Neon Buddhist glows a little

Kinda looks like a mug shot, doesn’t it? Hmm.

Kinda looks like a mug shot, doesn’t it? Hmm.

After a pilgrimage to the monasteries of Japan and the ashrams of India in the ’60s, meditation teacher Michael Attie was surprised to discover that he had inherited his father’s lingerie business, Playmates of Hollywood. Presumably, this explains one of Attie’s nicknames, “the lingerie monk.”

“It is not exactly that monasteries and ashrams are out of date,” he has said, “but for the 21st century, meditation in a lingerie store is the direct route to spiritual realization.” Fair enough.

Attie comes to Tower Books (1600 Broadway) this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. to read from his new book, Many Ways, Middle Way, No Way: A Guide to Meditation, Spiritual Awakening and Fun. (Other telling information: The publisher is called Neon Buddha Press.) He also will play the accordion. Presumably, this explains his other nickname, “the squeeze-box swami.”

Frankly, I’m not sure how it all adds up. The press release said something about “Do-the Dharma Polkas” and “Victory Marches of the Spiritual Warriors.” Is it that after half an hour or so, you just want to get away from the goddamned accordion, and when you finally do, the silence seems transcendentally meditative by comparison? Whatever works, right? Attie himself seems quite clear on what he’s up to, though, and the operating principle evidently has to do with the opening of mind and heart. It doesn’t take a Sanskrit scholar to figure that out.

Anyway, how can you not go check out a guy who’s been written up in the Kyoto Times under the headline “Accordion-Crazed Monk Kicked Out of Zen Monastery”?