SMALL BOAT, VAST OCEAN: My Years in Solitary Buddhist Retreat


Born in the wee hours of the morning, Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Midwife: Butter Lamp Press. Length: 302 pages
Author and book are resting nicely, awaiting welcoming
from friends and the wider community.

Sunrise on three-year retreat, sword of Manjushri
Photo credit: Diane Berger

It’s been a long gestation: first the retreat itself which began in 2011; then a second, shorter retreat which ended in fall of 2016. At that point I began considering bringing a memoir out into the world, and later the work began in earnest. In those six years there were two when I didn’t work on it at all. And now, after concerted effort and with help from friends, ta da! it’s ready for reading.

In the world of book writing, I’ve been told it’s not such a long time, but I know many people have been waiting. So I thank you for your patience. The three-year retreat was truly a group effort, as some friends know firsthand, and so in some ways, this book is a thank you present. I hope very much that you find it worthwhile and engaging, even inspiring.


The book can be purchased in two ways: through Amazon and bookstores. As much as Amazon is convenient, I’m hoping many will opt to request it at local bookstores. To encourage that, there’s a button on my new book website that takes the viewer to the book’s page on Indiebound where local bookstores are listed…which can then be clicked on or the shop phoned up. That’s my sincere plug for bookstores. As far as the life of the book is concerned, it’s difficult to say which will help it more, so it’s up to you.


I hope you will also enjoy the new website, dedicated to the book: It has Endorsements, Excerpts, and Extras. The Extras page has some fun items, including a map and the original art for the book’s cover. Photos from retreat are sprinkled throughout the site. Endorsements come from Ken McLeod, Brian Hodel, and Lodro Rinzler. A review by Jude Rozhon shares that page, which was also published on NW Dharma’s blog.


Word-of-mouth may be the best way to help along the life of this book. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Let your friends or community know about the book. Forwarding the book’s website is one suggestion. Another is social media.
  • After you’ve read the book, post a review on its Amazon page.
  • Also after reading it, you’re welcome to send me a comment which may appear on the book’s website.


My wish for all of us is that our imaginations of what is possible
expand in such a clear picture with such confidence,
that the pathways open up,
and we’re drawn in, without effort,
like water mixing with water

~ written on retreat