Foreword Review — July / Aug 1998
Leaving a successful academic life in the United States for a deeper understanding of life, John Robbins decides to embark on a journey through Asia. His search ends in Tibet, where he spends three years as a Buddhist monk. Sharing the simplicity and wisdom of the doctrine, “It is not the man on the path…it is the path that matters,” Robbins’ insightful story will cause readers to pause and reflect on their own lives.
Never saintly or preaching, Robbins’ ultimate challenge becomes one of survival after he is stricken by hepatitis B. The Tibetan medical community gives freely of its finest care, as is its doctrine, but as his condition worsens, he struggles with the need to return home to his family and friends. Without income or insurance, he wants to at least die among the people he loves most.
From this point on, Strings becomes a roller coaster of suspense that the reader will find difficult to put down. Robbins brilliantly details the incredibly complex, miraculous and intricate world of medicine and the teamwork involved to save his life against all odds. Contrasted to the backdrop of impersonal technology, Robbins fights to preserve his Buddhist beliefs, his own faith in survival and his passion to maintain his identity when all seems hopeless. When he becomes literally a part of the monumentally expensive medical machine, his mind can no longer cope as he feels he has lost his humanity. Robbins’ long struggle and intact survival is a miracle; his unusual journey will both inspire readers and deepen their spirituality. Highly recommended.