"A Spiritual Renegade's Guide to the Good Life is so good I wish I had written it myself! Seriously, you really should try to overcome your fear of bliss and start living the way Lama Marut suggests. I recommend this delightful book that should accompany your day to day from now on."
—Robert A. F. "Tenzin" Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, cofounder of Tibet House US, and author of Why The Dalai Lama Matters
"Lama Marut skillfully and eloquently describes how happiness naturally emerges as a reward of authentic spiritual practice. A marvelous guide for those choosing to walk on joy’s path."
—Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation
"While reading this book, thinking about this book, and trying his suggestions I have begun to experience what life is like when one puts 'the horse before the cart.' I am experiencing a lot more time and a lot more love, and I am extremely grateful. It's brilliant."
—Mary McDonnell, Academy Award nominated actress, Dances With Wolves
"If you want advice on how to dig yourself out of a black hole, you need a man with a spade on the inside. Lama Marut, formerly Brian K. Smith, is just the bloke. He’s the favorite sports coach you had when you were five: big like a bear (in a reassuring way), direct, fun and with an American accent that curls around his forthright southern charm."
—Lisa Mitchell, "The Buddhist and the Black Hole," THE WEEKLY REVIEW (Melbourne)
“I can think of few teachers of spirituality more capable of offering the profound and rich traditions of Buddhism and the visionary voices of yoga. When you meet Lama Marut you encounter greatness, a place where the heart and mind are one, and the company you keep presents a rare presence that can change your life.”
—Douglas R. Brooks, author and professor of Religion, University of Rochester and Spiritual Voice of Anusara Yoga and Rajanaka Yoga
"Lama Marut’s book is an intelligent, readable primer on how to live a good life. He begins with an exploration of happiness, and then moves into areas that influence happiness, such as forgiveness, not living in the past or dwelling on the future, gratitude, work, materialism. His book is a challenge to 'swim upstream' and be the renegade that does not, for instance, buy into the dominant culture of consumerism, which is designed, he says, to keep you wanting more."
—Rae Padilla Fancoeur, The Herald News
"In down-to-earth, no-nonsense language, Lama Marut, Buddhist monk, university professor, surfer and motorcyclist, tells readers how to incite happiness in life....If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work required to achieve genuine contentment and help others achieve it too, let Marut be your guide."
—Diane Holcomb, New Consciousness Review
"A Spiritual Renegade's Guide is light and lively, also deeply wise and worth delving into. This practice manual will help us all bring Buddhist principles into daily life, here and now, including forgiveness, gratitude, ethical living, and experiencing for yourself the buoyant joy and happiness of spiritual living. I read and savored it."
– Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within
Publisher's Weekly Review:
By no means the first to frame spiritual practice as a form of rebellion, Lama Marut (aka Brian K. Smith) manages a fresh approach based on Asian philosophy, particularly Buddhist principles. An ordained monk trained in the Tibetan tradition and former professor of religious studies, the author argues that happiness is the most important goal in life, but it comes from within, not by depending on external, ephemeral factors such as money and relationships. An important key to happiness is giving to others. Focusing on karma as opposed to the usual Four Noble Truths, Lama Marut applies unusually cogent arguments that individuals can indeed change their relationship to the past and have control over their futures, yet be unable to change the present except for their responses to it. He draws on sources from ancient to modern to illustrate his ideas; he avoids sectarian spirituality as well as New Age clichés. Lama Marut knows how to describe concepts clearly and to make a persuasive case while entertaining his readers. His chapter on forgiveness is a particularly compelling gem of brevity. This provocative, “hip” guide (there’s a motorcycle on the cover) doesn’t weasel out on the importance of living a “morally pure life” to achieve happiness. Agent: Molly Lyons. (June)