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New autobiography published detailing Japanese pilgrimage
‘The Hardest Path’ is Matt Jardine’s new book

LONDON — Author Matt Jardine’s journey to publishing the new autobiography, “The Hardest Path: A Journey Outside to Answer the Questions Within” (published by Balboa Press), began with a trip to Japan to walk the Shikoku Pilgrimage – also known as the 88 temple pilgrimage. 
 
The narrative begins in the United Kingdom, but the majority of the action takes place on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. Jardine describes his book as a collection of life-changing lessons learned while walking Japan’s most sacred pilgrimage, which the author shares with a mix of humor, candor and honesty. He asserts that the lessons are relevant for people’s ordinary, day-to-day lives.
 
“Pilgrimage is a much underutilised and misunderstood method of personal development. In today's society it is, arguably, one of the most honest, raw and effective methods of spiritual practice. The world is in no doubt that it needs to ‘grow’ and needs effective ways to do so. This is one such method.”


“The Hardest Path”
By Matt Jardine
Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 140 pages | ISBN 9781504372077
Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 140 pages | ISBN 9781504372060
E-Book | 140 pages | ISBN 9781504372206
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
 
About the Author
Matt Jardine is an author, writer, athlete and teacher. He is the founder of Jardine Karate and works with students to discover their potential through martial arts. Jardine teaches in schools throughout London and at his Surrey venues. He writes for Jiu Jitsu Style magazine, one of Europe’s Brazilian jiujitsu magazines, and is the author of “Mo and Lucy: Choices,” a top-ten rated Personal, Social and Health Education resource for school students. Jardine has practiced meditation and other Eastern arts for over 25 years. He now lives in London with his wife and Jack Russell terrier. Jardine has two adult children. More information can be found at www.thehardestpath.com, his author website, and www.jardinekarate.com



Reviews from Karate ka
 
Goran Powell:
Matt Jardine offers a deep personal insight into Buddhism, Eastern and Western philosophy and life, inspired by his pilgrimage around the 88 temples of Shikoku, Japan.
 
The Hardest Path is a small book that punches well above its weight. It’s not really a travel guide for this famous pilgrimage but rather a series of insights derived from the author’s arduous journey. Matt is a talented writer and a well-read scholar and he delivers snippets of wisdom and astute observation at every turn.
 
As a martial artist and Zen practitioner, I found nothing to disagree with and plenty to admire – not least that a teacher like Matt should have the courage to set out on his own path and discover the lessons and rewards of pilgrimage in his own experience.
 
Highly recommended for anyone interested in how Buddhist philosophy integrates into western life and thinking.
 

Kris Wilder:
The Hardest Path; A Journey Outside to Answer the Questions Within, by Matt Jardine. The trick with such a book as this is, how do you relate some of the most ineffable experiences of life so that others might grasp its tail? Or better yet how does an author inspire a reader to start the first step of their journey on the path. Or better yet, add color to an already existing journey. Matt Jardine weaves adroitly from one level of experience to the next like a bird, on the ground one moment, in a tree the next and then in the sky, all the time never losing the reader as the flight of the journey is grounded and yet lofty at the same time. I enjoy, The Hardest Path; A Journey Outside to Answer the Questions Within, upon the first read, Now The book sits within arm’s reach in my office. I find myself opening this book and appreciating it for just a moment resulting in a nod, and an “Ah ha.” Then gently placing it back for the next moment. You will read this book, and enjoy it, and then you will do the same things I have done, reach for it again and again.
 
Gary Chamberlain:
An excellent book on the authors personal journey. Various parts reminded me of my own time in Japan, although mine was a purely physical quest. Matts writing style is very engaging. A real pleasure to read. Well done!
 
Joel Reeves:
The Hardest Path is a charming little book that strikes a chord between The Little Prince and Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist. However, unlike those parable works of fiction, the author takes us with him along a real 1440km walk of Japan’s Shikoku Island as he sets out to traverse the famous 88-Temple Pilgrimage.
 
Well written, engaging, funny and touching The Hardest Path is a ponderous book with a treasure trove of life-lessons and reflections that kept me turning page after page. Matt Jardine writes in an honest, fluid and conversational tone that makes for an easy read. I really got a sense of the adventure, the highs and lows and the friends met along the way.
 
Whether by chance or Fate, you quickly discover that this isn’t going to be a typical ‘tourist’ jaunt around Shikoku, with guide books and maps and warm nights in a comfy guest house and a hearty meal after each day of walking. Far from it. With quite possibly a ‘divinely imposed’ shoe-string budget of just under £300 cash the author attempts to complete the mammoth task of the entire pilgrimage in one month. By doing so he is richly rewarded with a series of encounters and experiences that helps elucidate the basic tenets of Buddhism. And the author’s style of writing once again makes sharing this wisdom available to anyone interested.
 
This little book far exceeded what I was thinking it would be. Whether you are considering the 88-Temple trail yourself (and by the end you might very well book yourself a flight), or whether you have an interest in the culture of Japan, Buddhism and its relevance in the 21st Century, then why not give it a try?
 
Thanks, to the author for sharing his journey.