Dharma Detective series keeps getting better
The Second Rule of Ten is a delightful example of well-executed spiritual / metaphysical fiction. The narrator doesn’t tell you about how to live in harmony with yourself and your experience; he simply shows you, using his own life as a canvas. There are none of the metaphors and parables that typically slow the story’s pace and hang like overripe fruit from the plot. He simply lives each moment and shows you a better way to manage those moments. Spirituality is not a concept, but a way of life–a practice that anyone could adopt.
Story: Ex–Buddhist monk and ex–LAPD officer turned private eye Tenzing Norbu is back with a new case, a new love, and a whole new set of problems in this fresh installment in The Tenzing Norbu Mystery series.
In The Second Rule of Ten, Norbu investigates the unexplained death of his former client Hollywood mogul Marv Rudolph and searches for the sister, lost during World War II, of wizened Los Angeles philanthropist Julius Rosen. With two cases and an unforeseen family crisis that sends him back to Tibet, Ten finds himself on the outs with his best buddy and former partner, Bill, who is heading the official police investigation into Marv’s death. Cases and crises start to collide. When Ten mistakenly ignores his second rule, he becomes entangled in an unfortunate association with a Los Angeles drug cartel. As he fights to save those he loves, and himself, from the deadly gang, he also comes face to face with his own personal demons. Working through his anger at Bill, doubts about his latest lady love, and a challenging relationship with his father, Ten learns to see the world in a new light—and realizes that in every situation the truth is sometimes buried beneath illusion. (From amazon.com)
Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. Ten puts his Zen principles into practice at every opportunity, such as constantly monitoring his thoughts for “right thinking.” He uses examples such as his own sense of righteous indignation to show how such thinking can lead directly to blind ignorance and away from insight. He talks about mentally “changing channels” in his head when he becomes obsessed with negative thoughts, picturing what he wants to happen rather than what he fears might happen. He reminds himself that “Maybe, just maybe, everything was pretty fine just the way it was.” He practices feeling an emotion such as sadness and experiencing it without attaching any “mind story.”
One of my favorite examples of how he expresses his spirituality is when, after a small victory, he allows himself the precious time to sit and absorb the emotion, to experience and understand what he is feeling: Gratitude. Hope. Expansiveness. How often do we afford ourselves the same simple pleasure?
My take: The Dharma Detective series is one of the best examples I’ve found of great spiritual/metaphysical fiction because the narrator does not preach. The monk/detective leads by example, showing readers how he handles difficult emotions and events using his Buddhist training. The novel offers a simple way to learn about and internalize Eastern spirituality, marinating you in its gentle instruction for several hours as you devour its engrossing mystery.
This second book is much deeper than The First Rule of Ten, delving into complex emotions such as the true nature of friendship and a father-son relationship gone wrong. I am truly looking forward to watching this series develop as its authors hone their craft and as Ten masters his spiritual and emotional challenges.
The Second Rule Of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery (Dharma Detective), by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
Hay House Visions, 2013
Paperback, 340 pages
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