the only way to get a big publisher’s attention was to create a successful blog and Facebook page with thousands of engaged readers.
So I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you so much! It has been my lifelong dream to become an author and I also landed my absolute first choice of publisher because Rider’s other Buddhist writers include Eddy Canfor-Dumas (The Buddha, Geoff and Me) and Richard Causton (The Buddha in Daily Life). So, it’s safe to say that Rider ‘get’ Nichiren Buddhism! The title of my book will be The Buddha in Me, the Buddha in You – handbook for a human revolution and it will be out in the UK in Spring 2016, with other countries to follow.
A Buddhist ‘self-help’ book
From a faith perspective, I started writing the book as my personal answer to the question that Buddhists chant twice a day at the end of our ‘gongyo’ ceremony: “How can I cause living beings to enter the unsurpassed way and quickly attain the body of a Buddha?” I went to sleep every night with that question on my lips, hoping I would wake up with the answer. And one day I did – “why don’t you write the first ever Buddhist self-help book?” A book that people would buy instead of (or as well as) Paul McKenna or Eckhart Tolle or Rhonda Byrne. Though I really love these personal development authors (and indeed use their wisdom when coaching my clients…), I found it increasingly frustrating that they tend to duck the big and difficult questions (like karma…) and also that they said very little about the state of humanity / the world. In the end, through earnest daimoku and inspired also by the writings of Daisaku Ikeda, the ideas I was having became a deafening crescendo of noise. So I guess I started writing this blog to silence a voice in my head.
As for the book itself – it’s probably best described as a popular psychology book for Buddhists and a Buddhist book for people into personal development. It’s a book for anyone who wants to be happier but is not sure where to begin. It’s also a book for people who care about the state of the world but feel powerless to change it. More about the book’s contents here.
Treasures of the heart
For SGI members reading this post, I should say that there have been loads of obstacles getting this far. Writing 84,000 words, believing that other people might want to read it, battling with depression and with some bumpy months in my business life, finding a literary agent (the awesome Susan Feldstein…), persuading a major publisher to take a risk on me. Nearly giving up on it many, many times. On that note, I’m immensely grateful to my fellow Buddhist author, William Woollard, who simply said to me, when I hit a huge ‘writer’s block’ three years ago: “Whatever you do, don’t stop now!”
One final thought, if I may. The biggest benefit of this adventure is not the deal itself, it is that I’ve made so many precious new friends across the world, from Kazakhstan to the USA, from India to the UK, from Singapore and Malaysia to Australia and Canada and beyond. So many of you have shared your thoughts and questions and dreams with me, either privately or on the blog – truly it has been very moving. As Nichiren wrote, ‘the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all.’
Thank you all so much, your support has meant the world to me.
Love and light, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,