Lawrence King interviews Paul and reviews Walking the Tiger's Path. Read the review below:
Walking the Tiger’s Path: A Soldier’s Spiritual Journey in Iraq puts you on the ground with National Guardsman Paul M. Kendel as he faces roadside bombs, ambush, and potential suicide bombers while patrolling the “Triangle of Death” outside Baghdad in 2005. Already familiar with the Middle East through travel and study, he’s acutely aware of the local people and culture around him—in a way that many American soldiers are not. As his friends start dying and the other soldiers grow embittered toward the Iraqis, he struggles to maintain his humanity and sense of compassion with his finger on the trigger.
Impulsively sending an email to the Shambhala Buddhist community, he makes a connection with an instructor, Margot Neuman, and they begin a correspondence that provides him with advice and spiritual teachings. Literally Sgt. Kendel discovers and contemplates spiritual teachings with a gun in his hands, as he makes his way through the blood-soaked, cratered landscape of a war zone. When he returns to America, he finds that his “ordinary” life is not immune to death and suffering either, affirming the principles he’s been learning and the need for compassion. In the end, he comes to a heartening place of peace and clarity.
An unusual story, Walking the Tiger’s Path combines a compelling, quick-reading, gritty military narrative with a voyage of spiritual discovery centered on principles of eastern religion. There are few, if any, stories like it in modern Buddhist literature. At the same time, it fits into the realm of classic war memoir, replete with the details of battle and the modern soldier’s life, told in a voice by turns humane, humorous, sarcastic, and thoughtful. The most natural audiences for his book, therefore, would be anyone interested in spirituality and eastern religion, as well as those interested in war stories and American military history in Iraq.
Sgt. Kendel spent three years in the Army and twenty in the National Guard. He has two master’s degrees, in anthropology and in middle-eastern history, and currently teaches high school in Jacksonville, Florida.
Listen to Paul's interview with Lawrence King on his Talk Show at Artist First Radio Network here.
Paul M. Kendel Interview: Walking the Tiger’s Path:
A Soldier’s Spiritual Journey in Iraq
KGNU's Hemispheres w/ host Joe Richey
While serving in Iraq with the Georgia National Guard, a fill-unit between the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division, Staff Sergeant Paul M. Kendel became a student of the Shambhala Teachings, presumed to have been handed down from an ancient Himalayan kingdom.
His correspondence with Buddhist teachers and Shambhala practitioners in Boulder, Colorado, proved as transformative as formative. The letters and his account of his Iraq experience have resulted in both a unique war story and spiritual memoir. Walking the Tiger’s Path: A Soldier’s Spiritual Journey in Iraq will be released in September 2011, from Tendril Press.
In February 2009 Paul shared his experience in Iraq with the Shambhala Times. Read Paul's interview with Paul Allen in the Shambhala Times Community News here.
And listen to Paul's Colorado Public Radio interview 'Finding Peace in a War Zone' with Veterans Peace of Mind Project founder Margot Neuman here.