Buddhist Boot Camp Book Review

Buddhist Boot Camp Book Review

buddhist boot camp book

Book Title: Buddhist Boot Camp
Timber Hawkeye
HarperOne (HarperCollins Publishers)
$8.11 at Amazon

Timber Hawkeye is a longtime student of Buddhism who spent a number of years as a monk in a Tibetan Buddhist temple but he found the ritual and devotional aspects of Tibetan Buddhism to be complicated, so the Lama of the temple suggested that he pursue Zen Buddhism.

So he went ahead and left the Tibetan Buddhist temple and joined a Zen monastery instead.  But although he liked the simpler Zen teachings, he still found the ceremonies and rituals to be unnecessary and distracting to the modern spiritual seeker.

Book Summary

This book is composed of a series of short essays on various topics which represent all of the various realizations and lessons learned by experience and recorded in journal entries over the years.  Included are reflections on topics like:

Part 1 Mindfulness
Part 2 Love and Relationships
Part 3 Religion/Spirituality
Part 4 Understanding
Part 5 Success
Part 6 Anger, Insecurities, and Fears
Part 7 Living in Gratitude

Here are a few inspirational quotes from the book that I found to be helpful and profound:

buddhist boot camp book

Image: buddhistbootcamp.com

“All the happiness in the world stems from wanting others to be happy, and all the suffering in the world stems from wanting the self to be happy.” – Shantideva

“Treat every living being, including yourself, with kindness, and the world will immediately be a better place.” – Timber Hawkeye

“The Buddha was not a God. He never claimed to be a God, the son of God, of a messenger of God. He was a man who gained clear perspective of the world through nothing more than human effort.  And if he was able to do it then, we can do it now!” – Timber Hawkeye

“Is Buddhism a religion? That depends on how you define “religion”. There is no “God” theory (in the sense of a creator), and any reference to God is to the divinity within all beings (leaving no sentient beings behind). So if it is a religion, then it’s like no other.” – Timber Hawkeye

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung

My Critique

In this book, the author focuses on how to apply Buddhist teachings in daily life in a way that is accessible and understandable to anyone, even those who are not Buddhist.  He echoes the Dalai Lama’s sentiment when His Holiness said “Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist, instead use it to be a better whatever you already are (e.g. Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc.)”

The core message of the book and of the Buddhist teachings is love and compassion.  This book is not about Buddhism as a religion, but rather is a book about becoming a Buddha in our actions.

This book doesn’t go over the history or more of the academic aspects of Buddhism, so this wouldn’t be that great of a reference for those who are looking for information on that as well.


I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about Buddhism and is interested in applying Buddhist teachings in daily life without needing to become a Buddhist.  The author presents Buddhist teachings in a simple way without talking too much about some of the more technical philosophical aspects of the Buddhist path and boils it down to a simple message of wishing love and kindness toward others, even our enemies.

Thanks for reading my review of the Buddhist Boot Camp book, and feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below.

Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Buddhist Boot Camp Book Review

  1. Riaz Shah says:

    Hey Ian,
    I’m not a Buddhist but I have many friends who are. I love to practice its teaching when i feel lost, under pressure or depressed. Its something I always do to calm myself and keep in control as I know I’m a very short tempered guy.

    It doesn’t matter what religion you are, the teachings can help you and I would definitely recommend the Buddhist Bootcamp to anyone who wants to have better control of their lives. Great review man, do keep it up. Cheers!

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Riaz,

      Thanks for the comment! The teachings are definitely helpful for me as well and they guide me back to the present moment. I definitely agree that you don’t have to be Buddhist to benefit or gain insight from the Dharma.

  2. Roger A Ford says:

    Love it!

    I started college (long before you were born) as a chemistry major (to combat the Russians during the Cold War), but then switched to religion. Buddhism made the largest impact on me.

    So I loved your site! And our review of the book! I bookmarked your site so I’ll be able to find it again.

    Nice banner photo. Very well done.

    Great Summary, and I also liked the inspirational quotes you included (especially the one by Timber Hawkeye).

    Very thorough, yet concise (which is good!) Critique. And the conclusion was great.

    Good writing.

    In short, I liked it!

    I also left a quick comment.


    • Ian H says:

      Thanks for your comment and for all of the feedback! I really appreciate it, and I’m glad you enjoyed my site. 🙂

  3. Roger says:

    Great review!

    I graduated as a religion major, and Buddhism really struck me hard. I am interested in the history of Buddhism, but the practice is even more important. So this book will be a must read for my book stack.

    Thanks for the insightful critique and for bringing this book to my attention!

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Roger,
      Yes, I definitely agree that actions are more important than trying to grasp Buddhism intellectually. It is more important to be compassionate toward others than to simply study compassionate teachings.

  4. Mimi-CU says:

    Great review on the Buddhist Daily Wisdom. As a christian, I don’t know much about Buddhism, and It is great to learn that it is not really a religion but more of
    a way of living that everyone can apply irrespective of religion or culture. Your review is very insightful and leads me to want to know more about the author and his book. Will definitely put this book on my list of possible reads. By the way, I enjoyed visiting your site. Great look and tons of useful information.

    • Ian H says:

      Thanks! This is definitely a book that is good to read on a daily basis. The entries are rather short so you can digest it slowly and reflect on how to apply the teachings to your own life.

  5. Elizabethr15 says:

    It’s a pleasure reading your book review of Buddhist Boot Camp. The photo visual from the book cover is very effective. You use simple, short paragraphs and clearly indicate your main topics by numbering them. Your message is to the point without unnecessary details. I learned the important points of the book without feeling overwhelmed with information. Good job!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *