Advice on contemplative mysticism from the life of Tenzin Priyadarshi

Linda Heuman in Tricycle:

When the Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi announced to his parents, secular Hindus, that he planned to convert to Buddhism and ordain as a monk, his father convened 76 members of his extended family to discuss the matter. Over several hours his relatives plied him with questions, an ordeal Priyadarshi calls “trial by family” in his memoir, Running Toward Mystery: The Adventure of an Unconventional Life, coauthored by Zara Houshmand. To understand his parents’ severe reaction, it helps to know that at the time of the interrogation Priyadarshi was only 10 years old. He had just run away from boarding school in West Bengal, India, and vanished without a trace. His family had spent two anguished weeks trying to locate him and finally tracked him down at a Japanese Buddhist temple in Bihar, nearly 300 kilometers from the school where he was supposed to be. At that moment, they were not feeling very sympathetic.

The members of Priyadarshi’s clan were familiar with spiritual seekers— this was India—but these were modern, educated, and secular Brahmins. One stated flatly, “Full-time religion is what people do when they have no education, no prospects, no other way to survive.”

More here.