Monday, April 28, 2008

One Chef's Defining Moment with Buddha

The famous chef Eric Ripert describes his "defining moment" of life transformation in this month's issue of Best Life Magazine. Prior to his personal transformation, Ripert described himself as a "mini dictator, throwing things at people and frequently humiliating them."

"I was not happy with my life, and I didn't know why," says Ripert. "I needed something that would trigger a positive change in me."

That trigger came for Ripert in the form of a book, The Rampa Story by T. Lobsang Rampa, which the chef picked up in an airport in Paris as he was about to depart for Washington, D.C. Although the book was not a reference manual for Buddhism, it's Buddhist slant awakened within him a hunger to learn more. Through the Buddhist teachings and practices he has studied in the years since that key moment, Ripert says his life is transformed. "It's been a big evolution, a revolution, actually," reports Ripert. "My friends and family were surprised by the change, and some of my employees were suspicious of my transformation at the very beginning..."

OK, so why am I sharing this? For those Christ Followers out there (and I am one of them), I offer a question that perhaps we all need to consider: How is what Ripert experienced through Buddhism different from the sort of life transformation we often say is the exclusive turf of the Christian journey? If Ripert's transformational experience is genuine (and I have no reason to think it's not), then what exactly is the nature of the transformational experience that we believe only Christ can offer?

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